One of the things I love best about long walks (and travel in general) is the rich history waiting to be discovered. Like the ruins of this Augustinian Priory, built in the 13th century. (In)famous Robert the Bruce loved this place so much he endowed it in 1317.
Next to the priory is an ancient graveyard. It might be a little hard to tell but this headstone is likely from the 7th century! That’s some history.
Speaking of Robert the Bruce, here’s where he was defeated in battle in 1306. Looks like just an empty field now, but imagine the stories it could tell.
Sometimes (when there’s no interpretive plaque, for example) the story isn’t quite so obvious.
Other ruins are definitely of a more modern era.
Not everything in Scotland is falling apart, of course. Take this train station in Crianlarich for example. It’s the best place in town to tuck into a crisp serving of fish & chips. Yet another thing I love about travel 🙂
It’s been pretty gentle walking on the West Highland Way so far. Today, beyond Inversnaid and its beautiful waterfall, the walking got a lot rougher.
Much of the Way follows the shores of Loch Lomond. Those shores got a lot more rocky and rooty this morning. Water cascaded down into the lake, making the trail slick and muddy. Imagine if the weather weren’t so unusually dry!
It’s Day 3 of walking the West Highland Way and I still can’t believe how vibrant the colours are. I’ve walked in Scotland twice before but I stayed up high where I was enveloped in fog or fighting through blowing rain and tromping through lingering snow, rather than basking in the soft light of the glens far below.
Yesterday it rained just enough to remind me that, yes, you are in Scotland. I can hardly believe how mild it’s been. If the forecast is right, that incredible weather will last for the entire walk. How many more shades of green will I discover?
Last night when we arrived at our accommodations in the little Scottish village of Drymen, I realized we had a problem. I’d booked a single room rather than a double. No, you can’t sleep on the floor. Or pitch your tent in the back. Uh oh.
Luckily, we found a rather basic house around the corner with a room free. I was kind of relishing having to go find a hidden spot to camp but I must admit it was nice to have somewhere warm to spend the night, since I’m approaching this walk “as a vacation”.
Scotland is known for its wet weather. Yesterday was so warm and dry I second guessed if I’d even landed in the right country. Not to worry, today I awoke to rain and chill air.
A stiff climb up Conic Hill into the clouds reminded me why I love walking in Scotland so much. The harder the wind blows and the more the rain soaks you, the more rewarding the views.
The reward didn’t end at the top of the hill. When we arrived at our bunkhouse for the night, the owner excitedly informed us that she was upgrading us to a private room! What luck.
I arrived in Glasgow last night and after a good sleep started walking the West Highland Way this afternoon. It’s wonderfully green this time of year but also shockingly warm and dry. I’m looking forward to enjoying the changing scenery as the trail winds its way from peaceful countryside, through thickly scented forest, and up onto the windy highlands.
I’ve been terribly remiss in writing about my travels over the last year but I’ve had some great adventures. At the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I love looking back and reflecting on what I’ve experienced. Here are a few of my favourite memories from each month of 2017.
Another year is about to close and a new one beginning with endless possibilities. I love taking a few moments in the short days of winter that come around New Years to reflect on both the ups & downs of the last 12 months. Here’s what my year looked like…
With 2016 come and gone, I wish you the best in 2017. Happy adventuring!