Inversnaid to Inverarnan
Another in our series of guides about sections of the popular West Highland Way walk.
Get ready for this rough and tough section of the West Highland Way. As expected, when the goings gets tougher the scenery gets even better. This is certainly true of the 7 mile walk between Inversnaid and Inverarnan.
This section is generally part 2 of a typical West Highland Way walkers day, with them having already walked from Rowardennan to Inversnaid.
This was the case for us and you can read about that section, with details of what to expect at Inversnaid by clicking the link below.
Akrlet Falls, Inversnaid
I walked this stretch with a friend on a mostly wet Sunday in May and the photographs shown are from that day, so plenty of wiping of the camera lens.
I actually returned to Inversnaid a few days later and the sun was out, so of course it looked completely different.
Above you can see a picture of the beautiful Arklet Falls, located next to the Inversnaid Hotel.
West Highland Way
Leaving Inversnaid, just follow the path along the banks of Loch Lomond, past the hotel and this weather beaten sign. Next stop for us is Inverarnan. Note there aren’t any shops, or honesty boxes for water or snacks between here and Inverarnan.
As you look across the water you will be able to see Inveruglas, home to the Loch Sloy Power Station. Loch Sloy holds the dubious honour of recording the largest rainfall across a single day in Scotland, that was a long time ago though and thankfully it’s not quite as bad today!!
More difficult to see at Inveruglas is the An Ceann Mòr pyramid shaped viewpoint which cleverly blends into the environment. Read more about it at the link below.
You’ll soon be walking in one of the RSPB’s two reserves in Loch Lomond. There is an information board, that records sightings of wildlife and birds.
In the picture above you can see the route of the West Highland Way leading straight ahead, following the banks of Loch Lomond. If you can spare 30 minutes, manage a short climb and don’t mind some extra steps for your days walk then you will be able to see one of the finest views of Loch Lomond. Just turn right at this point and follow the signs for the RSPB Trail.
You can see the viewpoint in the picture below. There’s also a link to a guide that we have written about the RSPB Cruise which runs weekly from Tarbet to Inversnaid and is operated by Cruise Loch Lomond and hosted by an RSPB warden.
Rob Roy’s Cave
Out on a boat cruise around this area then chances are you’ll be taken past Rob Roy’s Cave, which helpfully has CAVE painted in white on the rocks to mark the location of the infamous outlaws hiding place.
The West Highland Way path involves climbing over some of the huge boulders that together make up the cave. Some centuries earlier in 1306, this collection of rocks was said to be a hiding place for Robert The Bruce.
Famous poet Sir Walter Scott wrote about Rob Roy and the Trossachs. The cave was also twice visited by Dorothy Wordsworth, latterly coming after the publication of Scott’s book Rob Roy.
I was really looking forward to seeing this as I’d only seen the cave from the water before.
The pathways couldn’t be nicer (even on a drizzly day), cutting through rich blankets of bluebells.
Out of the woods and at the end of the RSPB Inversnaid reserve the route opens up with some excellent views, waterfalls, bridges and pathways.
Walkers in front of us, laden with heavy packs on their backs, who had no doubt already covered a number of miles that strode purposely to the bothy on the route (pictured below) to escape the rain for a few minutes.
The next stretch took us towards Ardleish, across the water from Ardlui. If you’re still planning your West Highland Way overnight stops, I would definitely recommend staying in the pods or hotel at Ardlui.
Ardlui can be reached by a ferry (another adventure for your trip). Just hoist the ball so that it can be spotted on the other side, if it is raised during an appointed ferry times a boat will come to take you to Ardlui.
Many of the walkers that we met along the way were booked to stay at the Drovers Inn that night and were already looking forward to some food and a drink or two. By now you can feel each step and are looking forward to the end of the days walk. However, what a great walk it has been and there are still some hills to climb and views to see before the end of the day.
The loch ends and instead the walk passes the River Falloch, which flows into Loch Lomond.
One more bridge to walk over (across another pretty waterfall) and it’s Beinglas, a restaurant, bar, lodges, B&B, camping etc. Keep right to stay on the West Highland Way, or cut across the site, following the map shown and onto the A82. Turn left to walk for a few minutes to The Drovers Inn, if that’s you’re overnight stop, and/or the place to enjoy a well earned drink!
The Walkers Club
Some friends run The Walkers Club, where you can get apps, journals and t-shirts about The West Highland Way.
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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