Rowardennan to Inversnaid
West Highland Way
Walking from Rowardennan to Inverarnan is a typical one day section within the West Highland Way. That 14-mile walk is quite a tough days walk.
I’ve split this section into two, 7-mile walks. This article covers the first half of the day, from Rowardennan to Inversnaid.
All of the guides on this See Loch Lomond website are based on my own experiences. I live in Drymen and regally walk along paths of the West Highland Way, this particular section is a favourite. The photographs featured on this page were taken on my most recent walk in May 2019.
Sadly it was a bit of a drizzly day, with light rain on and off for the whole walk. To compensate though the bluebells were out in force and even though it wasn't the best of days the views were still outstanding.
Rowardennan is at the end of the long and winding 14 mile road from Drymen. This is of course the starting point for climbing Ben Lomond (see our guide linked below). Walking along the West Highland Way you will have already enjoyed your time following the eastern shores of Loch Lomond since Balmaha, the path along the loch continues, with beaches and waterfalls along the way.
There are various options for accommodation at Rowardennan, including the Rowardennan Hotel, SYHA Rowardennan Youth Hostel, Ben Lomond Bunkhouse and the excellent Ben Lomond Cottage B&B.
Cruise Loch Lomond run a twice daily connecting water bus service between Rowardennan and Tarbet.
The Forestry Commission for Scotland have a car park which costs £3 a day to park in. I mention that, because if you’re not walking the West Highland Way then I would strongly recommend a day spent walking from Rowardennan to Inversnaid and back.
There are toilets in the car park, with an information stand outside them. (See picture above)
You’ll soon see a mobile information unit for the National Trust for Scotland, who own and maintain Ben Lomond. They also have the Ardess Hidden History Trail, more about that in another guide coming soon.
I mentioned Ben Lomond Cottage earlier, outside it there is water available with an honesty box. The last chance to get water before Inversnaid.
Low Path or High Path?
Guide books and West Highland Way forums all discuss the option of taking the more difficult shore path, or an easier track which is away from the shoreline. The official WHW route is the shore path as pointed by the sign pictured above. Even though that is the case many people that we met were taking the higher path.
Some walkers that told us that they’d been put off by some of the guides. We did the shoreline walk and really enjoyed it and actually find it easier than the section beyond Inversnaid. However, we are walking the way in individual sections, so maybe if you’re feeling sore from the day before you may wish to take the easier option.
I highly recommend the low path. Having done both I much prefer the this one, the route is really interesting and very comparable in difficulty to other sections of the way.
The pictures below are from our walk on the low path during a wet Sunday in May. See for yourself the paths and views through the drizzle.
Here’s where the two paths meet. Out of the forest there are some stunning blankets of bluebells. I was looking forward to seeing these close up as I had seen them a few days before from the other side of the loch.
Talking of the western shores of the loch, you’ll be clearly able to hear the traffic on the busy A82 on the other side of the water. A bit of a shame, because otherwise you really would get the feeling that you are totally away from everything.
The bluebells will come and go, but whenever you walk this section (and beyond to Inverarnan) you won’t be far now from the next waterfall. They are beautiful, with the best one of all to come at Inversnaid.
The Inversnaid Hotel is a coaching hotel, owned by Lochs and Glens. There is a walkers entrance, with place to leave your rucksack, boots and coat. There is a drinking water tap outside, along with lots of benches and tables. Cruise Loch Lomond run a water bus service to Tarbet. Nearby there is the Inversnaid Bunkhouse with accommodation and restaurant.
Before you go take some time to enjoy the magnificent Arklet Waterfall at Inversnaid. The walk from Rowardennan to Inversnaid took us just over 3.5 hours.
The next 7 miles are stunning, climb over Rob Roy’s Cave, walk through woodlands towards the northern end of Loch Lomond. Click the link below to read about Inversnaid to Inverarnan
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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