The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday 18 October 2008

Day 2 - Conic Hill to Rowchoish

18 October
Distance: 14.5 miles
Weather: sunshine and frequent showers

It rained most of the night. Not heavily, but apparently quite persistently (i.e. it was raining each time I woke up). Morning came and with the drumming on nylon there was a definite reluctance to make the necessary move to get up.

Perhaps we should make today a shorter day and tomorrow longer, I thought as the rain got heavier and the sky failed to get any lighter. Then I turned my phone on and received the weather forecast from my sister. Suddenly, walking in today's showers seemed greatly preferable to tomorrow's forecast heavy rain.

Up we got and as if by magic the rain stopped. Even better, it stayed stopped until we were a good way along the path up Conic Hill.

The view down on Loch Lomond would have been quite an 'oooh' had it not been for an ill-timed shower, which accompanied us as we slipped and slid our way down to Balmaha.

Balmaha is a handy place by virtue of having not just toilets (with soap!) but also a drinking water tap, so I replaced my peaty water with tap. Just then a car stopped and asked us where to find the path up Ben Lomond. Given that the answer was 'five miles up the road', and given that he apparently didn't even know where the mountain was, it didn't bode well for his ascent of it.

An orange apiece completed our rest stop (I'd carried those two oranges from home, intending to eat them on the train, and I was quite clear that I wasn't going to carry them any further!).

The rest of the day was alongside Loch Lomond, mainly through varied woodland. Very pleasing woodland it is in the main too. The paths are less pleasing. In two days there's barely been half an hour spent on any type of surface other than a hard one - tracks and well surfaced paths feature most.

Our arrival at the Rowardenan Hotel was nicely timed to be our lunch stop then it was back into woodland, passing a dozen or so groups of walkers on their way back to their cars at the road's end in Rowardenan.

Onwards we went in search of Rowchoish Bothy, which we found without difficulty (that it was daylight probably helped; I imagine it could be tricky to find in the dark). We found it impressively clean and tidy and with a good supply of wood, so it wasn't long before we had a fire roaring in the grate and a cup of tea on the stove.

Within half an hour we'd managed to spread ourselves out to the extent that it looked like there were a dozen people staying, but at least we got everything dry.

We're now settled for the night, sitting by the fire by candle and torch light and very unsociably hoping that no-one else crashes in on us during the night.


  1. Thanks for the firewood (unused) and cheery note.

  2. After a long difficult wk a friend suggested we have a mini adventure and drive to a place he had stayed before after 2 hour walk in the dark we finally found the bothy and to woever stayed last thanks 4 our wood our fire made my day