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  • Writer's picturearyalaetri

Over hill and dale... don't break a leg.


Milarrochy Campsite to Rowchoish Bothy 10 miles (16.5 km) + a bit more

You walk, set up your tent, eat, sleep. Next day, reverse and later repeat. Long-distance hiking offers an INFINITE amount of freedom and is the best way for me to really let go.

In the last blog I described the second day of my West highland way thruhike in 2018, so on we go!

During our stay we found out about a bothy at the loch. This should have been about 16 km from the camp. Why it was more, more on that later. The way to the bothy was... interesting. Over hill and dale was the literal meaning of this section. The path led through the forest and was quite "wild". It runs between boulders, over, under and past. At the beginning it took a lot of getting used to. Especially with the backpack on your back, which makes balancing really difficult at times. But that also made this part particularly exciting!

In the rocky surroundings, all the waterfalls winding down from the hills in the woods around Loch Lomond were a highlight. They were SO great that I scorched my phone in the first one (yes I actually got it out again) and dropped my lens cap in the 3rd or 4th one (it too was retrieved). So in itself a successful day! Furthermore, we FINALLY reached Ptarmigan Lodge. Wild camping is prohibited between Drymen and Ptarmigan Lodge.

Knowing that we were leaving this zone was a real weight off my mind. Shortly after Ptarmigan Lodge the trail split. Here we could either go right or yes - left! We decided to go right because the left path looked a bit boring. More waterfalls, a great view from Loch Lomond and even more waterfalls were the reward. And we walked on and on until at some point we realised that we had already covered 18 km.

But the bothy was supposed to be only 16 km away. And yes.... stupid when you misread the map. At Ptarmigan Bothy we should have turned left to get to Rowchoish Bothy. So it was a case of turning around and walking back. I think we ended up with a bit more than 20 km. But oh well.

Turning around to get to the bothy was definitely the right decision. Bothies are a great place to meet people and share stories. The most memorable for me was a Czech couple. He was an experienced long-distance hiker and she came with him for the first time. To make it as comfortable as possible for her, he had chosen an easy route.

And when he told us that they had covered 36 km on the first day and 24 km on the second (because the lady was sore after the first day, they couldn't walk that far), our jaws dropped. After we had made ourselves at home in the bothy, we sat outside by the fire in the evening, sharing whisky and stories. The next day we all planned to meet again at Beinglas Farm and drink together in the pub there and have a proper meal! After we had all settled down to rest, a new guest joined us in the middle of the night. A Scotsman. He set up without much noise and so we all (7 people in total, the

Czech couple slept outside in their tent) dozed off. Apart from a nightmare I had, because we really couldn't resist telling each other scary stories before going to bed, the night was really pleasant. Apart from the Scotsman trying to light the fireplace in the bothy at 5 am. I mean he did it, but we woke up because smoke was collecting in the bothy

because the chimney was blocked (I know it does not look like it in the picture, but the chimney definetly did not function fully!). Also a way to wake up. So we aired out the bothy, had breakfast together, split the last of the whisky and we all set off one by one to Beinglas Farm.

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