West Highland Way Day 2: Ptarmagin Lodge to Tyndrum

I had a relatively early start this morning. Having managed to get through the night with no condensation in my tent the early rain hadn’t come to much so I packed the tent away early while it was relatively dry – I say relatively dry because nothing is ever completely dry when camping in these parts. I long for a camp day when the sun is shining I can sit on the grass and let the world slip by whilst warm, dry and comfy. It might happen one day I suppose but as I’m usually in Wales and this time in Scotland I can’t see it being a regular thing! The usual story is one of mud and water mitigation whilst trying not to be too precious about your kit. It’s going to get wet and muddy so you just have to accept it.

Towards Inversnaid

As I started walking I passed lots of lovely camping spots, just like the one I’d been at. They were all flat, some were a little grassier or a little muddier than others and all had perfect views over the lake.

I made good progress along the more difficult lower path past Rowchoish Bothy and back to where the upper path joins. It was a pleasant morning as it was dry for a while, I was sheltered from the winds by the surrounding forests and the paths were easy to follow. They were of course rooty and rocky in places and there were lots of stream crossings where waterfalls plunged off the hillside and into the Loch.

Not long after the re-joining of the Upper and Lower Paths I met a guy who had taken the easier upper path and had a chat with him for a while. I left him behind and forged on towards Inversnaid Hotel where another impressive set of waterfalls caught my attention for a while.

Falls at Inversnaid
Falls at Inversnaid

I had planned to stop for a coffee at Inversnaid Hotel but there were too many rules about coats and shoes so I carried on towards yet more rugged paths along the shores of Loch Lomond. The section between here and the end of Loch Lomond goes on forever and gets a little rugged underfoot from time to time. It seems to be notorious and people often complain about it saying that it’s really difficult. I didn’t find it to be a problem, it was just more interesting than the easygoing paths before it.

A little after the hotel I overtook a girl who had started at Inversnaid that morning and said that it was tough going and taking her a long time. She hadn’t come that far and had a long way to go! I passed yet more nice-looking camping spots on this section too and saw a few goats.


Eventually I made it to the end of the lochside section where there were plenty more camping areas right on the edge of the water.

After a quick break and a drink, I had a bit of a climb up to the top of a little hill and then down to Doune Bothy.

It was just starting to rain as I passed the bothy so I doubled back and went inside to rearrange my clothes and put on waterproofs. Just in time as the heavens opened while I was in there.

It was a while from here to Beinglas farm so I got quite wet along this section and was glad of the bar and restaurant. It was quite windy now as well. I couldn’t quite decide if I should stop here for the day or carry on. It said they had camping pods available from £20 a night which considering the weather sounded inviting, and good value too. There was a bar and restaurant which would be nice as well! After a decent pulled pork toastie and drying off a little I decided I would forge on, but enquired about the pods whilst stocking up in the shop anyway. They didn’t have any available so my mind was definitely made up – ever onwards.

Pulled Pork and Cheese Toastie at Beinglas Farm
Pulled Pork and Cheese Toastie at Beinglas Farm

I bought some supplies and continued on through the wind and rain. The path was easy but the weather wasn’t nice at all, Between the downpours and the horizontal hailstones the sun did show up briefly but it never lasted long despite its promise. The path followed the River Fallloch with numerous waterfalls for a while. I overtook a few people who had started the day at Beinglas. After a bit of a climb the path crossed the ever narrowing river and then ducked through a little tunnel under the A82 road. It then made its way up an exposed hillside towards the forests above Crianlarich.

Towards Tyndrum

At a crossroads in the path I could have headed the mile into Crianlarich if needed but it wasn’t necessary and it was only 6 miles into Tyndrum from here along the West Highland Way itself. So I headed ever further up the hill through the rows of a conifer plantation and started to look for a camping spot as I went. It was now pouring with rain again and beginning to get quite cold as well. Towards the top the rain turned to sleet and the paths became ever muddier. There was no one around.

I did see two potential camping spots in the forestry section. They were just about OK but the ground was sodden and muddy and one was quite exposed so I left them behind hoping to find something better further on. I saw nothing during the long descent out of the forest. I crossed the main road once more and also crossed the River Fillan then headed out onto some farmland, there was nowhere to camp here and I was beginning to wonder where I could stay.

River Fillan Bridge and a Rainbow
River Fillan Bridge and a Rainbow

I then came across a wigwam place and was tempted to find out how much it would cost to stay in one of their camping pods. I went to the reception but it was closed and there was no one around.

The rain had now turned to sleet even at these lower levels and as the day progressed it was getting colder and colder. I stopped to put on a warmer layer and some gloves. This obviously involved taking my waterproof jacket off and getting a little wet before I could put it all back on again. The wind was howling now as well which didn’t help. Typically, just around the corner I ducked into a tunnel under the road again where I was out of the wind and rain – that would have been a more sensible place to get changed!!

I then found a potential camping site right next to a road bridge before a nature reserve, I was now only 2 miles from Tyndrum though so continued on keeping this spot in the back of my mind should I need to return to it.

As I entered Tyndrum the first thing I came across was a large caravan site with pods and campers and a small tent camping area. I went to the reception and caught them just as they were closing. The very nice looking pods were £79 which was too expensive for me. Even a spot on the camping field was £17. In hindsight I should really have gone into Tyndrum properly as there would probably be other options but the reception was about to close so I just decided to pay – at least there would be hot showers, and if I didn’t go for it now I might miss out. My feet were sore, the weather was atrocious, I was cold wet and hungry so stopping here seemed a better option than maybe finding something else or having to return to the spot I’d identified earlier.

The camping area was sodden. Short grass that splashed and sploshed with every footstep. I set my tent up in the pouring rain, and gusty winds as it got dark.

Campsite in Tyndrum and the end of Day 2
Campsite in Tyndrum and the end of Day 2

I got sorted out and headed to the showers. Bliss! I even dried my socks off a little under the hand drier. Dinner was a rehydrated meal. I FaceTimed Anna, popped the blisters on my toes, taped up my feet and then got ready for bed. Aha, that’s what you’ve been waiting for, a photo of my foot!!

Patched up Foot
Patched up Foot

That was day 2 completed and another 25 miles of the West Highland Way ticked off – I was already 53 miles into it, more than half way along its entirety and according to my tentative itinerary that I had I shouldn’t have been here until the end of day 4.

It rained heavily all night but stopped around 4:30am and the winds weren’t an issue. I actually managed to get a little bit of sleep on and off. I should now be ready for the next instalment and Day 3 of the West Highland Way. I had no idea where I’d end up.

1 Response

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum x says:

    I do wonder why ! Although the views etc are spectacular and just being able to say “I did it’ makes up for the weather and blister maybe ?

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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