Day 4 – Inverarnan to Tyndrum on the West Highland Way

26/4/2017
Kingshouse, Scotland

The walk to Tyndrum was the first where it wasn’t pretty much blazing sunshine all day. This was sort of a relief, but when it went from sun to snow, it wasn’t quite so ideal!

It was very much a walk of two halves on this leg – we set out and mostly followed a sheep-path for four miles or so until we crossed under the railway in what can barely be called a low tunnel. I just barely managed to stoop under it and get through (pack and all), but Lotte ended up slipping and landing on her knees in the mud to have to crawl out. I can barely imagine what the noise must be like in that little iron tunnel when a train goes over the top! After that, the path climbs a bit and then follows the curve of a hill though seemingly endless fields of cows and cattle runs – all of which are cow pat heavy and several inches deep in mud. This made for some tricky manoeuvring, but eventually we got the end of that section where the trail split. To the right was a cutoff to Crianlarich, and to the left, the Way curved northwards towards Tyndrum.

We paused here for a snack and a slurp of water before plowing on up the hill and on the way. This time the path took us through a gorgeous forest where we caught a gentle, and quite lovely, shower of snow (light enough that it looked amazing, but couldn’t be caught on our cameras!) before the sun returned a few minutes later. A Scottish spring day at it’s finest!

Valley coming out of Inverarnan
Looking out over the valley before crossing under the railway

The trail undulated along until we finally crossed over the main road towards Auchtertyre Farm, maybe four or five miles before Tyndrum.

It was during this gentle little diversion that we realised we couldn’t remember the name of the campsite we were heading for. We knew they had hobbit houses – which we were staying in – but hadn’t written down the actual location or saved the confirmation email. On we plodded with just the slightest bit of consternation when we passed a glamping site with no mention of hobbit houses, through some of the coldest and strongest head on wind we’d seen so far. We decided to keep going, and crossed back over the road and into the Tyndrum Bird Reserve.

About halfway through the reserve we paused on a bench, and a Scottish couple around our age passed by – we chatted for a minute and they were heading for the same campsite as us, and they helpfully reminded us that it was the By-The-Way campsite!

Pointing the way to Tyndrum
Lotte pointing the way to Tyndrum

Another mile or so and we were there; not long after we were showered and tucked up in our little hut with the heater blasting away. The facilities at By-The-Way are a bit sparser than Beinglas so we wandered in Tyndrum village to find a pint or two and some food. We settled on the Tyndrum Inn where we ran into a Dutch couple we’d seen a couple of times walking along the Way, and were later joined by the Scottish couple who we’d met earlier.

The rest of the evening was spent chatting and drinking with them – and commiserating over the state of our blistered, damaged feet! Finally (probably 8ish) we nipped next door to get the materials to make sandwiches for the next day’s breakfast and lunch when we’d tackle Rannoch Moor and Glencoe on the long hike to Kingshouse.

Back to Day 3: Rowardennan to Inverarnan| On to Day 5

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