Milngavie to Drymen Camping: 12.4 miles / 12.4 miles
Oh the Irony should it be raining at the end of this day’s walk, then there wouldn’t be a dry woman, let alone Drymen in the house. Well, it would be ironic if it wasn’t for the fact that it is pronounced Dri-men, but hey, let’s not let the local tongue get in the way of a good introduction. Anyway on the scale of one to extreme dialect, Milngavie is pronounced ‘Mullguy’, which luckily I knew in advance, thus avoiding sounding stupid and incomprehensible to the ticket office gentleman at Glasgow Central Station yesterday. I am all phor silent letters in words, but honestly, this isn’t even in the right postcode area.
At around 10 am I was taking the obligatory photos in front of the huge West Highland Way sign that marks the sight of the trail having, moments before, bought a last minute stash of Smidge on the recommendation of a friend who warned me of the local midge population and their propensity to eat people alive. Now to be honest there’s not much flesh on me and, in the words of Alec Guiness’ Obi-Wan when referring to Darth Vader, I am ‘more backpack now than man, spine bitterly twisted’ at least I think that’s ‘true, from a certain point of view’.
Okay, so dodgy Star Wars quotes out of the way, I didn’t want to take the risk as I have been assured that my deteriorating personal hygiene throughout the week isn’t going to help any!
So, it’s taken a thousand words, and I still haven’t mentioned the walking yet. It was fairly easy going today. That’s all you’re getting for now because I feel I need to ride the tidal wave of metaphor once more describing how, once passing under the huge sign (it really is big) and through the car park equivalent of a Narnian wardrobe, I was transported into a magical world of distilleries and deep fried Mars bars.
In fact, I could have planned the whole day around getting to the Glengoyne Distillery at their opening time so I could pop in for a ‘wee dram’ as their website instructs the West Highland Wayer to do, but it felt a bit odd going in, drinking a shot of whiskey and then leaving 30 seconds later. Later in the day a Scottish person asked me if I knew I was in Scotland, suggesting that kind of behaviour would have been totally acceptable!
Still monumentally full from a massive breakfast, I passed on the deep fried Mars Bar too at the Beach Tree Inn, Dumgoyne opting instead for a couple of bottles of Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA before heading off to my campsite for the evening, a mile outside of Drymen. Now, as this part of the walk is so well signposted I thought I would challenge myself to arriving at my destination without looking at it once throughout the day. This would have worked too, if I hadn’t been so enthralled and excited at seeing Loch Lomond for the first time that I walked half a mile straight passed it!
So over the last 24 hours, I have gone from bustling city to sleepy suburb, through parklands into lowland countryside and the lochs and Highlands are slowly revealing themselves. All this and I have only walked 12, miles. So now in my tent, I can confirm it’s not dry in Drymen!