Microadventures: Where the Lochs Lay...
Scotland is home to some of the most beautiful bodies of water in the United Kingdom. Loch is Scottish Gaelic for Lake or Fjord. During my stay in Scotland, I had the privilege of walking alongside and camping on the shoreline of Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond is one of 12 largest lochs in Scotland, and it took me 2 days of walking the West Highland Way to get past it!
So far my, walk 1000 mile challenge has treated me to 750 miles of incredible beauty but I wasn’t expecting just how stunning and surreal Loch Lomond to be.
On a clear morning, the loch appeared glass- like reflecting smooth skies and tree covered hills. Later on, in the sunny afternoon, the winds picked up, causing the water to caress the shoreline, brushing against the pebbles and amplifying a ‘whooshing’ sound. As the evening arrived, a mist rose over the loch and only now and then would you catch a ripple from a fish swimming on the surface, reminding you, the loch’s still there.
Ladies and gents, from the top of Conic Hill.
After a long day of walking from Drymen to Rowardennan, the woodlands open to a welcomed sight - Sallochy campsite where we could pitch our tents, rest our feet and tuck into some much-needed foods. Camping at Sollochy on the shoreline of Loch Lomond is tricky, you’ve to pick your spot carefully. The ground was concrete in places and the small sections of loose gravel, ideal for tent pegs, were challenging to find in fading light. The now gentle lapping loch beckons you to dip your sore feet (flip-flops recommended), offering a few moments of icy relief. I watched the red evening sky promise that tomorrow would be dry and sunny (and so it was!). The pitch black night was soon here and so on went the head torches whilst we sipped our hot tea, hoping that the clouds would pass so we could see the forecasted shooting stars. We didn’t but we were treated to a few twinkles in the night sky and I imagined just how spectacular a starry sky here would be.
I went to sleep with an image of this lone tree in my mind's eye.
The next morning after breakfast, we continued the walk to Inverarnan. The terrain grew tougher and treacherous in parts but still the banks of Loch Lomond, now misty, kept me on the straight and narrow, as I scrambled around the cliff which was covered in trees, roots, sharp stones, ledges and waterfall crossings. In the distance, I could hear small boats offering tourists, history filled trips and on more than a few occasions, I wished they’d come and pick me up, so I too could enjoy the view from afar instead of being amongst it, struggling with my now sore foot and a heavy back-pack.
Beauty like this mustn't be taken for granted or overlooked, and although I didn’t complete my entire journey due to injury, I feel so fortunate to have witnessed one of the many amazing lochs in this magnificent country.