Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy

May 17, 2012

We decided to get up early, as today we had a long walk ahead of us. The weather forecast had not been good, so when we got up and saw the rain we weren’t surprised. For breakfast we had decided to have porridge, instead of the full Scottish breakfast. Porridge had worked well for us on the Coast to Coast walk a few years back.

We left Beinglas Farm at 8:10 am and walked gradually uphill on a wide track. For the most part the going was good, so despite the rain we made good time. The weather was not quite as bad as predicted, with only light rain showers, but we were wearing full rain gear. Fortunately there was no wind, so it wasn’t cold and soon after starting we both took off our fleece vests.

The scenery was lovely despite the clouds on the mountain tops, and the treeless moorland reminded us of being up in the Yukon. Today there were no bluebells to be seen, only gorse, broom, heather, and the occasional spring flower. It took us about three hours to reach the trail junction which led down to Crianlarich. We were hungry now (porridge was not enough for Scottish walking), so one option would be to go down to Crianlarich to get tea and soup at the pub there. This would either mean climbing a kilometre back uphill to where we were now, or walking along the busy A82 road.

So we decided to sit in the woods at the junction and have some lunch from the food we were carrying. There were a few of the famous Highland midges there, but luckily they weren’t in attack mode just yet. After lunch the trail continued to climb steeply to a viewpoint and then meandered through the forest. But the climbing still wasn’t over; the trail went up and down a fair bit but finally headed down into the valley to cross the A82. Here we met the two men who we had been meeting all day and who had told us about the various options. They had chosen to walk up the A82 from Crianlarich, but pointed to the heavy transport trucks which were thundering by to point out the bad part of that choice.

We passed by St. Fillan’s Priory, which had been built in the 13th century and was now just a ruin. Despite that it still looked very beautiful because all of the stones were covered in moss. The rain was coming down quite heavily by now, so we lingered long enough to read the information signs and then carried on. From here we had about two miles of walking before we reached Tyndrum, a small village with shops and transportation connections. At Tyndrum we had tea and soup at Paddy’s Bar. This made us feel much better and improved our hydration.

It was now 3:30 pm, we had walked 13 miles so far, and we had about 7 miles more to walk before reaching Bridge of Orchy. As Tyndrum was the last place with shops before Kinlochleven, 2 days from now, we went into the mini-market and bought some apples, dried prunes, and chocolate bars. The walk out of Tyndrum started out uphill, but before long we reached the old motor road which would be our route all the way to Bridge of Orchy. Despite being out in the rain all day, we were both quite warm and dry under our rain gear so the walking was quite pleasant. The old road was a good surface to walk on, and quite level, running along the side of Beinn Dorain. The railway line was parallel to the road, and after a while a train came by pulling some little tank cars labelled “Rio Tinto Alcan”. We waved at it and the engineer tootled back at us. We made good time and arrived at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel at 6 pm.

We had reserved a room in the bunkhouse, which turned out to be a small room with a pair of bunk beds. After putting down our packs and hanging up our wet rain gear, we decided to go up to the hotel to have dinner. Expecting to have the usual pub food, we were quite surprised to have fancy restaurant food served to us by Italian waiters! After dinner we had showers, finished up the journal entry, and went to bed by 10 pm.

Previous: Rowardennan to Inverarnan
Next: Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse

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