This walk is part of the trek The West Highland Way.
This second stage of the WHW is superb! It consists of three distinct parts. First of all, we cross a pretty forested area. Then, after a pleasant crossing of meadows, we climb Conic Hill, from where the panorama over the Highlands and Loch Lomond is very extensive. After a steep descent to the port of Balmaha, you alternate between the lakeside passages and climbs and descents in the forest.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Departure from the centre of Drymen.
WHW official signposting: signposts with thistle flower + signposts with yellow arrow for changes of direction + written signposts.
(D) Take the Stirling Road, the road by which you arrived the day before, and follow it east-north-east on a well-kept pavement on the left. When the road turns right, continue straight. At the end of the tarmac, take a path on the left between two hedges. At the end of the path, continue along the A811 road, keeping on the left pavement.
(1) After about 500m, turn left and cross a fence. Follow the well-maintained path, first between meadows and then on the edge of the forest on your left.
(2) At the crossroads, take the 2nd forest track on the left (the 1st is not shown on the map). Walk north-west while climbing slowly. Come out onto a small road and follow it to the left for around thirty metres.
(3) Then turn right, go past a small car park and follow a forest track to the a west-north-west. At an intersection, ignore the path leading off to the right. Soon you will see Loch Lomond opposite.
(4) At the crossroads, keep going straight ahead.
(5) At the fork, take the right track (north-west). Stay on the main track and cross two successive rivers on a footbridge.
(6) At the crossroads, continue opposite, slightly diagonally to the right, towards Balmaha by the top road. The forest thins gradually.
(7) Cross a fence and exit the forest. Cross a meadow by going uphill slightly, heading north then west-north-west. Cross a river on a footbridge. At a crossroads, continue straight ahead and go downhill. Cross a river ford then the river Burn of Mar over a bridge.
(8) Then start a steep climb (stone and wooden steps). Further on, the slope becomes more gentle: go around the hills to the right. Reach a flat area and walk at the foot of the top of the hills.
(9) Before the path descends, momentarily abandon the WHW and take a path on the left at an acute angle which goes up to the summit of Conic Hill. Quickly reach a hillock.
(10) Climb up to the left to immediately reach the summit of Conic Hill (a wide panorama but slightly hidden in the southwest by a rise). Retrace your steps to the hillock.
(10) Then continue opposite (southwest) to climb the rise from which you can enjoy a plunging view over Loch Lomond. Retrace your steps.
(10) Then descend by the left path to reach the WHW.
(9) Turn left and start the steep descent along a stony path. On a slight slope, turn left (south) and continue to descend (stone steps then wooden steps).
(11) Cross a fence, enter the forest and continue to descend but more slowly. At a T-junction, turn right and continue on a mostly flat path. Arrive at a large car park.
(12) Turn left, cross the car park and pass by the National Park building on your left.
(13) Come to a road and follow it to the right along the pavement on the left, soon protected by a low wall. When the road turns right in the direction of Rowardennan, continue straight into the dead end lane.
(14) After a hundred metres, climb a flight of steps on the right and take an uphill path. Ignore two turns off the path to the left, turn right and reach a viewpoint. Go back down on the left.
(15) At a split in the road, turn left and follow the banks of Loch Lomond to your left. Walk along a beach then cross a ford. Continue along the loch for about 1km and end at a car park.
(16) Cross the car park, then a bridge, then turn left to reach the shore of the loch. Then walk pretty much onto a pebble beach where you will cross a ford.
(17) At the end of the beach, return to the road and follow it to the left. Further along, take a path parallel to the road on its right side. At the end, continue on the road for a hundred metres then take a parallel path on its left side.
(18) At a crossroads, cross the small paved road giving access to the private domain of Crireoch and continue on the path opposite, which soon turns to the left. The path leads up and downhill in the forest. Return to the road and follow it on the left for a few tens of metres until a crossroads (stone benches).
(19) Continue on a path parallel to the road, on its right side. Cross the Cashel Burn and, at the end of the bridge, turn left.
(20) Cross the road again and follow a path between the lake on the left and the road on the right. Go past Anchorage Cottage then take a stone bridge.
(21) Shortly after the bridge, leave the road and take a path in the forest on the left. After climbing the stone steps, the route alternates between going uphill and downhill. Return to the loch and reach the car park at the Sallochy campsite.
(22) Cross the car park straight ahead and, at the end, take a bridge. Continue along the lake, past a private landing stage and then an information panel on the Scottish Centre for Ecology.
(23) At the following split in the path, take the right path and climb the steep forest path (wooden steps). Go back down, remaining in the forest. After a house, find the edge of the loch near the old Mill of Ross (old mill).
(24) Then cross a river and continue towards Rowardennan. Cross a river again using the footbridge.
(25) At a T-junction, turn left. Pass a small cove in the loch, then climb into the forest before descending. Get to the road and follow it to the left until you reach the Rowardennan Hotel (A).
D : mi 0 - alt. 177ft
1 : mi 0.81 - alt. 236ft - Start of path
2 : mi 1.35 - alt. 433ft - Crossroads
3 : mi 2.09 - alt. 548ft - Garadhban Car Park
4 : mi 2.77 - alt. 486ft - Crossing
5 : mi 3.2 - alt. 512ft - Path forks
6 : mi 3.84 - alt. 472ft - Crossroads
7 : mi 4.44 - alt. 561ft - Fence - Way out of the forest
8 : mi 5.15 - alt. 479ft - Burn of Mar
9 : mi 6.24 - alt. 1033ft - Access to - Conic Hill
10 : mi 6.29 - alt. 1083ft - Small hill
11 : mi 7.25 - alt. 322ft - Fence - Forest entrance
12 : mi 7.7 - alt. 108ft - Balmaha car park
13 : mi 7.83 - alt. 56ft - Road, B837
14 : mi 8.08 - alt. 79ft - Start of the trail
15 : mi 8.33 - alt. 72ft - Routes diverge - Loch Lomond
16 : mi 9.21 - alt. 59ft - Car park
17 : mi 9.48 - alt. 43ft - Road
18 : mi 10.15 - alt. 89ft - Crossing - Entrance to the premises of Crireoch
19 : mi 10.83 - alt. 79ft - Access to Cashel Farm
20 : mi 11.24 - alt. 79ft - Road crossing
21 : mi 11.76 - alt. 108ft - Start of the trail
22 : mi 12.62 - alt. 56ft - Sallochy campsite
23 : mi 13.01 - alt. 85ft - Routes diverge
24 : mi 13.9 - alt. 39ft - Mill of Ross
25 : mi 14.36 - alt. 92ft - T-junction
A : mi 15.19 - alt. 75ft
Waterproof hiking shoes. Rain protection: rain cape, backpack protection, etc. Protection against the cold, depending on one’s sensitivity. Midge repellent.
The route is relatively simple and the circuit is very well marked at intersections. A physical map is useful (at least the one that accompanies this description) or a route saved on smartphone (remember to save an offline map in advance).
Food and supplies:
Bring extra water reserves and a picnic when you start.
(13) Bar-restaurant in Balmaha.
(F) Bars-restaurants in Rowardennan.
Accommodation at finish point (A):
- Rowardenann Hotel. Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 870 273. Has a bar-restaurant and can provide packed lunches for the next day (order the day before; cost was £7.50 per person in August 2019).
- Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel located around 1km further on, just after (2) of the next stage. Has a bar-restaurant; you can also cook your own food.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
- Between (2) and (7): Garadhban Forest.
- Between (7) and (8): pleasant wander through meadows.
- At point (9): ascent of Conic Hill, superb panorama at the top.
- Between (14) and (A): multiple points of view on the Loch Lomond.
An early introduction to two classic Long Distance Routes, starting from the picturesque village of Drymen. The West Highland Way is a long distance route that runs from Milngavie, near Glasgow, all the way to Fort William, and it passes close to Drymen. The Rob Roy Way starts in Drymen and ends in Pitlochry.
The third stage of the WHW consists of going up Loch Lomond. We start by climbing steadily in a very beautiful forest, for superb views of the lake, while crossing waterfalls that descend from Ben Lomond. Once back at the edge of the lake, follow the shore for a long time, more or less closely, on paths that lead you on a rollercoaster ride winding between the rocks. A brief ascent between beautiful landscapes and a descent to Inverarnan rounding off this long stage.
The first stage of the WHW which presents no other difficulty than its distance takes us through the Scottish countryside and a taste of the first hills of the Highlands.
The West Highland Way (WHW) is a very popular walking route in Scotland. At over 150 km in length, and with moderate elevations, it crosses the most western (as its name suggests) and the most southern (dare we say) regions of the Highlands.
A superb hike, marked by the diversity of landscapes, the omnipresence of water (lochs, rivers, streams, waterfalls... and the rain), and the wild beauty of the landscape. Last but not least, you are likely to make a few friends along the way!
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.