Sunday, 31 July 2011

WHW, Inversnaid to Auchtertyre - Day 3 16 March 2009.

The Way – Day 3
Inversnaid to the Campsite at Auchtertyre 
Distance 25.7km Climb 490m.
Monday 16 March 2009

When I woke I could not decide on whether to do a further 19 miles today or just stick with the recommended 13 miles, I would see how it goes.  I felt ok but I knew I was using up a lot of energy and not eating enough to help sustain the pace I had set.  Anyway it was raining and I had a feeling the rain would be on for the day.  If I had been on one of my normal weekends away I would be home now getting ready for work, instead I was on the side of Loch Lomond packing my tent and equipment getting ready to move off  It was just before 07:30.

View from wild campsite at Inversnaid
The WHW is still following the side of Loch Lomond, parts of the path along here was not easy walking, you are constantly climbing up and down the rocks and tree roots, very tiring especially when you are carrying a big bag.

It was not far past Inversnaid that I saw a sign for Rob Roy's Cave so I thought I would take a few minutes out to go and have a look.  I left my bag and scrambled over quite a lot of rocks but for some reason I could not get any closer than Rob Roys Ave.  No matter which way I went so I gave up wasting time in the rain and moved on.

Rob Roy's Ave
I went back to my kit picked it up and carried on.  The going along here was not easy and the rain was soul destroying.  I reached the bothy at Doune and thought I would take a quick break out of the rain but unfortunately I could not get in.  I could not see a lock and felt that there were people in there who for some reason were not going to let me in.  By this time I had had enough of Loch Lomond and really wanted to get away from it.  The water and rain with the constant never ending noise of the road traffic on the far side of the Loch was starting to get on my nerves.

Last sight of Loch Lomond
I passed the ferry landing at Ardleish, which was very interesting.  To use the ferry you have to pull up the signal then the ferry would come over for you.  It was something like £3.50 each if there was two or more people but double this if you were on your own.  No, I think I will just carry on walking.

Beinglas Farm was the next camp site, I planned to get some water as my supply was now running low.  I would also see about getting some shelter, possibly leave my bag and visit the Drovers Inn.  I had been told about the Drovers Inn, all good, not a place to walk by and miss.  Anyway Beinglas Farm campsite was closed, people were working on the buildings and I thought it best not to leave my bag.  So after filling up my water bottles I walked on to the Drovers Inn.

Drovers Inn! what a place, I could not believe my eyes when I walked in, cases full of stuffed animals, birds eggs, a large stuffed bear, a knight in armour, a shark, an alligator and loads of other fascinating things.  I left my bag in the entrance and went into the bar.  More fascinating things, guns and swords hanging off the walls.  One lad wearing a kilt and a large fleece top was struggling to light a fire in one of the two large fireplaces in the room.  I ordered the soup followed by dinner that was really tasty and just what I needed.  After a couple of pints of shandy I was feeling a lot better and on my way again.  It was such a relief not to be on the side of the Loch any more and the going although still wet was a lot more easier and I could push on at a better pace.

The rain had caused a stream just past Derrydaroch to flood the path so there was quite a bit of water about.  However it did not matter as I was still enjoying The WHW and loving every minute getting some form of strange pleasure out of the experience.  Passing a place called Keilator there was a part of The WHW with a sign saying that the path had been preserved and looked after by some organisation, I cannot remember which.  It was just a patch of mud with cow shit from the sign at one end to the sign at the other that stretched about 1 km.  I reckon someone possibly the local farmers had taken the cobble stones for their own drives or paths.

Cattle were standing on this part of road and they had found a shelter from the rain by standing near a wall that ran by the path.  I had a choice to either walk around them or try and move them from the path.  I first tried walking around them and found that taking a step to the left was deep in shit, taking another step and it was deeper.  I then decided that I would persuade them to move from the path and after a few waves of the arms they moved into the shit, at the end of the day it was theirs why should I walk in it. 


Anyway once through it there was only a few hundred meters before I came to the crossroads and decided to carry on towards Tyndrum rather than go down into Crainlarich.  I had been told that there was a steep climb down into Crainlarich.  If I had taken this route it would have also included a steep climb back up to The WHW.  It was also a psychological win over The WHW as I was now on the other side of the Harvey Map.  I felt good so pushed on to Auchtertyre campsite.  Fortunately it was still open when I got there, at £6.00 per night.  It was a nice little campsite with showers, kitchen and a little shop with supplies including kangaroo meat.  You paid to use the showers but the electricity and cooking facilities were included.   Unfortunately there was no signal on my mobile so I could not call home and let Anne know where I was.

Before I had started this days walking I wrote in my book that I thought the rain would be on for the day, well it was up until 16.15 when the sun came out and I got its photo.  It was great walking on this part of The WHW through the wood as the colours were so vivid.

The only spot of sunlight all day

At the campsite I met a lad who was running The WHW, he said his legs were tired so he had walked most of today from Rowardenan a total of 25 miles.  didn't see him pass me unless it was when I was in the Drovers Inn.  

As I was putting my tent up he was on his way into Tyndrum and he asked if I would be going there as well, I thought to myself yeah I’ll be going there in the morning.  A train also passed the campsite as I was setting up my tent and I thought in a few days I will be on that train.    

I was very tired and planned to have a quick snack before going to bed.  Although it was still early I was turning in.  I had had a very exciting day what with it raining, it had been head down arse up and keep moving all day.  Today the first 6 miles were horrendous by the side of the loch.  When it was 18.15 it started raining again, the forecast last week said tomorrow was going to be sunny, lets hope it is.  The map shows today I covered 16 miles 25.7km with 490m climb, a total of 50 miles but if you include Ben Lomond  a running total of 57 ½ miles.  The plan was that tomorrow night I would be at Inveraran a further 12 miles, Wednesday night Kinlochleven an extra 18 miles, with Thursday night Fort William the last 14 miles, leaving Friday for Ben Nevis 12 ½ miles.  At times when I am walking I feel as though I am punishing myself for some reason, no doubt about this I am finding it hard.  My shoulders ache, legs ache, my feet are sore but otherwise I feel good.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to previous - Day 2 Cashell to Inversnaid
Follow link to next - Day 4 Auchtertyre to Inveroran    

Monday, 25 July 2011

WHW, Cashell Farm to Inversnaid via Ben Lomond - Day 2 15 March 2009.

The Way Day 2
Cashell Farm Campsite to the wild campsite at Inversnaid via Ben Lomond 
Distance 31.4km. Climb 1465m
Sunday 15 March 2009

I was woken this morning by swans flying across the campsite, they also woke the people in the next tent.  It was approx 0600, the people in the next tent soon went back to sleep.  I had a wash followed by a leisurely breakfast of tea, 2 breakfast bars, a banana and my pot noodle.  I filled my 2 flask cups with drinking chocolate, packed my tent, filled my camelpack with water and set off again.  It was just coming up to 0730 when I crossed the road from the campsite and started walking again.

I thought to myself I have been away from home as long as this before the only difference with today was that now when I would be normally heading home I needed to walk on.  I had worked out I was about 23 miles in, about a quarter of The Way without Ben Lomand and Ben Nevis and I was only just starting day 2.  So I felt quite pleased with myself.

The WHW takes you up the road before leaving the road at Sallochy when I was stopped by a young lad in a car.  He asked me directions to Ben Lomond, I said that was were I was heading and it was just up the road, with that he thanked me and drove off.  For one second I thought he could have given me a lift.  Then I realised what was I thinking about?  I would have refused a lift anyway as I wanted to walk all of The WHW?  It would have taken him less than 10 mins but walking the route of The WHW took about 1 hour.  

I had started to notice that The WHW rather than being a straight line tended to twist and turn as if to say, you want to walk The WHW then I will make you walk The WHW.  Oh look there is a hill over there it is miles off our course but lets go up it anyway.  Then back down to the loch side.  North of Rubha Fhuar a,Chois there were lots of campers by the loch, they looked like they had had a good weekend drinking and burning wood on bonfires and any other number of things they got up to.  I was glad I had not stayed there, I may be wrong but they gave me an uncomfortable feel about the area.

It was not far past here I got my first glimpse of Ben Lomond.  It would be another 40 mins before I started walking up it.  It was 0920.  

The carpark at the visitors centre was full but again the visitor centre was closed.

First view of Ben Lomond
I had planned to leave my large bag at the bottom of Ben Lomond, as I thought why carry it all the way up to carry it all the way down.  So after taping my toes up, as they had started to rub and hiding my big bag in a place no one would look I set off with my camelpack a chocolate bar, some boiled sweets and my lucky stick.
Can you spot the big bag I left at the bottom of Ben Lomond
On the way up I passed a number of people.  A couple of lads stand out in my mind they were dying for a cigarette but did not have a light, they were resting just past a snowed area.  They were still happy despite the cold and wearing thin clothes and trainers. 

Near the summit you could not move for the crowds many hogging the summit despite it being cold and not having much of a view for the low cloud and mist.  A few steps down from the top you could see across the whole of Loch Lomond.  I could not understand why the people did not move off the summit, into shelter and have a better view.

Top of Ben Lomond
On the way down I passed a fell runner on his way up, I was not hanging about, I was motoring, once I picked up my bag, I had a banana and set off on The WHW again.  I stopped at Rowardennan Lodge to fill up my camelpack.  As I was walking past the Rangers House I got a shock when I saw the fell runner talking to someone, he was not out of breath no sign of distress not even sweating.  He must have known a short cut, or was a very fit man.

Anyway The WHW now took me along a road that was easy going, despite being a bit up and down in places.  It was a road through a wood that follows by the side of Loch Lomond.  It was along here I thought I saw a deer, as I reached for my camera I saw people in the distance and thought they must have spooked it.  On a closer look it turned out to be a large yes very large brown dog.  I had a short rest at Tom Wheldon’s seat which had the inscription that “Someone like you only happens once in a lifetime thank you for happening in ours.”  What a nice thing to say about someone.  When I returned home I checked on Google for Tom Wheldon, what a bloke he had been.  Check it out yourself if you want.
View from Tom Wheldon's seat
About 2 miles further on the track goes down to the lochside near a place called Callness.  It was along from here I saw some wild goats quite happily munching on the grass, the photos I took of the goats unfortunately came out blurred.  The goats here are totally different to the wild goats I have previously seen near Glenuig.  They are larger and have longer horns.  The path was turning into a little tricky track now, clambering over boulders and tree roots. It was just past where I saw the goats that the track levelled off near the waters edge.  Here I saw a number of geese they looked quite fantastic and as the goats before them they were totally unconcerned about me.

Again the photo unfortunately does not show the geese but the light and the cloud formation over the loch is brilliant.  Time was moving on and I was starting to become a little concerned about my next meal.  I planned to stop at Inversnaid.

I saw some more goats but didn't get my camera out, all I wanted to do was find the hotel and get something to eat.  Just next to the hotel is a lovely couple of waterfalls very picturesque. 

It was about 1735 when I stopped at the Inversnaid Hotel, where I was greeted with a sign asking all walkers to go to the back door.  At the same time one of the hotel staff opened the door and asked what I wanted, when I said food she directed me to the back door.  The back door was locked so I left my bag and walked back round to the front.  Once inside I was told there would be no food, strange as the hotel had at least 2 coaches full of guests, what were they eating?  Anyway after saying this my face must have said it all and they said I could have a sandwich which then turned into a pie and chips then upgraded to a plastic container of fish and chips, for which I was very grateful.  

While I was eating a number of guests came into the bar for a drink while waiting for their tables.  They were escorted from the bar to their tables by a young Asian lad who was very self conscious of his appearance due to the kilt he was wearing and he kept pulling it down making sure it had not risen up at the rear.  It was quite funny to see, poor lad.  Anyway after a couple of shandy’s, a phone call home, I left the hotel walked around what turned out to be 6 coaches and thought why should walkers be made to use the back door.  The front of the hotel is very grand perhaps that is why they don't want smelly dirty walkers at the front.  

I made my way to the wild campsite about 500 meters down the lochside. I had no problem setting up my tent in the dark and climbed into my sleeping bag.  Once I was inside it started raining, It had been dry all day a little overcast at times but otherwise OK.  I would leave writing up my notes until the morning.  It had been a really good day even though I was hurting.  I had calculated that on Saturday I was walking about 2.5 miles an hour, Sunday it went down to about 2 miles an hour, this was the pace I had calculated on doing anyway.  I first calculated that I had covered 21 miles but on reflection it was more like 19.5 miles 31.4km with 1465m climb.  

One thing about this stretch of The Way I found quite unpleasant and that was after a while the noise of the traffic from the other side of the loch, motor bikes, and speeding cars was starting to become annoying, saying that, it did not stop me sleeping.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to previous - Day 1 Milngavie to Cashell
Follow link to next - Day 3 Inversnaid to Auchtertyre 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

WHW, Milngavie to Cashell Farm - Day 1 14 March 2009.

The Way Day 1 
Milngavie to Cashell Farm Campsite 
Distance 34.6 km Climb 711m
Saturday 14 March 2009

I put my walking coat on, picked up my bag and stick, then after locking the car I set off.  It was raining what my Dad would have called a lazy rain as it tries to go through you rather than around you.

Within minutes of leaving the car as I was heading towards the start of The Way I saw a fox within a few feet of me near the main street.  We both stood and looked at each other, I reached into my pocket for my camera, the fox still just stood, when I put the camera to my eye it still just stood, and just as I pushed the button to take its photo it ran away.

Milngavie Town Clock 

Although it was dark and drizzling the start was easy the clock showed 0315.  I was at last starting my birthday adventure!

Milngavie Oberlisk The start of the WHW

The start follows the stream then moves into a park type land, and the route was well sign posted.  Going through the woods I could hear owls and all sorts of other night creatures moving about, it was great.  The only problem I had walking in the dark was that I was unable to take any photos.  I tried taking one of Craigallian Loch from the north and the hill at Dumgoyach from the south.  Both looked impressive in the half light but unfortunately the photos didn't come out.

It started to get light and the rain had stopped as I was passing Dumgoyach, a pale wet watery light with an early morning chill.  I had planned to stop at Dumgoyne for breakfast thinking it may be open, but it was just after 0630 and was closed.  

A closed Dumgoyne

Breakfast was a breakfast bar, a banana and some of the tea I had previously made at home before I set off. As Dumgoyne was closed I thought no point in hanging around I would just carry on to Gartness and have a rest there.

Crossing the bridge at Gartness it was raining again and I could see the river was full.  Nothing was open here either, I had no option but to carry on to the next camp site.  The map shows there is a bothy at Easter Drumquhassle.  I knocked and got no answer, the wigwams looked good and I thought about having a couple of hours rest but they had padlocks on and the water tap was so tight I could not get any water for a cup of tea.  The time was 0830.

I got under the shelter out of the rain, and made some tea using the water I was carrying.  I was reluctant to do this in case I needed the water later on.  Anyway after a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate I set off again.  It was not long before I got my first view of Conic Hill.

Conic Hill

Instead of turning left into Drymen I followed The Way across the field and up onto the A811.  After a few hundred meters The Way then turns left onto a path that takes you up into Garadhban Forest.  As I followed the forest road I was passed by a number of runners out for a Saturday morning run. 

Path into  Garadhban Forest

The next campsite I was to pass was shown on the map as a wild campsite.  It was at the top north west corner of the forest.  I had an idea that I could pitch my tent there and get a few hours rest.  I had been told that this campsite was covered with long grass and fallen logs.  As I had to pass close by it, I thought I would take a look when I got there, there may be some place to put up my small single one man tent.

It was near the area of this campsite I got my first glimpse of Loch Lomond.  It was now nearly 1010.  The campsite was as I had been told, covered in long grass, fallen logs and worse of all open to all the elements of wind and rain, with no place to put my tent.

First view of Loch Lomond

Leaving the forest The Way heads north then turns left and heads direct towards Conic Hill.  

Approaching Conic Hill

The stream at the bottom of Conic Hill was very full and fast flowing.  As you would expect with all the rain, good job there was a bridge. 

Bridge at the bottom of Conic Hill

 The climb was long and steep which with very strong wind and rain in my face did not help.  I passed quite a lot of people going up and down Conic Hill, possibly out from Glasgow for a day walking.  The Way goes near the top but not onto it.  I did think about going to the top and tried for a few meters but started having problems keeping my feet in the wind.  This with the need for food and rest and the weight of my kit made me decide to head down the other side.  As I headed down I moved off the path and across fields which was a more sheltered route from the wind.  After climbing a few walls and crossing another wood I returned to the path that took me into Balmaha.

Although the car park had a large number of cars and buses I found the visitor centre closed.  

Closed Visitor Centre at Balmaha

The only course of action then was to go into the Oak Tree Inn and have something to eat.  It was 1215 and I ordered BBQ chicken breast with chips which sounded great but when ordering I was told it was off the menu. So I had the haggis and pork sausages instead, with a Tennents shandy, this was the first proper stop I had had and felt it was well deserved.  

The food was good so all I needed now was sleep.  The Oak Tree Inn was very warm and a lot of people came in and used it, many possibly just out for the day.  The campsite I was aiming for now is only a couple of miles away.  According to the WHW Companion it is open from March.  After leaving The Oak Tree Inn the weather changed from wet and miserable to bright, sunny and warm, yes warm. 

Sunny and warm near Balmaha Loch Lomond

Near Milarrochy

The campsite at Milarrochy was not open in March like it says in the WHW Companion, but fortunately the next place was, Cashell Farm Campsite.  I arrived there about 1500 and paid for my pitch bought a pot noodle and set up my tent.  They looked at me a little strange in the campsite office when I said I was doing The West Highland Way. I thought they would have seen loads of people doing The Way. 

The area for tents was quite open, windy and exposed, it was hard to peg the tent down due to the stones in the ground, and I had to use a couple of rocks to hold the guys down.  Once the tent was pitched and I sorted out my stuff I climbed into my sleeping bag and had some much needed sleep.  After an hour my bladder woke me up.  It was not like I was at home when the toilet is only 4-5 steps from the bed, here I had to open the tent, sort my feet out, fasten the tent then walk (run) about 100m to the toilet.  Then trying to remember the correct code for the door, things could have been messy.

After another little nap I rang home, it was just after 1800 and the night was closing in.  I had a little walk around the campsite, it was used mainly by caravans.  During the time I had been sleeping another tent had turned up so I did not feel so alone.

My notes on the day show, “Up to now although I am enjoying The Way I have not found it easy, perhaps with a bit more training it would have been easier.  I ache in all the old places left knee, right hip, right shoulder.  My left shoulder and right knee can now be added, but it is great, I hope I can finish?

I had covered approx 21.5 miles 34.6 km with 711m climb.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to Day 2 Cashell to Inversnaid

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The West Highland Way My Best Birthday Present Ever (Pre the walk)

Pre The Walk

Note October 2015, I have just set up a Facebook account under Boz North if you would like to send me a friends request.

We were sitting in a cafĂ© in Edinburgh, that is my wife and I.  When Anne said and I could not believe it.  In fact I am sure I made her say it a few times.  It was December 2008 and we had been on a shopping coachtrip to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  During the next year, 2009, it was my 50th birthday and Anne said she had been looking into me doing The West Highland Way.  She had been looking at booking me on one of the sherpa trips, where an organisation would carry my kit, but as Anne said when she had looked into these trips, I could have had a week in Italy for the prices they were charging.  So Anne said I could go and organise my own way of doing The Way.

I had previously looked into doing The Way 6 or 7 years ago but I knew I would never get the time off home to do it, or at least I would feel guilty about going off on my own.  As for going together we both knew from bitter experience that patience would be tested, words would be said and it usually ends up with sulks on both sides.  So when Anne said she had been looking into me doing The West Highland Way on my own I could not believe it.  I was like an excited kid, I started making plans, changing them then going back to the original plan.  From that moment onwards I couldn,t think of anything else I couldn’t wait to get going.  I dusted out the maps and books and started going through them again.  I had at one point thought about giving them away, now I was glad I hadn’t.

At the time my toilet read was “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakaur, this is a true story about his own experiences on a trip to Everest, where a lot of people lost their lives.  I would sit and read about the cold, the ice, the snow and the danger.  Thoughts of this mixed with thoughts of my own trip in the back of my own mind.  I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t going to Everest.  I didn’t have to worry about ropes and crampons.  But even though it was not Everest, The West Highland Way was still my goal with my own personal challenges.

I have done a number of walks in the past with groups, this time it would be different as it would be just me, no one else just me.  Nothing I could not manage but still a challenge, that I was looking forward too.  Not just the walking but organizing myself with the admin. 

I took information from various sources, a book I obtained 7 years ago, Harvey’s map, a WHW pocket companion, a footprint map as well as various sites on the internet.

Rough Plan
Milngavie – Balmaha                                                                                           21 ½
Balmaha (including Ben Lomond) – Inversnaid                                         11 ½ (19)
Inversnaid – Crainlarich                 13
Inversnaid – Tyndrum                       20
Crainlarich – Bridge of Orchy        13
Tyndrum – Kingshouse                     19
Bridge of Orchy – Kingshouse        13
Kingshouse – Fort William                22
Kingshouse – Fort William               22
Ben Nevis                                       12 ½
Ben Nevis                                      12 ½

At work a friend's husband had done The Way a few years ago and he also had a few suggestions.  I met him one day for coffee and he showed me on the map various things and tips.  He suggested a good campsites at Cashell Campsite, wild camping at Rowardennan, Beinglas (next to Drovers Inn). He said the Drovers Inn was a must see place and that I should make every effort to go there, as did a few other people.  Wild camping at Inveroran, Kinlochleven and Glen Nevis was good.  The wild campsite at Kingshouse was crap.  Although he did have concerns about the time of year I was going as he thought many places would be closed; he like me also had concern about the weather for the time of year.

I looked at how I would get to the start, would I go by train or use the car.  The thought of trashing through Newcastle with the bag going on and off trains did not appeal to me, however I looked into it. There was also the concern if taking the car where would I leave it?


Newcastle – Glasgow Central
Leave 20.54
Arrive Milngavie
00.22 (cost £13)
3hrs 28

23.22 (cost £13)
3hrs 43

Fort William – Glasgow Queens
Leave 11.40

Arrive Glasgow Queens  15.30 (cost £11.70)
3hrs 50
Fort William – Milngavie
Leave 11.40
1 change
Arrive Milngavie
16.07 (cost £12.70)
4hrs 27
Leave 11.40
2 changes
15.54 (cost £12.70)
4hrs 14


167.12 miles

3hrs 28

I looked at places where I could leave the car
An internet site advised the Police Station:  Keystone Road, Milngavie G62 6JQ off the A8030 telephone 0141 532 4000.  When I rang I was told I could leave the car opposite the station and to call into the station and inform them where I was going and how long I would be on The Way when I left the car.
The WHW mentioned that you could stay at the Premier Inn Bearsden and leave your car there.

Campsite’s from the WHW Pocket Companion
Bankwell Farm                                                      Open all year
G62 8LE
Tricia Letford                                                        April – Oct ?
G63 0AW
Milarrochybay                                                    13 March onwards 
Balmaha Nr Drymen                    Before I started this looked a good place to stop
G63 0AL                                       but it was not open?
By The Way                                                       Easter onwards  ?
Lower Station Road
FK20 8RY
Auchtertyre Farm
FK20 8RU
Kingshouse Hotel                                                Free campsite open all year
Glen Coe
PH49 4HY
Blackwater Hostel                                               Campsite open all year
Lab Road
PH50 4SG

I took time in writing and rewriting lists of all the equipment I felt I would need.
Kit List
Head ache tablets
Spare underpants
Termis cups x 2
Money belt
Waterproof trs
Mess tins
Spare t/shirt
First aid kit
Waterproof socks
Foot powder
Tracksuit bottoms
Spare batteries
Sleeping bag
Camel pack
Bivi bag
Roll matt
Rain cover
Toilet paper
Cash card
Wet wipes
Softy jacket
Spare tracksuit trs
Spare socks

I took out the kit and had a few walks local to try it out before I went off on The Way.  We had a little walk up Ingram Valley.  I tested putting up the tent outside rather than in the front room.  Made a cup of tea with my stove then went home.  It was useful as I amended my list, took some of the rations out, changed the trainers, and packed less water.

Following the end of the walk it was agreed that Anne would come up to Glasgow and we would have a few days together before coming home.  Places we looked at were:
The Premier Inn Milngavie 08701 977112. Fri-Sat £51.
Jury’s Inn, 80 Jamaica Street, Glasgow 0141 3144800.  Sat-Sun £164 car parking £6 for 24 hrs.
McIays Guest House, 264-276 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6TT, 0141 3324796 at £76 including breakfast 
this was the main choice.

The Drive Up

I left home about 2230 on the Friday 13 March 2009, very excited and raring to go.  I had been at work all day with no time for rest but that was not going to stop me.  We travel up to Scotland and stay at a croft I know at least once or twice a year.  As it is so fantastic I do not want to waste time travelling on a Saturday so we usually travel up on a Friday night.  Making the most of the quite roads where they are few cars and no caravans.  You also have a better opportunity at seeing some of the wildlife.  This drive up was to be no exception.

Anyway I left home at 2230 on Friday 13 March 2009, travelling along the A69 near Carlisle an owl flew level with the car for at least 150m. I stopped at a couple of service stations on the way up.  Missed the turning on the M8, nearly went the wrong side of a dual carriageway, then found the right road.  Played chicken with a Glasgow drunk who hit the car but I wasn’t going to stop in case it was an ambush.  It started raining about 0200 as the weather forecast had predicted, so at least that was accurate.  It had said that rain on Sunday overcast Monday and the weather may improve on Tuesday.  Other than that it could not really say.

It took me 30 - 40 minutes to find the police station.  If I came into Milngavie the way shown on the multimap route I had printed I would have passed it, as it was I came into the town another way.  I found Keystone Road easy and walked up and down looking for the station but could not find it.  It was only when I got back into the car and drove back down the A8030 I saw it, right next to Milngavie’s Premier Inn.  I parked over the road and went in to leave my details at the police station as advised when I rang.  The policeman on the desk wasn’t interested, all he said was so long as it was taxed and insured it would not be a problem.  With that I went outside sorted myself out, put my walking coat on, hoisted up my bag, picked up my stick, locked the car and set off.  The time was nearly 0315 Saturday 14 March 2009 and it was raining what my Dad would have called a lazy rain as it goes through you rather than around you.

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