Walking The Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

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The Loch Lomond and Cowal Way was first established in 2000 and is often known as ‘Scotland in 57 miles’ it covers beautiful coastline, some amazing heritage, some beautiful views of mountains along with woodlands and moors.

Running from Portavadie along the Cowal peninsula it heads North-Easterly finishing in Inveruglas on the shores of Loch Lomond. I began the Loch Lomond and Cowal way on the 15th of August 2021 and finished it the following day on the 16th of August 2021, I flipped the trail and started at Inveruglas heading South to finish in Portavadie and then head straight into the Kintyre way (see my Kintyre Way blog to read my adventure on the Kintyre peninsula).

Day 1

I began by parking my car at a campsite in Succoth and hitching a lift back to Inveruglas (mainly because I hadn’t booked a permit to park in the carpark at Inveruglas). From there I followed the road for a couple of hundred meters before heading up a forestry road and into the hills. There wasn’t too much ascent, and the trail began following a river before crossing over it and heading through a valley in between two steep hills. The views were already epic with mountains looming all around like something from a Lord of the Rings movie.

After a few miles, I arrived at Succoth where I had left my car, scored a burger at the campsite and carried on along the water’s edge before heading up into the hills once more. The views were absolutely amazing at this point and I was mesmerized looking across the water towards Tullich hill on the other side.

I carried on a Southerly course hiking through amazing forestry with some slight inclines along the way. I soon came out of the forested sections though and entered open moorland with a steep ascent around the North side of Cnoc Coinnich. The moors felt very remote and the views were stunning, next was a steep ascent through some woodland where I took a few tumbles on the slippery ground before heading into Lochgoilhead where I scored a can of cola and chilled next to the Loch.

Upon leaving Lochgoilhead the skies opened up in traditional Scottish fashion and I was soaked through to the bone before I could even get my waterproofs out.

I decided to just crack on regardless soaking wet through and up in the hills once more. After following a logger’s path for a few miles it ends and you find the path very exposed and not very well-trodden. There is a steep ascent up the side of a series of waterfalls here and it was definitely slippy going due to the onslaught of rain.

After ascending I managed to get some sunshine and chilled at the edge of the waterfall looking out across the beautiful Scottish hills for a while.

I planned on stopping near Curra Lochain but it was still a bit early and I felt fresh so cracked on along the water’s edge and back into forest (most has been logged but it’s still beautiful).

Following the forest paths and around the outside of Beinn Lagan and towards Glenbranter. I found an amazing spot about half a mile past the little village and pitched up in the woods next to a river. I managed to find a lull in the fast-flowing river and decided to take a dip and wash my already stinking clothes. I had basically just lied to myself at this point and hammered 26 miles instead of the 15 I had promised to myself, so I was almost at the halfway point already.

Day 2

I woke up nice and early, packed up my gear, and started crushing the miles ready for a big mile day as I had told myself I may as well just get it finished today.

The trail carried on slowly ascending the Western side of Creag Tharsuinn continuing along its South-Westerly vector before dropping down and following what in my opinion the worst section of trail I have ever come across. It was at least 15 miles of road walking with little in terms of views due to the trees,

If there was a bus, taxi or even cars I would have attempted to ditch the trail and get to Kames via those options.

Alas, there wasn’t and I plodded along for what felt like a year before being met with some rather treacherous cliff paths along the loch before Tighnabruaich.

Once I reached Tighnabruaich I feasted like a demon and treat my feet to a dip in the loch to cool them before powering on through Kames and across the moors towards Portavadie.

I reached Portavadie around 5pm and sat chilling watching the waves roll across the shores in a kind of stupor that I had finished the 57-mile journey so fast and feeling fresh as a daisy really.

Check out my blog on the Kintyre Way for the next part of my journey across remote Scotland.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and my rant about road walking hasn’t put anybody off from the beautiful Loch Lomond and Cowal Way. Peace Out.

Thanks to Hiiker for providing the amazing mapping to do this trail. If you want your hiking needs taken care of defo give their app a download.

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