Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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Martha Kelly of Tarbet and her Easter bonnet
DS23 Easter bonnet
DS23 Martha Kelly in Easter bonnet
Days S21 - S27                                                                  Central Scotland
Day S23 - Tarbet to Balloch
Day S22
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Time of departure: 8.45 am
Time of arrival: 4.00 pm
Place departed:  Tarbet, Argyll and Bute
Place arrived: Balloch, West Dunbarton

Miles: 18
Cum miles: 298.2
Percent complete: 30.7

Bed sign Anchorage B&B, Balloch **
Cost for bed and breakfast: 30 ($60)
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DS23 Loch Lomond looking north 2
Above: Loch Lomond from its west shore, looking north. At the foot of the page is a similar shot after walking further south for several miles
Below: A home north of Balloch, and a Balloch street at sunset
DS23 Cottage north of Balloch
DS23 Sunset at Balloch
By a quick estimate, I won't get to Land's End in time to catch my plane - unless I raise my average mileage per day above the current twelve. (The twelve does not reflect rest days such as those when I was flat-on-my-back in Tain.)

So today I made an effort to walk further than usual, facilitated by the decent distance from Tarbet to the tourist accommodation center of Balloch at the south end of Loch Lomond. It was a significant effort; I started with enthusiasm but slowed as I got tired and the normal aches and pains arrived. (I say normal, but the 18 miles has made my right ankle very painful again.) I'll see what my mileage is over the next few days, and re-calculate the time to Land's End. I am now 15 to 20 miles north of Glasgow.

The ferry from Inverbeg to Rowardennan wasn't running, so I wasn't able to get back on to the West Highland Way (WHW), and will have to be happy with having achieved the tough northernmost section. I wasn't sorry about missing the rest of the Way because I walked all day today on the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path, which followed the bonny west bank of the loch mostly at the water's edge. Despite its name, it's a hiking as well as biking trail, but was little used for either even on a fine weekend day with spring in the air. Often enough, the A82 ran quite a bit more inland than the path, giving me peace and quiet, but sometimes the two were close. Except for a mile just south of Tarbet, A82 traffic wasn't something I had to think about, because the path is physically separated from the road. I covered a much greater mileage than if I'd waited and caught the ferry and proceeded on the WHW with its accommodation constraints.

Back in Tarbet last night, I stayed at Bon Etive, the B&B of Martha Kelly, another of the many hosts in Scotland who've made me feel welcome. She's traveled widely, and her place has the memorabilia to prove it. Easter is next weekend, and she's made herself an Easter bonnet with chicks around the brim and eggs on the top. I'll send her the photo which she let me take, and post it on this site, when I get home.

Martha's bonnet reminded me that I've achieved one of my goals, which was to be south of this area before the Easter travel explosion. Phil, the host at my Crianlarich B&B, described how he has to turn away WHW walkers when the season gets busy. I'll still have to be careful about accommodation at Easter, but I don't think I'll be in territory which is going to be fully-booked.

Today was a transition from remote, mountainous Scotland to a much more crowded, flatter region. For the moment at least, I've also left the snow behind.

DS23 Loch Lomond Cycle Track
DS23 Loch Lomond looking north
     Day S22                              2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                     Day S24