Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 1: Milngavie to Drymen

The first day of my walk on the West Highland Way started out sunny and bright with afternoon cloud. After breakfast, with great excitement, I left my cosy room at Best Foot Forward in Milngavie (pronounce Mull-guy), bright and early at 8:30 for the 1k walk into town to the official beginning of the WHW.

Best Foot Forward was up quite a high hill off the residential street. Fortunately when Don dropped me off yesterday he carried my bag up there for me and then the luggage transfer service picked it up today to deliver to Drymen.

The official start of the WHW is on a pedestrianized High Street. Here's the clock nearby and you can see other hikers just behind, getting organized. I took this picture in the afternoon the day before, as you can see by the clock.
I took a last photo of the official start and then I took off down the stairs just behind the marker and was on my way.

The first day's walk was pretty flat with decent paths, first through a forested area 

 where there was an abundance of spring flowers.
There were daffodils everywhere
and the gorse was in bloom.
Thanks to all the rain in the days previous, the path was quite muddy in places.  

not that it bothered me much - I was just happy to be on the trail at last! When I stopped at the Beech Tree Inn it was so early they were still serving breakfast, so I continued on my way and had a picnic at a sunny spot later on. Both before and after the Beech Tree Inn the path followed an aqueduct, bringing water from Loch Lomond to cities in central Scotland.

Above picture is looking backward at the bird that crossed behind me. That's the buried pipe along the right hand side.
That prominent hill is called Dumgoyne and it can be seen from Glasgow. At its foot (those buildings you see there) is Glengoyne Distillery. I think every distillery in Scotland offers tours and this one does too, but as I'm not much interested in Scotch whisky, I just stayed on the path.
I arrived early in Drymen, so sat on a bench in the sunshine for awhile with my Kobo.
Drymen has a very nice town square and Hawthornes, my destination for the night was right there.
The room was perfect and, as with every place I stayed, there was coffee and tea and an electric kettle in the room. Every place except for the Kingshouse Hotel (where there's no reception) had a flat screen TV as well.

Just around the block was the Drymen Inn where I had a very nice dinner.
and afterwards there was plenty of time before dark to admire some of the flowers around town. I never stayed up long enough to see the night fall. It was still light out at 10 pm. and in the morning day broke around 4 am. I find myself imagining the reverse and thinking how dark it must be in November and December.

There's a group of 18 local women who volunteer to plant and tend the many planters situated round about.

All in all today was a good start to my walk. A warm-up for more difficult days to come.

Overview Day 1

Go to Day 2