WHW – Day 4 (Rowardennan to Inverarnan)

After our “rest day”, in which Esther and I hiked 8 miles with 3,000feet of elevation gain and descent, it was time to hit the trail again – hiking from Rowardennan to Inverarnan. The route says it’ll be 14 miles and it’s the last section of the trail where my big pack will have baggage transfer. We were expecting it to rain today but thankfully the rain held off most of the day. Very soon after heading out for the day, we passed this nice little honesty box.

The trail started off on a very nice even ascent and followed the edge of the lake. We passed through a really nice stand of pines. It was a very hard and rocky trail; my feet started hurting a little early. The soles on my Merrills aren’t as beefy as the Salomons that gave me the bone bruise and that I had to leave home. But, just gotta keep going.

The miles passed by quickly and we reached Inversnaid Hotel around lunch time; the approximate halfway point between Rowardennan and Inverarnan. We stopped for a quick lunch break to refuel and rest the feet. Then we prepared to hit the trail for the second half of the day. We had heard reports that the trail after Inversnaid Hotel was quite a bit harder….and the reports were right. A lot of big rocks, a narrow pathway, up and down… a very good idea to have trekking poles to help stabilize yourself; especially if you’re carrying a heavy pack.

Esther’s boots were building up to giving her issues and today she had to make some adjustments and apply some measures to help keep them working and not damaging her feet. The miles definitely passed by slower the second half of the day.

Just keep hiking, just keep hiking…

We reached the end of the lake and took a rest. My feet were pretty sore by now. Taking a rest is nice while resting, but then when you start walking again, you have to get the feet warmed up again and during that time they hurt more than they did when you stopped hiking. But you just have to keep walking.

During our rest, the clouds and rain got closer and it caught up to us after we continued. This last few miles took FOREVER as they tend to do. One foot in front of the other. Rain, mud, wet feet, wet gear. Just keep going.

Just before you get to Beinglas Campsite, the route on the Hiking Project app shows the trail as crossing the river to the left of the trail… but IT DOESN’T. We were literally 100 meters from our campsite when I gave in and asked a couple people hiking in the opposite direction how far away we were from Beinglas Farm Campsite. We just had to keep going. By the time we reached the site, we were really wet and exhausted.

We checked in and got the key to our micro-lodge. First thing we did was turn the heater on and get boots and gear hung up to dry. Esther and I had dinner at the pub where we checked in. We sat with Jen and Henry, a young English couple who were essentially hiking the length of the UK – there’s a name of the trail they’re hiking but I don’t remember it. The vegetable bhune was absolutely what was needed after that long day of hiking. I was starving and it was warm and filling and delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed that dinner; exchanging travel and life stories.

Back to the micro-lodge; the gear and boot drying continues. I’m tired and life is much harder when I’m tired. The thought of leaving the trail and visiting my sister in Germany crosses my mind, but Esther doesn’t want me to leave the hiking team, and I know when I’m exhausted it’s not a good idea to make any decisions. Make it through one more day. I need to sleep.

We survived day 4 on the trail = 14.9 miles (door to door) from Rowardennan Youth Hostel to Beinglas Farm Campsite – almost a mile further than reported on the WestHighlandWay.org website.

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