LEJOG51: Cashel to Inverarnan

I woke up early. It was quiet, meaning no wind. Unfortuntely I hadn’t yet learned what this meant and thought this was a good thing. I brushed my teeth in the shower block an noticed a few midges about but they didnt really bother me I started to set up my stove on a picnic bench next to my tent. Within 30 seconds of being stationary I was swarmed by the little bastards. They started off one or two just buzzing around my head and then almosy instantly became a cloud. I jumped inside my tent and finished making and eating my porridge there.

Sitting inside the tent I started to contemplate just how I was going to pack up while minimizing my exposure. I got everything in my bag except the tent, then had to brave the outside. Again within seconds I was swarmed. I couldn’t take cover this time so had to quickly and clumsily roll my tent up while the buggers got in my eyes and mouth and ears. As soon as I was done and moving it was fine, but the moment I became stationary I gain a halo of pestilence.

There is something evil about midges. You only need to encounter then once to understand it. Insideous, unpleasant and pointless. I’d like to know what their actual function on the food chain is as extinction might be the beneficial option. I’m sure even the WWF wouldn’t disagree so long as they spent a minute in the presence of this granulated manifestation of horror.

Today’s walk led along the entire length of Loch Lomond. In the morning it was still a little misty and overcast, much like the previous evening. The route past through mostly native forests which looked more vaired and alive than the uniform and sterile pine plantations of the previous day. At some points there was native forest on one side of the track and plantation on the other which so you could easily contrast the wealth of different trees and foliage with the carpet of pine needles on the other.

It got sunnier as the day wore on so by the afternoon the forests were creating a lovely dappled light effect on the ground, something that a plantation with it’s conniferous roof never did. Also in the afternoon the walk got more rugged, constantly going up, down and round rocks and boulders as it stuck close to the shore of the lake. This, combined with the bright sun, carpet of ferns and sparkling blue water of the loch, made it feel almost tropical.

One thing I started to notice today was the sheer volume of walkers out. The west highland way was obviously incredibly popular, and it was the busiest route I’d been on since the south west coast path. In practical terms this meant I did a lot of overtaking of other walkers, which is always good for moral. Some people say walking isn’t a competition, but they are just kidding themselves. It is a competition, but a competition with yourself. Overtaking others is a nice sign that you’re ticking over nicely.

I reached my campsite in good time. It was quite busy as it was a Saturday, the weather was great and this establishment had it’s own bar and restaurant. This meant lots of families and lots of bulging biceps and bellys with faded blue tatoos. As with yesterday I welcomed this diversity, especially if it provided the customers to keep campsites with their own pub in business. Ironically it was the lack of caravans that made the place a bit more rougher around the edges – caravan culture has the effect of making a site a bit more staid.

After a dinner of vegetable lasagne (veggy stodge-just what what body was asking for) I turned in for bed to the sound of kids running about outside and inadvertantly bumping into my tent. Once again, I was so tired that even this intensely irritating and intrusive sound couldn’t stop my descent into the Glen of sleep.

Sent from my iPhone

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