Mar 30th, 2014
Today R and I walked part of the Cowal way. We took the Helensburgh minibus from Lochgoilhead this morning and got off at Artgarten. The idea was to be able to do a longish walk in one direction without having to loop back to get the car. So this was part of the Lochgoilhead to Arrochar section of the Way – about 7 miles of it.
It was not a bad day (by which I mean it wasn’t raining) although cold and rather overcast. The first part of the route is along a tarmacked road which leads to a hotel that seems to be owned by the ‘Lochs and Glens’ tour group – an impressive building and a lovely location by the side of Loch Long. From there the road turns into a Forestry track and turns upwards into woodland. After a while there are some nice views back down the hill.
After a moderately steep ascent, the forestry is left behind, and a style leads out on to the moorland. We were a bit surprised that there were no further signs (not that there had been any signs marking the Cowal Way specifically anyway – but there had been a couple signposted Lochgoilhead), only a few widely separated posts. Also the path had almost totally disappeared, leaving a wet walk up what felt like the bed of a stream up to the top. Although we are well in to spring now – it was pretty bleak up there with snow on the tops of the mountains, and Benn Donich looking tall and grim.
There were also some fantastic views back down to Lochgoilhead.
From there, the path continued almost unmarked, steep and slippy down to whIere it joined our familiar forestry track near the loch.
We had a great walk, but we did find it a bit surprising that apart from a single sign just outside Lochgoilhead itself – we did not see a single marker for the Cowal way. Having done the West Highland way a few times, it seems a shame that this one (Which seems from the small section we did to be just as good) – can’t be have the same type of way markers on it.
Also – I wouldn’t personally do this stage of the way if there had been a lot of recent rain – it had been dry for a few days before we did it, and the path (such as it was) was virtually impassable in places.