This is a superb stretch of trail along the eastern shoreline of Loch Lomond. At the northern end of the loch it heads up past Cnap Mor before descending to the valley floor to reach the Beinglas campsite. The first part along the shore of the loch is exceptionally rough, with rocky paths that climb over and between vast boulders that have fallen off the hillside to the right.
3 hours 55 minutes
Map of the leg
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format.
Pass in front of the Inversnaid Hotel and pass through the car park. Continue on northwards along a track paved with concrete blocks through trees along the shore, passing a toilet block on the right. The track soon becomes rougher as it reaches a boathouse. It runs along the side of the boathouse and then behind it; there is a good wild camping spot on the right of the path. Shortly after it curves to the left over a footbridge the path becomes rockier. It crosses another footbridge and continues on; the going soon becomes harder as it crosses a series of rockfalls. It soon reaches Rob Roy’s Cave, a nick in the rocks on the shore - it is hard to find, even with a sign on the ground beside the path.
The path then becomes even rougher, climbing and falling as it continues north through the trees along the shoreline, including a set of 14 steep wooden steps that leads to a bridge over a chasm, with water pouring down the cliff. It is a wonderfully strenuous stroll, especially when it passes streams that thunder down the hillside, and the intermittent views over the loch to the left are superb. Navigation is easy; the path is well-walked and there are no branches leading off it.
At about NN333134 the path leaves the foreshore and follows a path that crosses a flat area of land. Cross a footbridge over a stream and turn right; the path follows the stream on the right before crossing it to reach a low stone wall on the right. It climbs up to pass inland of the little hillock of Creag a’ Mhadaidh before descending to reach the shoreline near Doune Bothy on the left at NN332144.
After this the path remains near the shoreline as it heads northwards for two-thirds of a mile towards Ardleish and the northern end of the loch; the going is easier than it was before but is still not easy. On the way it crosses a bridge and heads up some steps and across a stile through a stone wall before descending to another bridge over a stream to reach Ardleish.
A path heads north from Ardleish, heading slightly inland as it climbs uphill and passing below the summit of the small Cnap Mor on the left. It crosses a couple of wooden causeys before passing the eastern shore of Dubh Lochan and then the ruined farm at Blairstainge as it slowly descends to meet the Ben Glas Burn at NN321185.
When the path approaches the southern bank of the burn, turn left and then right to cross a bridge over the burn to reach the Beinglass Farm campsite at NN321186; to reach Inverarnan turn left to cross a bridge over the River Falloch to reach the A82, then turn left to walk south along the main road to reach the small hamlet.
Inversnaid and the ferry
Inversnaid is a tiny settlement nestled about two-thirds the way up the eastern shore of Loch Lomond. It consists of little more than a hotel which sits at the shoreline, its only road access coming east from Loch Arklet.
The hotel’s clientele is invariably fairly well-dressed, but there is hope for walkers - the hotel operates a bunkhouse in a converted chapel about half a mile up the hill. Fortunately they often offer a pick-up from the hotel for tired walkers, saving a long haul uphill. A jetty outside the hotel marks the landing for a ferry across the loch.
There is a wild-camp site a few yards north of the hotel near a little boathouse.
Island I Vow and castle
Island I vow is a tiny wooded island near the northern end of Loch Lomond.
It was an ancestral stronghold of the MacFarlane clan, who built a castle on the island at its southern end in 1577; the ruins have walls seven metres high.
The River Falloch rises in the hills around Beinn a' Chroin to the south of Crianlarich. It heads north toward curving sharply to heads southwestwards, forming Glen Falloch. This low ground has proved a useful transport corridor; the A82(T), a railway line and power cables all share the glen.
The river runs through a series of rapids and cascades as it descends; the largest of these, at about 30 foot in height, is the Falls of Falloch. There is a car park beside the A82 on the northern side of the river and a path that leads to the falls; sadly the views from the West Highland Way on the southern side of the river are not as good.
Public transport on this leg is very difficult; Scottish Citylink service 914 runs along the A82(T) on the other side of the loch, but the problem is how to get across the loch from the Inversnaid Hotel to the western bank. Cruise Loch Lomond operate a ferry, but the service is infrequent and does not operate all year round.
Likewise, the bus stop at Inverarnan is on the A82(T) on the other side of the river from the trail; a bridge allows access to the main road.
As usual, Traveline Scotland is an excellent resource for planning public transport journeys.