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How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby walk and roll » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:49 am


after restrictions ease, I'd like to walk a little bit of the West Highland way to mark a landmark birthday. Would like to finish my trip with a stay in the Drovers Inn and plan on starting in Milngavie (unless anyone has a good suggestion for another starting point that is accessible via public transport)

I've seen reports of some walkers doing the whole West Highland in 3 days and reaching Drovers Inn after 1 day, but they are obviously very dedicated walkers. I've also seen routes that suggest 3 days to get there.

My question is how difficult would I find it to do this in 2 days? I'm only a very occasional hill walker, last year I walked Ben Lomond (but found it a bit of a struggle) and Tinto Hill. Though I do normally go for a 30-45 minute walk each day in my local area. Other than my daily walk I haven't done much exercise since lockdown (used to play five aside football each week). I'm a little bit overweight, but nothing excessive.

Is this a feasible two day walk? And where would be best to stop at end of day 1. Also how hilly is the walk? I gather that starting from Milngavie is fairly flat and eases you in.

All advice/feedback greatly appreciated.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby ScotFinn65 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:21 pm

Based on my own capabilities, it would be on the edge. I also don't rate the early part of the walk (Milngavie to Drovers).

If you really want to finish at the Drovers after 2 days, l would get the train to Bridge of Orchy and walk back the way.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby denfinella » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:36 pm

What about getting a bus to Balmaha to shorten the route? I've walked from Balmaha to the Drovers Inn in a single day and it was OK for me (I wouldn't say I was super fit), so should definitely be fine in two days.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby davekeiller » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:22 pm

I would second ScottFinn's suggestion of approaching from the north.
The West Highland way is mostly relatively flat, and it's about 65km from Milngavie to the drovers. That's 40 miles in old money, so perfectly possible to do in 2 longish days. The difficulty might be in finding somewhere to stay the first night. You would want somewhere about halfway between Drymen and Rowardennan to give two days of roughly equal length.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby AyrshireAlps » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:51 pm

Aye, agree with Scotfinn, get the bus to kingshouse and walk to the Drovers, with a night in Tyndrum in between.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby Navvarr » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:51 pm

I walked from Milngavie to the Hostel at Rowardennan - about 24 miles- in one day -so to then walk on to the Drovers is eminently do able- you'll probably be feeling pretty knackered at that point- but it's certainly not impossible.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby BigTed » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:13 pm

If you found Ben Lomond a struggle then I would suggest Milngavie to the Drovers in 2 days might be achievable but not enjoyable. Unless you are going to train before doing it. Depends how much you want a challenge to be part of it.

Doing Drymen to the Drovers is two even length days stopping at Rowerdennan.

Drymen to Rowardennan: 15 miles/24 km
Rowardennan to Inverarnan: 14 miles/22.5 km

Allowing for the undulating terrain perhaps 6 hours walking each day.

Easy access to Drymen by bus. Or make it 3 days with a Milngavie start.

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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby rgf101 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:22 am

The scenery and the walking will be much more enjoyable doing the North to South routes suggested above. That said, it sounds like fitness is potentially an issue - I'd increase the length of those walks.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby katyhills » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:30 pm

It's certainly doable, but as already said, I don't think it would be particularly pleasant, and it would definitely be worth getting your fitness level raised. Toughening up the feet if nothing else!

I did the section from Beinglas Farm [Inverarnan] to Kinlochleven in two days, stopping at Bridge of Orchy, and it was tough going [around 20-ish miles each day]. I'd already done a fair number of hills, walked very regularly, and was pretty fit, but it still took it's toll.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby calicoshmalico » Mon Apr 26, 2021 6:44 am

Its certainly do-able but both days are 20miles so as long as your fit for it.
Day 1 Milngavie to Balmaha easy enough, you only have Conic hill hill as an obstacle.
Day 2 is the worst day of all in my opinion as the loch shore path is pretty unrelenting, mentally as well as physically.
It's a long way up that loch but if the miles are in the legs then no probs.
To walk 20 miles day after day, be fit and have comfortable footwear.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby Sspaterson » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:24 pm

I've done this twice but I'm pretty fit. It's 20 miles a day. Milngavie to Balmaha was ok but Balmaha to the Drovers is the worst section of the Way in terms of slog. It's up and down and up and down and just knackering. So if you found Ben Lomond a struggle then I'd say you wouldn't enjoy it too much. Better to start from perhaps Drymen and stay one night at Stronachlachar then your last night at the Drovers.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby AspiringHiker » Sun May 02, 2021 7:52 pm

I would second multiple suggestions above to skip Milngavie to Drymen section.

If you are set on West Highland Way, an option is to take train to Tarbet and walk ~10min to the ferry which takes you across the loch to Inversnaid. This way you walk the more difficult boulder section along Loch Lomond while still fresh. You also have regularly interspersed train stations along the route: Crianlarich, Tyndrum, and Bridge of Orchy so you can finish whenever you want. Of the highlights, you get to see all the mountains around Loch Lomond and further north, the carved stone river bed soon after Drover's Inn, and woodland of Crianlarich which has a nice feel to it.

This may be obvious, but if you go this route, consider buying a return train ticket to wherever you plan to end your trip. I've never had issues with station staff letting me out at an earlier stop and Tarbet is unlikely to be staffed anyway.
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Re: How difficult is Minlgavie to Drovers Inn in two days

Postby Scougs » Tue May 04, 2021 10:42 pm

Opinions differ on this subject.

I did this stretch in three days.

Milngavie to Drymen: mostly flat and fairly dull. Long stretch on old railway. I set off from Milngavie between 9 and 10, and was in Drymen by about 3pm.

Drymen to Rowardennan: climb up and over Conic Hill to Balmaha, then a longer than expected slog up good paths on the shores of Loch Lomond, with a surprising amount of up and down hill. Left Drymen at about 9.30 and didn’t get to Rowardennan until just after 6pm.

Rowardennan to the Drovers: utter, utter hell. Scrambling over boulders, up and down rock faces, tree roots, multiple tricky fords at rocky burns. Loads of steep up and downs. If I hadn’t had the help of strangers around me I don’t know how I would have done it. It took me over ten hours.

If you’re not confident of your abilities, I would say that trying to do this in two days will not be enjoyable. The second half of day two will be the toughest bit of the West Highland Way.

Far, far better to do the stretches North of there. You could get the bus to the Drovers, and do Drovers to Bridge of Orchy and Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse. This gives you a glimpse of Glencoe scenery, and puts you on the A82 with a good bus service. You can, of course, do it in reverse.
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