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The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way


Postby andrewl7642 » Sun May 11, 2014 10:07 pm

Route description: Three Lochs Way

Date walked: 03/05/2014

Time taken: 3 days

Distance: 54 km

Ascent: 320m

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Friday 2 May 2014

Four of us met at The Horse Shoe Bar in Glasgow on Friday afternoon.
We visited a couple more bars and had some food before catching the train to Balloch where the walk starts.

Having no idea where we were going to camp on the first night, the best idea was simply to head into a bar in Balloch, get tanked up and forget that we were camping.

The DogsHouse Bar seemed as good a place as any, as we ended up spending most of the night there before stumbling our way out with our rucksacks, having no clue where we were going to end up!

Balloch Country Park became our campsite for the night, two of us by the river where the ground was boggy and the other two, further into the woods where the ground was dryer and where we could be out of view from the public eye. (I am pleased to annouce that I was part of the latter two!) :D
It was mostly dry through the night with some light rain.

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Happy Campers by the river, includes one broken tent pole and a wet sleeping bag!

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Balloch Country Park by the River, which flows into Loch Lomond

Saturday 3 May 2014

Up bright and early (and very hungover) we re-grouped and got some supplies at the local corner shop before heading down to the start of the walk by Loch Lomond Pier. My mate's buddy decided he'd had enough already and made his way back to the train station, leaving just three of us.

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View from the start of Loch Lomond at Balloch

Leaving Balloch behind, we head for the Hills, towards our first port of call, Helensburgh. It stayed fairly dry in the morning with some light showers later on.

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Leaving Balloch Behind

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Fairwell Loch Lomond , we will catch up with you later

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Heading off on our Adventure

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Heading into the woods

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Up the muddy slopes - didn't like this bit!

It was a trek over some open hills, across some moorland and through some woodland, including a steep muddy hill and a deforested area before a long dwindling descent down into Helensburgh, arriving in time for lunch.

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Descending to Helensburgh

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First Views of Helensbugh and Gareloch, the second of the Three Lochs

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A well earned lunch at Wetherspoons

After a well earned rest and an enjoyable lunch at Weatherspoons, we set off towards Gairlochhead, amid lots of Hills. The best way to deal with the hills is just to think about the amount of calories you're losing without having to go to the gym.

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Heading away from Helensburgh and uphill towards Gairlochhead.

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Looking back on Helensburgh

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Watcha staring at Mr?? Moooooooove On!

As we head away from Helensburgh we passed some Woods, farmland and moorland before following a minor road towards Gairlochhead, taking us onto the American Road which surrounds the MOD military training area.

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Entering dangerous territory!

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Safe to enter as long as the red lights are not flashing.

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first views of Gairlochhead

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Once arriving in Gairlochhead the next task was to find somewhere to camp, but not before a drink or two at The Anchor Inn. Also phone charging time before heading to camp.

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A pint or two later and after speaking to Anchor Inn staff about suitable places to camp, (apparently none) we head over to the river at the other side of the loch, which was pretty much a perfect little location for a wild camp, although the local kids playing nearby could have been a little more welcoming instead of shouting " happy camping, hope you get p*ssed on!". Charming!

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Nice quiet spot by the river, weren't bothered by anyone.

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Me standing by my Banshee 200

It was a peaceful night, it rained through most of it but I slept like a log since I never got much sleep the previous night. It wasn't long before first light and we got up and had some Breakfast (Porridge & Coffee) before packing up again, making our way about 9am and spotting a wild Bear across the river! It looked hungry, we threw it a fish and made a run for it!

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haha, ok I admit there was no Bear ! :lol:

We went to the village shop for supplies then made our way back up to the american road, we still had a good few miles to walk through the military training area, before our first views of Loch Long.

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Gairlochhead Village shop

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Shelter cabin in the military training area.

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Making out way through the smog, our views of Loch Long were to be non-existent , the mist was thick and it rained for most of the day.

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One of the many slelter huts for use by the military, camping in these is not allowed but you could easily get away with it, so long as there is no training in progess and you arrive late, leave early :wink:

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Sheltering from the rain

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After a long hilly viewless walk in heavy rain and mist, we finally arrived at the village of Arrochar by Loch Long.

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The best view we had due to mist, combined with the rain spoiled the day.

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The village of Arrochar, gateway to the Arrochar Alps

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Loch Long from Arrochar

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Loch Long

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Loch Long from the opposite side

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We head to the Ben Arthur Bothy to put our feet up, certainly the most luxurious bothy I have ever encountered!
We had a few drinks and a meal before deciding to retire for the day due to unforseen RAIN!! ...and pure laziness.

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While in the bar, we got chatting to one of the local B & B owners who offered us beds for £25.00 per person. Having no idea where we were going to camp that night we decided some Bed & Breakfast would be in our best interest. We could dry our clothes, shower and just chill for the rest of the evening.

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Cheating by going to a B&B! But what a relief it was.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Went downstairs for a fantastic cooked Breakfast plus Cereal, Toast, Coffee, Orange Juice... the works! Great start to the day, and I must use this opportunity to give the Rowantreebank a mention. It wasn't the best accommodation I have encountered, the bathroom light didn't work, the ceiling was stained, but it was still better than a wet tent. (and the breakfast made up for its faults)
http://www.rowantreebank.co.uk

After breakfast we took a walk over to Arrochar & Tarbet station to see Pete off, he had to leave us, expecting to have completed the walk the day before. There were now just the two of us with the last 6 miles to Inveruglas to complete.

We head off from Arrochar & Tarbet station into the woods taking us round the outskirts of Arrochar with some fine views of Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) and the Arrochar Alps.

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Picnic Bench looking up to the Arrochar Alps

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Loch Long through the trees

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Heading to Inveruglas

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Views of (Ben Arthur) The Cobbler looking back

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Loch Lomond re-appearing on the horizon

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Inversnaid Hotel across the other side of Loch Lomond

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Reaching Inveruglas and The Bonny Banks

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Inveruglas Pier

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Room with a view

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The cafe at Inveruglas Pier

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Sloy Power Station

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Inveruglas - We made it!

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After our visit to Inveruglas Pier, we walked 6 miles back to Arrochar & Tarbet station, plus an extra 2 miles to Tarbet Pier where we camped by Loch Lomond. We waited for it to start getting darkish before pitching the tents so we didn't offend any locals.

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Views from Tarbet Pier

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looking across Loch Lomond to the West Highland Way between Rowardennan and Inversnaid.

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Tarbet Pier after hours

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Ben Lomond in the background

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Peaceful camp out by Loch Lomond, some grand views, couldn't ask for a better spot!

In the morning my mate caught the train from Arrochar & Tarbet Station back to Glasgow while I caught the Waterbus across Loch Lomond to Rowardennan where my plan was to join the West Highland Way, where I would reach Fort William by the following Sunday and head home on the Monday. Unfortunately due to horrendous rain, I got as far as Tyndrum before calling it a day, catching the next bus and heading home on the Wednesday afternoon/evening.

I was so glad to be home, out of the rain, although now I am finding myself very bored again, eager for my next adventure, roll on June....

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Catching the Waterbus over to the West Highland Way at Rowardennan 8)

photo gallery here>
https://get.google.com/albumarchive/100408387173570597610/album/AF1QipMyQHG2wYqNjOcIIPM-vlDN0pD1jPuIyKh6QqlU

Hope you enjoyed the report... next time... White Mounth Munros!
Last edited by andrewl7642 on Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:15 pm, edited 5 times in total.
andrewl7642
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby Gordie12 » Tue May 13, 2014 8:51 pm

Great report - had heard of this trail but really didn't know anything about it.

At the military area, if the red lights were flashing or the flag was flying - was there a detour??

And I've got to ask, what was in the blue plastic bag?????????????
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby Backpacker » Wed May 14, 2014 8:29 am

Gordie12 wrote:Great report - had heard of this trail but really didn't know anything about it.

At the military area, if the red lights were flashing or the flag was flying - was there a detour??

And I've got to ask, what was in the blue plastic bag?????????????


The detour is along the A814 then up Tulloch Road towards Glen Douglas arms depot, however, there is a sheep crawl under the railway and a very, very faint path which brings you up the other side of the firing range. Most people would miss this though
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby Gordie12 » Wed May 14, 2014 8:52 am

Thanks Backpacker.
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby Backpacker » Wed May 14, 2014 9:07 am

Gordie12 wrote:Thanks Backpacker.


Just had a look at the GPS planner, the sheep crawl is at about NS237936 once underneath head E/NE towards the track, this will bring you out at the other side of the firing range
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby andrewl7642 » Wed May 14, 2014 10:32 am

Thanks for the useful info Backpacker.

As for what was in the blue bag... you'll have to wait til next time to find out! :lol:
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby Backpacker » Wed May 14, 2014 10:43 am

andrewl7642 wrote:Thanks for the useful info Backpacker.

As for what was in the blue bag... you'll have to wait til next time to find out! :lol:


No worries
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby Wanderlust7 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:30 pm

Thanks for sharing your report. I hope to do it next month in 2 days overnighting in the Anchor Inn or similar in Garelochead and then up to the top of Loch Lomond to get the stagecoach back to Balloch where I'll park my car. Any thoughts, advice? I will be going it alone.
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby andrewl7642 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:31 am

My only advice is make sure you get a couple of nice clear days without any mist. The rain and mist is what spoiled it for me, also too many hills! Worth the hike though if you do happen to get a nice couple of days, bonny views along Gairloch, Loch Long and Loch Ness. Should be able to complete it in 2 days but not sure when the last bus passes through Inveruglas, maybe should check that. Enjoy :D
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Re: The Three Lochs Way to The Wet Highland Way

Postby nick70 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:15 pm

Hi Andrew, excellent report and very informative. I am thinking of doing this next March. The wild camp spot that you mention at Garelochhead, do you have to deviate far from route to find this?

My plan would be to wild camp there first night (if a suitable spot can be found) then either wild camp in Arrochar or use the camp site (if I can't find suitable wild camp spot) the second night.

My third day I would do the final few miles to Inveruglas and then return to Arrochar station for Fort William train back to Glasgow.

Any pointers you could give would be much appreciated. :D
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