gmhTODAY 13 gmhToday March April 2017 - Page 96

Special Moments • Coming over Conic Hill and getting our first glimpses of Loch Lomond, and for those slower hikers, as the mist cleared, magnificent views of the chain of islands as we descended into Balmaha. • The lush green ferns covering the banks, the blooming purple heather, the brilliant red mushrooms along the path to Rowardennan as were went up the East side of Loch Lomond. • The difficult, but picturesque trail along Loch Lomond from Rowardennan to Inverarnan taking us over rocks, up ladders, across bridges, by numerous waterfalls, streams and through peat covered forests. Rob Roy’s Cave, “honesty snack and drink” bars, and Bothys (old stone buildings restored to provide hiker’s shelter) provided other points of interest. • The memorable Rannoch moors where we trekked in rain most of the day. The bleak landscape with water coming out of every crevice, and the broad smiles on everyone’s faces as we took in the experience and were loving it! • Blue skies and sunshine, when they came, were especially glorious – a gift really. • The stone walls, sheep grazing on their knees, thick forests, rushing wide rivers, long valleys as we hiked from Inverarnan to Tyndrum. • Watching the trains (the same ones that would return us to Glasgow) pass us by as we went through the pass and traversed the scenic valley dominated by the craggy slopes of Beinn Dorain mountain on our way to Bridge of Orchy. • The switchbacks and steep climb out of Kingshouse over the zig-zag trail known as the “Devil’s Staircase,” and the slow, long descent with spectacular mountain views into the charming village of Kinlochleven. • 96 Our last day of 16 miles through high mountain valleys, along an old military road, beautiful streams, picturesque lakes, by remnants of logged-out forests, and most dramatic, the first glimpse of the majestic Ben Nevis. Great Britain’s tallest mountain, it loomed over us as we made those final miles into Fort Williams. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MARCH/APRIL 2017