Rowardennan’s most notable man-made feature is a car park, marking the end of the road. There’s a hotel and some cabins, but it’s a transitory place, a place to pick up the West Highland Way. You can call in the visitor centre, perhaps, but most people head out along the edge of Loch Lomond.
The Loch is different to any of the lakes in England that I’ve been to. It feels more vast, and is bordered by mountains, snow still settled on top of them. Spring hasn’t yet hit this far north. The water is clear, the bottom of the Loch visible at the shores edge. In places trees are partially submerged by the Loch, the winter weather extending its borders.
It’s far from a wild place, though. Houses sit amongst the trees, a youth hostel too. Outside one of the houses are several cases of bottled water, underneath an honesty box. £1 a bottle. There’s a level of trust there that I’m not used to.
The path is well maintained, leading alongside the Loch, eventually ending up in Fort William, were you to follow it all the way to its conclusion. It’s relatively quiet today, the weather still not yet warm enough to entice any but the hardy out.
We turn back after half an hour and retrace our steps. The road only leads onwards, and we’re not ready to follow it all the way on. Not yet.
For an alternative view of the same walk, go here and see my other half’s thoughts.