Category Archives: Loch Lomond and Trossachs

The Drovers Inn to Doune Bothy, Loch Lomond

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Total distance – 12 kilometres

Ascent – 300 metres

Walking conditions – Good, well defined footpath. No difficulties

Time required – Around 3.5 to 5.5 hours

Nearest town – Crianlarich

When I was a teenager, I somehow managed to convince one of my friends to accompany me on the West Highland Way. With no tent and minimum equipment the plan was to get from Milngavie to Doune Bothy by the end of the first day. We didn’t make it. At around 11pm, whilst sliding and falling about in a pitch black, rain-sodden Rowardennan Forest we opted to huddle together and wait for daylight. When daylight finally came we found that we were no more than 300 metres from our objective of Doune Bothy. We dried ourselves off in Doune Bothy, went for a sleep, got the boat across to Ardlui, and then went home. In hindsight it was a predictably disastrous first attempt at the West Highland Way and I still smile when I think about it. Similarly the walk from Inverarnan to Doune Bothy also makes me smile. Not least because it gives me a good excuse to visit the Drover.  

Park at the Drover and walk north for approximately 400 metres, then turn right over the bridge. Turn right again and simply follow the West Highland Way footpath south for 5 Km until you reach Doune Bothy. Doune Bothy is easily recognisable as at any given time there is likely to be at least one weary but cheerful hiker with a large rucksack sitting down eating a bar of chocolate. Sample the ambience, then turn around and walk back. It’s as simple as that.  

There’s a really good viewpoint just before the footpath drops down to Ardleish on the way to Doune Bothy. We always stop there for a picnic and photos. Don’t eat too much because the portions at the Drover are huge. Please don’t be scared off by the bear at the door. Even the ghosts are friendly. The Drover is always well worth a visit.

The Drover to Doune Bothy

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Duncryne Hill, Gartocharn, Loch Lomond

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Total distance – 1.1 kilometres

Ascent – 88 metres

Walking conditions – Good well defined footpath but can be muddy in places. No difficulties.

Time required – Around 1 to 1.5 hours

Nearest town – Balloch

I don’t know how many times over the past 20 years or so I’ve passed through Gartocharn. I was aware of a small hill close to the village but thought nothing more. My apathy towards this little gem changed when I was looking for new walking routes suitable for my children aged 2 and 4. What a fantastic mini expedition! Make sure you’ve got a camera for this one.

Driving from Balloch take the right turn at the House of Darrach restaurant and park at the foot of the hill. Follow the clearly marked path straight up the 88 metre ascent through a forest, then a patch of muddy, open ground, and finally winding up the steeper slope of the hill. No more than 20 minutes after leaving the car you’ll find yourself nearing the top. As you leave the trees behind and the ground levels off you will have a 360 degree panorama and one of the best views across Loch Lomond. This little dumpling even has its own trig point! Return by the same route.

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