At last, the true Highlands! Our trail from Inveronan to Crianlarich began by leading us through meadows full of butterflies and gradually widened into a dirt path that snaked along the sloping hillsides. After spending the past few days walking with our heavy packs, our legs had toughened up and adjusted to the burden – we even had enough energy to take a few jump shots at a particularly gorgeous vantage point!
We stopped for lunch on a shady creek bank before crossing under the roadway and climbing into the hills. The path was peppered with sheep and goats, but despite my secret hope, we did not come across a Scottish shepherd in full regalia strolling through the hillsides playing the bagpipes (yes, yes, I knew not to expect that, but you never know!).
The view of these hills struck me as incredibly wild, lonely, and majestic – the essence of the Highlands. It is difficult to capture in a photo how the pearly sunlight dappled with fast moving clouds continuously altered the landscape by highlighting different angles of the hills with light and shadows.
Despite the flat trail, the hard-packed dirt was rough on our feet and since evening was approaching we decided to stop in the village of Crianlarich and continue on to our original destination, Tyndrum, the next day. We wandered down into the village through woods that I mentally christened ‘Little Red Riding Hood Woods’. Any minute I expected to meet enchanted forest creatures or stumble upon a wee white cottage. The hostel was closed when we arrived in town so we chatted with some other travelers, some of whom were in very rough shape after being on the trail all day, then scouted out a local pub for some cider and scones.
The hot showers that night felt incredible, and we ate the pub’s ‘comfort’ food with the relish of people who hadn’t seen a square meal in days. After toasting ourselves with wine for getting this far, we started discussing our plans for our long weekend in Edinburgh!