Walk: The Bonnie east Bank o' Loch Lomond

Argyll & Bute / Stirling | Loch Lomond | Full day walk | ★★★

[Loch Lomond from the West Highland Way just north of Ardleish]

25 miles after setting off from the centre of Milngavie, the West Highland Way runs along the full length of Loch Lomond's east bank. You can tackle this wild, intimate section of the trail as a day walk with the help of public transport from Tarbet: a ferry to the start of the hike, and a bus back at the end of the day. With the Inversnaid Hotel midway, a seasonal cafe at Cailness and Scotland's oldest pub (The Drover's Inn) at the end, there are plenty of places to break your journey. You could also check out Rob Roy's Cave en route - this damp slit where the outlaw allegedly hid is far from impressive, but at least you can say you've been there (look out for the letters highlighting the entrance in white paint). As for the rest: don't be fooled into expecting an easy lakeside stroll. Craggy knolls, thousands of tree roots and steep slopes make this an unforgiving zone for unsteady ankles, but spare a thought for through-hikers having to negotiate it all with heavy backpacks! The scenery is superb, though we were less impressed by the amount of discarded rubbish and old camping gear at various points on the route, making some of the banks rather less bonnie...

[The east bank path has stunning views but rocky terrain makes for slow progress]

📌 Walk: The Bonnie east Bank o' Loch Lomond ★★★
There is no direct transport between the start and finish. Park in the main car park at Tarbet, G.R.: NN 320045 ///glance.monkey.servants and take the ferry to Rowardennan (departs 8.45am daily except in winter, booking recommended). Buses return to Tarbet from Inverarnan (roughly hourly, booking recommended). Check times in advance. Start at SYHA Rowardennan jetty, G.R.: NS 359992 ///streaks.decisions.segments. Bus stop on A82 at Inverarnan, G.R.: NN 318184 ///snows.finishers.parks.

▶ 22 km / 14 mi | ▲ 480 m | ⌚ Full day | Tough
Features: Loch Lomond; Rowchoish Bothy; Arklet Falls; Rob Roy's Cave; Doune Bothy
Terrain: Clear path throughout, but often very rough and rocky with a surprising amount of ascent and descent.

Route & map

Start - Rowchoish Bothy - Inversnaid & Arklet Falls - Rob Roy's Cave - Doune Bothy - east side of Cnap Mòr - Beinglas Farm - finish. Route follows West Highland Way.

Route credit: West Highland Way
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On our visit

Wildlife: The smell of wild goats which frequent this area, but none seen! Small birds, huge brown slugs, and a few midges in Tarbet.
Weather: Cloudy with some sunnier periods, temperature in high teens.

Chronological photo guide

[Take the early morning ferry from Tarbet to the walk start at Rowardennan]

[Early morning company]

[Bonnie Banks]

[West Highland Way]

[The east bank path has stunning views but rocky terrain makes for slow progress]

[West Highland Way]

[West Highland Way]

[Good views across the loch to The Cobbler]

[Loch views]

[Rowchoish Bothy]

[Rowchoish Bothy]

[West Highland Way]

[View north to the Arrochar Alps]

[Cailness Burn]

[One of dozens of little bays next to the path]

[West Highland Way]

[Crossing the Arklet Burn]

[Arklet Burn]

[Lower Arklet Falls]

[View from Inversnaid]

[West Highland Way near Rob Roy's Cave]

[View from Rob Roy's Cave]

[Looking up the loch]

[Pollochro Burn]

[West Highland Way]

[Approaching Island I Vow]

[View across to the A82 at Pulpit Rock]

[Descent to Doune Bothy]

[West Highland Way]

[Loch Lomond just north of Ardleish]

[Dragonfly above Inverarnan]


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