The West Highland Way – Day 1

Thursday 26th May 2022 – Milngavie to Drymen (12 miles)

“On the Way”


Twelve of us met at 6am in The Ferry, outside the library. The bus departed in good time at at 6:15am. Two stops in the West End to pick up Godot and Beano, then on to Milngavie.

The rain was falling as we arrived in the car park. We then had to drag our bags to the bag transfer service in the Riverside car park . A damp start, but not unexpected.

It’s the waiting that gets you
Just a small snack, thanks

It was over to the coffee shop for a drink and a snack while we waited for Jock to arrive from Bathgate.

Once gathered, we posed for photographs at the obelisk that marks the start of the Way.

Raining? Of course.
An easy start

By 9:10 am we were on our way. Within the first half mile we had our first casualty as Ashtead decked it, his right boot lace catching the eyelet on his right boot, tripping him up. He fell heavily on his left side, bruising ribs and knee, but otherwise unscathed.

Drama over, we continued on. The weather was showery and brought strong winds. None of the showers lasted long but it meant decisions had to be made about waterproofs. That heralded a series of stops – waterproofs on, followed by waterproofs off, followed by… you get the idea.

Will it, won’t it?
These midges are vicious

Our logo for the Hike is the Phantom Walker – the hiker in the light blue of Prostate Cancer UK. We encountered his Highland counterpart beside the path.


At 11:30, after around 8 miles, we stopped for a coffee at the Beech Tree Inn. It was closed.

It’s May, for goodness’ sake!
Paper flags don’t last in Scotland

Nevertheless, we took the opportunity to grab a spot of lunch. We’d brought some Prostate Cancer UK flags with us to attach to our rucksacks so we could yomp “Para-style” along the Way. They hadn’t survived the first downpour.

The group was strung out quite widely due to different walking abilities. Checkshirt arrived last and was struggling but told us he could cope at his own pace. Had he really put in all the training he’d told us about? He seemed quite happy to stay and speak to some horses in a nearby field as the group moved off.

Club provides assistance
Beautifully green after the rain

The rest of the day’s walk was straightforward for the rest of us – a good way of preparing for what lay ahead.

Del Boy and Godot
Radar, Clint and Balham consider their options

The first of us arrived in Drymen some 4 hrs 50 minutes after departure as the clock turned 2pm.

A gentle stroll to finish
A successful start

The hotel rooms weren’t ready so we adjourned to The Clachan Inn for a drink.

The first pint of the day went down smoothly.

You should have seen the artwork!

Around 50 minutes later the next 6 arrived having taken a detour of a couple of miles, which required backtracking. The detour was blamed on Elton, though this was disputed.

(Ed: Pud and Elt had decided on the detour. A vote was taken during dinner as to the reason for it. Some said we were lost, and others said it was to look at some ancient Celtic artwork. Your Editor had the casting vote. The artwork was delightful. 😉)

The hotel rooms beckoned and the bar slowly emptied as The Brothers headed to shower and change and take some rest after such an early start.

The live tracker which we were using showed Checkshirt some distance away and it was after 4 pm before he rolled into The Clachan. We were thankful that he’d arrived without mishap, but concern was already growing in the group about his pace given the distances coming up.

Godot couldn’t believe the results

Most left the pub after two drinks. Godot stayed and thoroughly relaxed. By dinner time he had turned into Father Jack again (his original nickname before he started turning up late for training hikes) as the results of Scotscraig Golf Club’s summer league match came in. The language is unrepeatable here. These youngsters just don’t know how to behave. 😉

After finishing his dinner he disappeared to bed and the place quietened down.

Fed and watered, the Brothers retired to bed to recover and be ready for Friday’s 15 miles. It had been a long day since we had left The Ferry.

Day 1 Details: