West Highland Way Travel-Lite
Rowardennan to Inverarnan – 13 3/4 miles (22.25 km)
The stretch between Rowardennan and Inversnaid on the West Highland Way is the roughest part, but it is a great stretch of the highland footpath. There is a lot of scrambling over, under and between huge crags. There are sections of rough shore-line, and leafy walks through the woodlands. Sometimes the path is very narrow and the rocks drop away to the dark water below.
Once you have gone through the stretch of the pathway through the conifer plantation, you will see the Rowchoish bothy. This is a stone built structure with a good, sound roof and it was restored by the Scottish Rights of Way Society, with the help of the Forestry Commission. It is a memorial to William Ferris, a pioneer in the Scottish outdoor movements.
The path continues to twist and turn, dip and climb to give you pleasant views over the loch. Along this stretch you can see glimpses of Ben Arthur, know as ‘The Cobbler’, and on a clear day, many peaks of the route can be identified.
On from Rowchoish bothy, the footpath emerges from the trees, crosses the Cuilness burn by a wooden footbridge and comes into a open area with a shingly shore, and further along up the slope to the right, is Cuilness farm.
Arrival at Inversnaid you cross the wooden footbridge above the Arklet falls, and descend into the grounds of the hotel. The Arklet Falls and the Snaid burn can be anything from a trickle of water to a raging torrent, which is common in the West Highlands. The Inversnaid hotel is over 150 years old and was originally owned by the Duke of Montrose. It is positioned in the break of the hills on the east shore of the Loch Lomond.
In the stretch between Rowardennan to Inversnaid you can sometimes see a glimpse of the Loch Lomond wild goats. The Loch Lomond goats are long established in this area, and are said to have given protection to Robert the Bruce after they had lain down in front of a cave in which he was hiding from his enemies. There is a famous cave along from here called Rob Roy’s cave. It is also believed to be the shelter of Robert the Bruce, after his defeat at the battle of Dail Righ in 1306.
Heading on, and making your way through the boulders the size of very large buildings, you come across a burn running down over steep slabs of rock and into deep waters of the loch below. There is a steep path which goes away up the side of the burn, to cross a footbridge and descends down on the other side.
The going gets easier after this, coming out on to a little shingly shore, before winding over the hill to the old buildings of Doune. This is a beautiful location, above the loch. The walking is open and downhill to Ardleish farm, which marks the end of the Loch Lomond section of the West Highland Way. The path follows the slope up to Ardleish farm.
A lovely high walk takes you past Dubh Lochan (the little black loch) and at the highest point, the peaks of Beinn Lui, Beinn Oss, and Beinn Dubhcraig (pronounced Doochray) are clearly visible. After this the walk takes you through a tree area, to the flat ground that leads to Beinglas burn.
After crossing the footbridge, follow the footpath to the bridge over the River Falloch. The Inverarnan House hotel is about a quarter of a mile south of the bridge. A couple of miles down the road at Ardlui on the West Highland Way there is a railway station, a campsite, a shop and another hotel for refreshments and accommodation.