Day 1 - Saturday 21/10/06 11 miles
Milngavie to Dryman

We caught the first morning train from Tyndrum station which was only minutes walk from the campsite. Our adventure had begun.

The train journey was wonderful, with beautiful views of varying countryside. At first an ethereal mist hung over the hills and the views of silvery Loch Lomond provided a glimpse of what lay ahead. Further down the line we dropped down into thickening mist until emerging by an overcast Loch Long, dark Gareloch and showery Firth of Clyde. Two changes and 2 Ĺ hours later we arriver at Milngavie, just before lunch time. With heavy packs, we headed out of the station and down Milngavieís pedestrianised high street pausing for a caramel slice from Greggs bakers and photo of us by the large stone marking the start of the West Highland Way.

Milngavie, the start of our walk
Several other people were following the same route, all wearing walking boots and carrying rucksacs so we didnít feel too self conscious walking down the townís bustling highstreet, wearing full walking kit. The Way quickly leaves the high street and leads through parkland to the open countryside of Strathblane between the Kilpatrick Hills and the Campsie Fells.

Strathblane
Although we didnít appreciate it at the time, this provided a gentle introduction to the walk with easy, level paths and very little rain. Progress was good on the first day; we arrived at our Drymen campsite earlier than expected and still in daylight - just. The first and last mile or two were tiring as we had not yet adjusted to carrying our packs; would we manage the 96 miles to Fort William? At the campsite, our tent went up fast as the rain started coming down and darkness fell. A group of explorer scouts on a three day expedition arrived at the same time as we did, shortly followed by two cars containing the groupís leaders and all their camping gear. Expeditioning the easy way.

The "Thousand Mile" socks werenít living up to their blister free guarantee and added to general aches from the walk and heavy packs. After enjoying a cordon-bleu meal cooked in the shelter of the campsites barn, we curled up, cosy in our sleeping bags to play a game of top trump cards by torchlight while the rain washed the outside of the tent. By half past seven we were in bed and ready to sleep.


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