West Highland Way Section 2 – Drymen to Rowardennan via Balmaha
The West Highland Way finally hits some highlands, if only the 300m Conic Hill! It’s also the start of the legendarily lengthy Loch Lomond section.
Distance: 22.5 km
Ascent: 560 m
Time: 7 hours
Start and Finish: Drymen to Rowardennan
Cafe, the Oak Tree Inn, village shop and accommodation in Balmaha. There’s a Youth Hostel, Bunkhouse and the Rowardennan Hotel and Clansman Bar at Rowardennan. Camping is available at the Rowardennan Youth Hostel or a permit for “wild camping” can be bought for £3 per night at Lochan Maol Dhuinne here. There’s also a campsite at Cashel between Balmaha and Rowardennan.
Keep an eye out for:
The view from Conic Hill and the remains of a crannog, an ancient loch dwelling, near Strathcashel Point.
There’s a regular bus service between Drymen and Balmaha, making it possible to base yourself here for 2 nights and returning using the bus (the no 309). Confirm times using https://www.travelinescotland.com.
West Highland Way Guidebooks:
Scottish Highland Guidebooks:
Businesses on this section of the West Highland Way:
West Highland Way Section 2 – Drymen to Rowardennan via Balmaha Details
The second section of the West Highland Way starts to live up to it’s name by bringing you closer to the Highlands and to Loch Lomond. Initially, this slightly tougher section sets off from Drymen towards some plantation walking in Garadhban Forest, for a steady start to the day. This initial section is around 7km long.
The West Highland Way finally arrives at some hills as Conic Hill. Take in the view of Loch Lomond, and realise that you’ll be walking along the Loch for the next day and a half. From Conic Hill, the WHW descends into Balmaha, a favourite with tourists and walkers alike. This is the perfect spot to rest as it’s around the days’ half way spot.
NOTE. Late April / early May is the lambing season and Sections of Conic Hill are off-bounds to dogs and a waymarked diversion will be in place.
The final part of this section takes you along the shores of Loch Lomond. A short diversion to the Crannog at Strathcashel Point is worth the diversion. The day ends at Rowardennan which has a hotel (with bar), a Youth Hostel and Bunkhouse. You can also get the Cruise Loch Lomond ferry from here to Luss, but doesn’t offer any extra overnight options as it only goes first thing in the morning.
The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Wild Camping Ban
The section from Balmaha to Rowardennan is part of The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park wild camping ban. The camping ban is in force between March and September (inclusive). It’s important to not that there’s no wild camping available at Rowardennan. There are spots a few kilometres outside the hamlet at Lochan Maol Dhuinne for which permits can be booked.
More information on the Loch Lomond Wild Camping Ban and how to book a camping permit can be found on the official Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Wild Camping page. The map detailing the wild camping ban area is here.