DAY 1 Friday 19 Sept

Milngavie to Drymen 12 miles

The salmon and egg breakfast deserved an A+, but the Scottish fried was mediocre. Best Foot Forward was an excellent b&b, large and well furnished rooms, most attentive host. Met a New Zealand couple at breakfast with a 12 month old girl carried in a backpack. Ahh, another baby on the trail. Couldn’t get off till 9:25, getting Bray and Chris sorted out. Dropped bags at the Travel-lite van in town, photos at the obelisk which marked the official start of the West Highland Way. We are on the trail by 9:50, a little late. The day is rainy and cool. We are excited as we step from town, over the bridge and into Mugdock Wood.

Obelisk in Milngavie, start of West Highland Way

Easy, pleasant walk through the park-like wood and over low hills. Bray mostly sleeping, woke only to eat (breast -feeding with a milk powder supplement). We stopped at Glengoyne Distillery, a short path off the WHW. We decided the one hour tour would take too long, so we chatted with the shop man and checked out the goods. He saw we weren’t leaving soon, so he poured us two tastes, a 17 yr old single malt and a 24 yr old aged in sherry barrels (my favorite). Its amazing how many types of barrels they use for aging. Peter and Naomi bought two of the little tourist bottles. We ate lunch in an outside area where Bray could stretch out and play.

Glengoyne Distillery

Where the juice cooks

Farm sign for workers

More easy walking into Drymen and our booking, Elmbank B&B. Weather has mostly cleared. Nice, large en-suite room for Naomi, Chris and Bray, but Peter and I had a tiny room just big enough for two twin beds but had an adjacent lounge and mini-kitchen. Share bath with the adjacent single room. I looked for a phone in the village to call home, no luck! Checked out the local pub, Clachans Inn, “oldest pub in Scotland.” Great menu, good ale selection and tables available in the restaurant side, but will fill up in an hour. Back to Elmbank to rustle up the gang (its 6 pm), but can’t get them going for two hours. They go out to Spar grocery for tomorrow’s lunch and snacks.

Clachans is very crowded now, so we wait in the bar side where everyone was very friendly. Chris and Naomi were concerned about bringing Braylon into a pub, but were relieved to see two other babies, even a dog. The place was rocking (Friday night) and we all had a great time while waiting for a table.

Clachan Inn at the bar

The four guys at Clachan's

Ale was Old Speckled Hen which I had last year on Offa’s Dyke. Chris doesn’t drink alcohol, so he gets a very nice iced tea. It took about an hour to get a table but it was worth it. Dinner was grilled salmon, kabobs in special sauce w/rice, malaysian lamb w/rice and rack of lamb plus a plate of haggis . Surprisingly, the haggis was excellent, much like scrapple which my mother used to make using innards the hog butcher throws away (lungs, etc.) cooked with corn meal. Sticky toffee pudding shared by all, a new dessert for these Californians and they loved it. I can’t recommend Clachans high enough, no negatives.

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