Day 6 -9 on the Scottish National Trail

Day 6

I have a few hours before getting to Edinburgh and there’s a landslide along the river, so I have to find a way around it.
I find a way that’s only a couple kilometers longer. Not too bad.
I actually don’t stop in Edinburgh.
I’ve been there before, love the city and would love to spend some more time there, but I’m planning on taking a zero in Glasgow.
I’ve never been there, so it will be nice to have a look around, and it’s just easier logistically too.
I’m flying out of Edinburgh, so I’ll spend some time there then.

Being so close to the city, you actually don’t feel at all like in an urban area.
The trail follows a river, and once you leave town, you follow the Union canal for a looooong time.
I’m actually not done with it yet, I found a spot for the tent in a forest by the canal.

There’s been a drizzle with cold wind going on and off all day, but nothing too bad.
Though it looks a bit rough up North, and I’ll be doing a flip-flop going up there in a few days…

Day 7

Well, the Union canal is a long one!
I’m still following it all day long and tomorrow too.
It’s actually pretty cool to follow, especially since I thought this section between Edinburgh and Glasgow would be either urban or on backcountry roads.
It’s great that they managed to keep that section off road.

I walk passed the pretty impressive wheel of Falkirk.
It’s basically a giant wheel at the end of the canal, that operates as a rotating elevator for boats…

I’ll be arriving in Glasgow tomorrow.
My plan was to take a zero the day after and then take a bus to meet with my friend Gil and Peter, a friend of his, at Loch Cluarnie, up North.
But the thing is, Scotland might be small, but it takes forever to go somewhere and I would arrive way too late.
Luckily Peter can give me a ride the day after tomorrow in the afternoon, so I’ll do that and visit Glasgow another time.

Day 8

I have only 20km/12 miles to walk today, walking in the the countryside East of Glasgow.
Going through a couple of golf courses under some brief but intense showers.
That’s what’s great about the weather in Scotland, as the saying goes, “if you don’t like it, just wait 5mn.”

I arrive in Milngavie, from where I can get a short bus ride to Glasgow.
Its also the Southern terminus of the most famous trail in Scotland, the West Highland Way and there’s actually a solid chance that this will also be my finishing point on the SNT, depending on how I manage my flip-flop.

Sometimes town time can be a hassle, and it takes me quite a while and a trip on the other side of town to do my laundry.
Not much time left to explore today, so I decide to spend the evening watching a movie at the cinema.
Which is always my favorite thing to do when in town on a thru-hike.
And as much as I hate Marvel movies with a passion, I’m a big Sam Raimi fan, so went to see the new Dr Strange movie.
Was alright.

Day 9

Today I’m meeting Peter at 3pm, so
I have till then to explore a bit the city.
Then I meet Peter, who is driving all the way to Ullapool, as it will be the finishing point of their hike with Gil.
Then, him and his dog have to hitch all the way to our meeting point tomorrow.

Though it doesn’t look far on the map, it’s actually quite a drive.
But what a drive.
It’s absolutely spectacular and I can’t wait to be back in the area on foot.
And even though it rains and it’s foggy, I have to say, the Highlands look good in that weather.
Peter drops me at a very cool hostel by Loch Ness, from where I’ll hitch tomorrow.

This is going to be my first ever flip-flop.
I’m not a fan of the idea of flip-floping for many reasons, cost, logistics, and mainly because I like to see the landscape changing as I walk.
But this time it’s a no-brainer.
I met Gil, an Israeli hiker, in 2015 on the Te Araroa, we bumped into each other a few times before finishing at the same time.
Then when I hiked the Israel National Trail in 2017, I of course visited him.
Turned out he knew a lot about the trail as he worked on marking it and also hiked it with a Google camera.
So that will be awesome to meet again here.

Funny thing is, as we were emailing each other for the first time in a while, we realised that we’d be hiking in Scotland the exact same month!

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