Scotland Day 15 - Rest day in Drymen
I started today feeling like I didn't need a rest day, and I'd rather be walking. But that's a better way round than the opposite. It's the problem with booking everything in advance; there's no flexibility if you're feeling more or less tired than expected. But seeing how congested the accommodation is round here, I'm glad that I know that I've planned it all, and have got a bed at the end of every day.
It's been good being in this little village and having a chance to get a feel for it. Drymen has a population of 840, and used to be a stopping off point for drovers of Highland cattle. The Clachan arms, where I will be having dinner again tonight, claims to be the oldest licensed pub in Scotland, since 1734. It's also said that Rob Roy's sister was the first licensee. And Billy Connolly lived here too. Not at the same time.
It feels like a vibrant place, even during the quiet period during the day, without the throngs of tourists that arrive off the WHW and the Rob Roy Way every afternoon. I caught up with village life through reading the newsletter over breakfast. There's lots going on, with clubs of all types, a community cinema, a thriving agricultural tradition, and there is bagpiping on the green every Thursday.
I had breakfast in one cafe, coffee in another, and spent a chunk of time in the excellent Drymen library.
For a place so small to have a library so big is fantastic. I had a chat with the librarian whilst waiting for the systems to warm up this morning. It was donated to the community in the 1970s on a twenty five year term. 50 something years later, it's still a library, maintained by Stirling Council. As I sat at one of their computers sorting out choir tour admin, I was a fly on the wall to observe the care the librarian took over a couple of more mentally fragile people that came in, plus there was someone else who assisted an elderly lady with a benefit claim form. Children came in to get books and be awarded certificates for reading over the holidays. And then amazingly I was asked by name if I'd like a coffee, as she was making one. I felt temporarily part of the place, and it felt lovely.
Other than popping in there for a couple of sessions before and after lunch, I really have rested. About the most energetic thing I did was to fix the Velcro on my GPS rucksack strap, using the sewing kit that the B and B staff went out to buy me specially. It contained two needles, and the straps were so thick that I managed to break both, resorting to a Heath Robinson affair of bent safety pins .
I've also checked routes, adjusted a crazy long day later on in the trip to make it a bit more manageable, and taken advice on the best way to spend tomorrow. If it's not too rainy (the forecast is grim for the next few days) I might cut out a bit of the WHW and go to visit Buchanan castle, and also perhaps fit in a boat trip to Inchcailleich island, which sounds fun!
I have previously not given the run down on my evening meal on a rest day - but I've had requests that I do so. I think that's the most popular bit!
Local tipple: bottle of Erdinger
Dinner again at the Clachan Arms - excellent.
Scampi and fries with mushy peas. Definitely less appetite with not having walked, but I cleared my plate anyway, I'll need the calories tomorrow.