The town of Drymen will not be on the average traveler’s itinerary when visiting Scotland. Still the name of the town will ring a bell to those who have put on their hiking boots and have hiked the West Highland Way. At the end of the first stage, the route nearly touches the town of Drymen. Eventhough Drymen isn’t exactly on the West Highland Way, many hikers go off-road and spend the first night in one of the hostels in the small town.
The village of Drymen is situated near the hills of Campsie Fells. The closest tourist attraction is Loch Lomond, Scotland’s largest inland stretch of water. For this reason, some travelers consider Drymen as a good base to explore Loch Lomond and its surroundings. In Drymen you can rent bicycles to cycle the Loch Lomond Cycleway. The village itself has a charming and peaceful atmosphere.
Our visit to Drymen was nothing more than a stop during our hike from Milgavie to Fort William. Before putting up our tent in the nearby Garadhban Forest, we decided to visit Drymen to kill some time. Just before we reached the center of Drymen we ran into an elderly couple we had a conversation with (something we would have a lot the next few days since we were hiking the West Highland Way while wearing kilts). ‘So great you are doing this hike while wearing Scottish kilts.”, the woman said. “But aren’t you afraid of the midges?” We had to confess that midges were a big concern to us but we were willing to risk it. The notorious type of mosquitos are considered as the biggest threat possible to ruining your holiday. Even more than Scottish weather. We told her we were prepared for the midges since we had bought Smidge, the number one midge repellent in Scotland. “Ooh, don’t you be cruel to our midges”, her husband said, with a sarcastic tone making it clear he has had some terrible experiences with the creatures as well. ‘They ruined many of my hiking holidays’, he told us. ‘During summer months, midges are a real plague.’ He told us that one morning he was eating his cereal and when he was not looking for just a second, midges were all over his bowl.
Still, despite the terrorising midges, they still believe the Scottish Highlands are one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Sure the weather can get really, midges will bite you till your legs are red, but charming villages like Drymen make you forget those negative experiences. “On blue sky days like today, Drymen, is truly a superb place to be.” And for the hikers? Apparently the elderly couple owns the small village shop so they are quite pleased with the many hikers making their detour to Drymen before continuing the West Highland Way. “They love to share their experiences during hiking, and we love hearing them.”