The penultimate leg of the walk - for fellow rebels going east to west - is the longest at eighteen miles which, given the lack of peaks, is no problem.
(This is the first time I have ever seen a pub with such a sign. Usually they say the opposite. Shout out to the Kirkhouse Inn, Strathblane whose loos were lovely! I would have stayed for a pint but this was the starting point and I can't help feeling drinking at 10am might not bode well for the hike.)
Ten of the eighteen miles are shared with the West Highland Way which runs from Milngavie (non-Scots might like to know that's pronounced 'Mul-guy' as a shibboleth) to the foot of Ben Nevis at Fort William. We passed a couple of inns/shops catering almost exclusively to hikers it seemed, which was a novelty.
We walked on a Saturday again in order to have the husband drive us to the start, park at the end and then walk back to meet us halfwayish. The West Highland Way was notably busier than previous rural trails and we saw lots of through-hikers with big packs and tents. This made our day hike feel more like a stroll to get an ice-cream from Loch Lomond.
Eventually, the John Muir peels away again and follows country roads for most of the rest of the route.
A deer ran across our path and there was cuckoo-ing everywhere.
There's an unofficial option across farmland but we didn't take it as my son wasn't wearing boots and it was described as boggy even before the previous fortnight of rain.
We met the husband and stopped for lunch by the river.
I am a big fan of Tupperware but I wish the makers of portable food containers would understand the difference between porting something in your car and in your rucksack. I have never found one that is actually watertight. And I like a lot of dressing on my salad.
The sides of the road were absolutely beautiful with spring flowers and uncurling ferns.
And there were horses everywhere.
Our progress was definitely slowed by the need to snuzzle them all.
Eventually we came to Balloch Castle Country Park and Loch Lomond and drove home again, only to return on the Bank Holiday Monday for the final leg.
COMING SOON: John Muir Way Coast to Coast: Balloch to Helensburgh