May 24, 2012
We didn’t get a good night’s sleep, because at about 1 am somebody’s car alarm started going off in the parking lot, which was right under our window. After about 15 or 20 repetitions, somebody finally went out and got the thing shut off. But we still had a lot of walking to do today, so we got up early, had breakfast, packed up, and were out on the trail by 8:10 am.
Once again our route took us through forest along the Caledonian Canal. The way was very pleasant and the temperatures cool. Before long we reached Loch Oich. Our route along this loch consisted partially of an old railway grade and partially of General Wade’s military road from the 18th century. This was fine level walking along the loch and the views through the woods were beautiful. The best part of our Great Glen Way so far.
After Loch Oich we returned to the next section of the canal. We crossed at the Cullochy lock and carried on along the towpath. Today the canal was busier, and it was interesting seeing the different boats as we walked beside the canal. The sun was shining again, but luckily the temperature didn’t seem as high as yesterday. But the towpath seemed to go on forever, and as we neared Fort Augustus, Rosemary was getting very tired. So we decided to eat lunch in a pub rather than eating the food we were carrying. Definitely having only porridge for breakfast is not enough when we have a long day of walking.
So in Fort Augustus we went into The Bothy, a pub and restaurant right beside the canal. We both had tea, the soup of the day (mushroom), and a plate of chips. And we shared an ice-cream for dessert.
Fort Augustus was a nice little place, and would have been a nice place to have stopped for the night. It has a set of six locks plus a swing bridge to get the boats down to the level of Loch Ness, and we spent a few minutes watching the bridge operator open and close the swing bridge before carrying on.
Climbing very steeply out of Fort Augustus, we were lucky that the way was in partial shade. Once again our day would be ending on forestry tracks, so we hoped for more shade than yesterday. Our route took us up, then levelled off, then went up again. This went on for some time so Rosemary developed the technique of walking to the mental mantra of “One step closer…” and this made it easier to get over the hills. Once we reached the height of land we had good views down over Loch Ness. Of course we were on the lookout for Nessie but we didn’t see her!
The afternoon went by quickly, as did the 9 miles from Fort Augustus to Invermoriston. At one point we were passed by a car from the Forestry Commission with two people in it. Then after a couple of minutes it passed us again, going in the opposite direction. And then after another couple of minutes it passed us again, in the original direction. But this time it stopped and the driver said to us “We’re embarrassed that we’ve passed you three times, and Bruce wants me to tell you that I’m the one who is lost, not him.”
Remembering our delay yesterday, we asked if there would be anything like that today. We hadn’t seen any signs, but other hikers had mentioned the possibility. Bruce told us that there had been a washout in the trail, so the Forestry Commission had put in a diversion to get around that. It was a couple of kilometres, he said, but the washout was only a couple of hundred metres long and it wouldn’t be hard to get around it.
When we got there, there was a tape across the trail and a sign telling us about the diversion which was 2.5 miles long! Well, at this point we would have waded through 200 metres of knee-deep cow dung rather than doing that long of a diversion. So we went around the tape and down the washed-out trail. This wasn’t difficult at all, since the trail went directly downhill and it was only the trail surface which had been washed out. (Because it was in a clear-cut.) Walking beside the washed-out bit worked perfectly well.
Arriving at the village at 4:30 pm, we were both pleased that we had made such good time. We stopped at the Invermoriston Arms hotel, in the middle of the village, to make a dinner reservation before heading up the road to the Darroch View B&B. Here we had a lovely room with ensuite bathroom. First order of business was a cup of tea, then we had our showers. Feeling much better we headed out for dinner. Paul had smoked salmon pasta and Rosemary had a rump steak; both meals were very filling so neither of us needed dessert.
Back at the B&B we sat out on the deck talking to the owners. It was a lovely evening and the views were great. Bed time was later tonight than usual, about 10 pm.