Thursday 31st October – Great Glen Way, with John & Richard
18.72 miles … 1,188′ ascent … 40,347 steps … 5 hours 58 minutes
We were very impressed with the accommodation at the Great Glen Hostel. John, Richard and I left Fiona to have a rare lie in and drove to our starting point for the day at Laggan Locks. Although it was dry and the forecast was good for the day, there was very poor visibility and thick mist over the canal and river.
Initially we walked through forest, where it was quite warm, but once out in the open it was gloves weather – very cold but still. Again the going underfoot was excellent along the canal and then we continued along the dismantled railway line (which was hardly ever used), and the line of General Wade’s Military Road.
We met nobody for 3 hours, until approaching Fort Augustus when we came across a barge eerily chugging along in the mist and a delightful family of 4 from Leeds, cycling along the same route.
John & Richard were pleased to reach Fort Augustus for a coffee stop after 4 hours plus of walking. The locks for the canal leading to Loch Ness were having some work done to them so they didn’t look as spectacular as usual.
John and Richard stayed in Fort Augustus until Fiona collected them, while I pushed on through the forest above Loch Ness for a couple more hours to Invermoriston (Strava shows my walk today in two halves, am and pm… ). John and Richard picked me up in Invermoriston in the car. After excellent service and coffee at the Invermoriston Cafe we returned to our accommodation for the night with Libby Grey. Fiona has known Libby all her life and spent every summer staying with Libby’s family at Garry Gualach – one of Fiona’s life defining places and people. I was treated to a hot bath tonight, as opposed to a cold one, I must be getting soft!
Fiona and I slept in Libby’s lovely cottage, while the boys appreciated Bablu. Fiona has been doing some research about the life of John Anderson my Jo, subject of one of Robbie Burns best known poems, who was buried in Ft Augustus. No doubt the Editor will add her own little twist on it!
(All I found out was that he was a carpenter, who died in 1832 in Invergarry, built his own coffin and was a great friend of Burns. He is buried here in Kilchuimen Burial Ground… wikipedia did also mention there was an earlier, more mildly bawdy version of the poem, where the wife is berating her husband… we will stick to Burns’ final beautiful version I think!- Ed)