Invermoriston – Drumnadrochit – alone
Friday 1st November
14.17 miles … 34,447 steps … 2,451′ ascent … 2,128 calories … 4 hours 19 minutes
There was little chance of an early start this morning with Wales playing New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup 3rd and 4th place match. I dutifully assisted my two Welsh walking colleagues to give a rendition of the Welsh National Anthem (I know the tune, if not the words, but am more likely to disguise my inadequacies than if I tried the Haka!)
The All Blacks were in no mood to lose two consecutive matches so John and Richard had no hesitation in leaving before the end of the game! It was such a treat to have them both walk with me for these last 3 days, catch up on our lives and hopefully encourage each other for the next phase of our lives. I was insistent they did not walk with me before their long drive south, back to Wales.
Fiona went to Church with Libby (our wonderful hostess from last night), on All Saints day, so the boys drove me back to Invermoriston for an 11am start. A steep ascent, on a good path, amidst tall Caledonian Pines led me to see a red squirrel, two grouse and a beautiful fox in the first 30 minutes of the walk … sadly I didn’t have my photographer of the last three days with me to record these sitings, but believe me I have never been so close to any of these creatures before. The fox didn’t realise I was walking on the path behind him (we don’t have foxes on the Isle of Man … or red squirrels … or many grouse for that matter!). I only met one human in the 4 hour walk, a Belgian girl who had been doing a forestry course for a week in Scotland before heading back to her homeland later today.
Today’s weather was not the best, light drizzle became more persistent rain (‘dreich’ is probably how the Scots would describe it… voted by Scots as the nations favourite word, according to a government poll!). Before long I reverted to Tom’s warmer waterproof to try and warm up, along with jogging on the downhill bits. There were some dramatic views over Loch Ness, with the cloud below me covering most of the hills.
The last hour of the walk was not so impressive, with a single track tarmac road leading most of the way through mixed wood and small farms to the village of Drumnadrochit (what a great name!).
This is the home of the Loch Ness Exhibition and I concluded my day there, before retracing my steps to ‘Cafe 82’ for a hot chocolate and a delightful welcome from Bonny, who originates from Edmonton in Canada.
Fiona and Bablu caught up with me, prior to heading home to Simon and Holly Grey, for a log fire, hot bath and a very warm welcome. (PS- please don’t tell Nurse Shimmin that I am beginning to enjoy the pattern of hot baths rather than cold ones… especially after a cold, wet day!)
Sorry for the lack of photographs today … this may be a common theme as I walk alone in the final days of the walk, just one more day of the Great Glen Way, before starting the final 147 miles up the east coast of Scotland on the John O Groats Trail.