Today was a tough 9 hour, 29km (19 mile) route from Drumnadrochit to Inverness but it was beautiful, varied and invigorating.
Coming out of Drumnadrochit, I stopped briefly outside Nessie Land to donate an unopened wedge of smoked cheese to an elderly lady. It was more than I wanted to carry and I’d had it two days, but she was delighted! “They package it too young anyway”.
Off the busy road by the pier from where John Cobb started his fatal speed record attempt and up, up, up through pine forest, soft underfoot with Wood Sorrel quilting the slopes, dewdrops making a light show on its little leaves.
Out onto rolling moorland, bright and breezy. Onto open forest tracks, Loch Ness far below, Maverick and The Iceman roaring down the Glen in their warplanes.
Across a road and along a narrow track flanked by young woodland to a place I had been looking forward to since planning this trip, the Abriachan Eco Campsite and Café “Crofting in the 21st Century”. Quirky signs lined the track and up a boggy path there it was, ramshackle, crazy structures, chickens and a big black pig asleep under one of the rusty tables. Tea served in a pewter pot, much chat and several guys I had met already along the way. I loved it. I may post the sketch I made later.
Down to a long, long undulating road section with huge views across moorland to the Cairngorms, then onto an old drover’s road with a sphagnum mossed dry stone wall running its length. An hour, another, the crunch of my boots on the gravel and the steady beat of my walking poles the only sounds breaking the silence of the old woodland.
Inverness in the far distance. More track. A still loch. A scrambler motorbike. Foresters setting fence posts. Closer, closer still, tiredness setting in. Then below me the old asylum fenced off for development. Dog walkers, children playing, modern houses, traffic. The Caledonian canal once again. Major roadworks blocking the path, no signs, lost so close to the last stretch. Check the GPS, navigate round the blockage, find the waymarker posts again. Through a park, the path winding its way along the river, over bridges, along islands, weary, weary, sore and tired. The Castle! Journey’s end – but no signs. Other walkers searching for the route, there, THERE! Up the mound to the GGW marker stone “Where it all ends and begins”.
I did it! I did it! I walked 75 miles along the Great Glen!