We pooled all our food and made a hearty breakfast, Paddy had the thankless task of raising Gill from her pit. I decided to head it Drumnadrochit and track down Nessie. A local shop owner told me to try the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and I have got to say it was really interesting, plenty of actual facts disproving the myth rather than pandering on a legend. However escaping the gift shop was another story all together.
Paddy & Gill hooked up with me after the Nessie visit but I decided to push onto Inverness alone as I wanted a bit of solitude and to really motor along the track. The guys didn’t take offence, they have been hiking with me long enough now to understand I need my own space every now and again.
The hike out of Drumnadrochit was a slog uphill through a pine forest, which then turned into open moorland with great views of the surrounding areas. This is without doubt the best part of the whole Great Glen Way and even the Old Drovers road was good underfoot. I reached the outskirts of Inverness around 5pm and finished my walk at Inverness Castle at 6pm. Inverness was just starting to get lit up for the night so i waited in a real ale house and ate Haggis for the first time.
Paddy & Gill joined me at 8pm and we celebrated the end of another long distance trail before heading back to the hostel. Mental note – never let Gill book a hostel ever again. I got stalked by a homeless bag lady and it looked like a homicide had taken place on my bunk bed the previous night. The Highlander Hostel gets 1/10 for me.
Final thoughts on the Great Glen Way
- Its a perfect winter long distance trail and even the harshest weather would struggle to hanper your efforts
- The last section to Inverness is without doubt the best days for hiking.
- Take your time to explore Inverness, Fort Augustus and Drumnadroichit.
- Morags Lodge in Fort Augustus is a really great hostel to stay in.
- 4-5 days is the best option for a crossing, although i might try a 2 day attempt nextyear.
Hope you enjoyed my little report, now what shall i do next, any ideas ?
A great night’s sleep in the hobbit village meant I couldn’t wait to get started and a crisp morning’s frost was the first I had seen for a while. Invermoriston’s local post office provided me with breakfast and we spent some time chatting to the owner of the Clog & Craft shop. The falls of Moriston and the old Telord Bridge were the main points of interest in this sleepy little village.
Today’s hike actually involved some ascent, a huge 1970ft, please ignore my sarcasm here, but the Great Glen Way is as flat as a pancake. It did mean though that we enjoyed the best views of the trip so far and we actually bumped into a few fellow hikers who were hiking the full trail but in the opposite direction.
We took our time today and enjoyed the views, we even stopped for a hot soup break at lunchtime and basically chillaxed. Some days it’s just nice to swanker along the trail without a care in the world leaving all your troubles behind you. By the time we reached Borlum Farm Caravan Park it was just starting to get dark. We pitched up and made a hearty meal before heading into town.
The Loch Ness Inn provided us with a few pints and the Poachers Inn was our last stop before heading home. Unfortunately Gill in the space on 15 minutes became inebriated and it took a huge amount of effort and patience to get her back to the campsite in one piece. The last two photos tell there own story. Gill has now been demoted to the B-team of drinkers whose ranks include lightweight Larry, Shirley Shandy and Peter Pissedabed.
A well planned short day meant even the worst hangover would struggle to knock us off course with our schedule for hiking. As it turned out a few headache tablets and a shower were enough to shake off the previous nights excesses. Morag’s Lodge is well worth a look for hikers, one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in.
Today’s hike was pathetic in distance terms and we laughed at the thought of people tracking us on the social hiking web site. The walk itself followed Loch Ness although we rarely had a good view because of the conifer forest blocking our view.
After the gruelling slog (hangs his head in shame at the distance) we reached am excellent Loch Ness Holiday Park that had a new addition to its accommodation that we took an instant like to – Hobbit Village. The Hobbits are little log structures and offer a fridge and kettle and enough space to sleep four comfortably on built-in-beds. Each lodge is named after a character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, ours was named Shelob though thankfully it was free from spiders.
I spent the evening learning to fish on the Loch but only managed to catch a rock, still it was a great way to finish the day.
Two late trains meant I arrived at Glasgow queen street with a whisker to spare. Paddy and gill joined me for the final leg up to Fort William but the cloud spoiled what should of been a very picturesque train journey.
We arrived in Fort William at 16:00 and the rain was lashing down, waterproofs on, buddy beacon set and we hit the trail. The walk out of town was uneventful except for a great view over the loch.
The area of Caol provided is with sustenance in the form of sausage and chips. Back onto the trail and darkness closed in as we wandered past neptunes staircase which is a series of eight canal lochs at Banavie.
If I had night vision I would describe the broad gravel track that flanks the Caledonian canal on the way to Gairlochy, however I skipped eating carrots at school and have paid for it ever since.
We reached Gairlochy caravan park about 20:40 and pitched up, hot chocolate and brandy capped off the days events.
Reading the twitter messages before bed made me laugh nearly as much as Paddy thinking his new toy is faulty. Hehe never leave your neo-air unattended , some tricky man might let some air out.