Miles walked: Today 21.3 cumulative 1239.6
It was raining when I woke up this morning and, I must admit, I really didn’t feel like a walk. By the time I was ready to leave the rain had slowed to a drizzle. I had stayed at the Loch Ness Inn which was in Lewiston, just before Drumnadrochit so I had an extra mile to walk today. Drumnadrochit is a popular tourist attraction on Loch Ness so there were delights such as the “Loch Ness Centre” and “Nessieland” to tempt me.
I followed the A82 through Drumnadrochit. After a couple of miles I left the road to climb through the Tychat estate where I had a good view across the bay to the ruin of Urquart castle. This was a strategically important castle and was often involved in the Scottish Wars of Independence, the fights for control between Comyn and Robert the Bruce and between the Scottish Crown and the Lords of the Isles.
I was too far away to pick out any detail, but you will have seen pictures of this castle on the top of biscuit tins and on calendars.
I entered the forest and the path started to climb steeply into the mist. I met John who was walking the GGW and we would pass each other throughout the morning. There were occasional views through the trees to something grey but it was impossible to decide whether this was Loch or mist. Today was very much a day of showers and I was continually taking my cagoule on and off.
Towards the top of the forest there was an information board that told me I was walking through an old Canadian logging camp. About 2000 lumberjacks volunteered to come to Scotland during the second world war to harvest trees for the war effort, many stayed and settled in Scotland.
The path emerged into open moorland for about half a mile before it re-entered the forest. Here the views were limited by the mist so this morning’s walk was not particularly interesting. After I while crossed a minor road. I joined a narrow path winding through the trees. I started seeing signs for coffee, I thought they were a mirage but…
This is the Abriachan Forest Eco Camp. It is set in old, natural woodland. It is run by a remarkable couple. The man described himself as a “retired Thespian.” He told me not to leave my rucksack on the ground, apparently not long before I arrived one of his free range pigs and munched it’s way through someone’s map.
I had a cafetière of excellent coffee and an enormous slab of lemon cake accompanied by some fresh fruit, others were tucking into lentil and vegetable soup. If you do walk or cycle the GGW this place is a MUST STOP.
I caught up with John here and we walked to Inverness together for the rest of the day. We joined a road that eventually came out into open moorland. By now it had brightened up and I could look back towards the mountains. To the North East I thought I could see the sea and the curve of the North East Scottish coast. After about a mile the path left the would and descended slowly though open moorland.
Inverness came into view in the distance and we entered more woodland. This is when I appreciate a walking companion as there was nothing to see for several miles. A voice called out to us and a man poked his head out of a small tent. He looked rather wet and said that he had just bought the tent but it turned out not to be waterproof. He told us he had been “kicked out” by his partner and was heading off to Ullapool and the Summer Isles to find work for the summer. We wished him luck and continued downhill.
We emerged from the forest and descended through fields and scrub. This soon gave way to the practice area of a golf course and football pitches and them a housing estate. We rejoined the Caledonian canal and crossed the A82 for the last time at a swing bridge. We parted company, John went to find his B&B and I continued into central Inverness.
The path went through a sports complex to join the River Ness. I crossed the river to walk through a series of small islands that were partially landscaped and contained mature trees.
There were several sculptures and I finally caught sight of the Loch Ness Monster
It was now raining heavily. I crossed to the east bank of the river and followed it into central Inverness and the castle, which is the official end of the GGW. It was then a short distance to the Travelodge. Tomorrow I will head down to Edinburgh for a few days off.