|Day 61 – June 11||Corpach to South Laggan|
|Weather: Cloudy w/ Scotch Mist||B&B: Forest Lodge B&B (£36.50)|
|Departed: 8:35 Arrived: 16:45||Walked: 6h 32m Rested: 1 hr 05m|
|Distance Today: 20.9 mi / 33.64 km||Total Distance: 986.2 mi / 1587.14 km|
|% Complete: ~ 84.87%||Pint of the Day: Orkney Brewery Dark Island|
|GPS Track for: Day 61|
I enjoyed my two day break and my stay at the Mansefield B&B in Corpach. There’s a good and inexpensive bus service between Corpach and Fort William so it was no problem getting around. I spent Wednesday running errands and sorting out accommodation for the remainder of my trip. I will finish my LEJOG on Wednesday June 23 and spend the night at John O’Groats before catching the ferry to Orkney for a 4-night stay.
Yesterday I had a fantastic day riding aboard “The Jacobite” from Fort William to Mallaig. This steam train journey has become even more popular now that it was featured in the Harry Potter films. The train was full (booked well in advance) but a couple at the B&B encouraged me to go to the station anyway in case there were any cancellations. This was good advice as I got one of the last seats and in the much sought-after old-style compartments too. The weather was beautiful and this was one of the most beautiful rail journeys I’ve ever taken. I’ve added a “Mallaig” album to my photo gallery so you can see for yourself.
Today was day 1 of The Great Glen Way which I follow all the way to Inverness. I walked the short distance from Corpach to Neptune’s Staircase, a set of 8 locks that separates the Caledonian Canal from Loch Linnhe. The next two hours were spent walking the 6 to 7 miles to the next set of locks at Gairlochy. The tow path was very quiet and although I met a few walkers it was nothing like the crowds on the West Highland Way. I did see several boats on the canal, including deep-sea fishing boats and one very large barge-like ship that was being used as a training vessel.
At Gairlochy the GGW follows a road and a forest path for just under a mile before descending to the shoreline of Loch Lochy, the large freshwater lake I would follow for the next 9 miles. The first few miles hug the shoreline and offer some excellent scenery. There was a lot of low cloud around and a very fine mist added to the tranquil nature of the walk.
The path eventually merges with a local road which I followed for 2 miles to Clunes. The GGW then left the paved road and joined a logging road which it would follow almost all the way to Laggan. There were glimpses of the loch but the views were not nearly as good as earlier in the day. I met three ladies walking in the opposite direction (from Laggan to Clunes) and we had a nice chat about walking and the midges. There was a light breeze around for most of the day so the midges weren’t a problem. That’s not to say I didn’t encounter them, just that they seemed to be concentrated in one area that I walked through in under half an hour.
The mist briefly changed to showers and then disappeared altogether as the day wore on, and even the sun shone briefly at one point. As Laggan came into view the GGW exited the forest and weaved its way through farmland for a short while before arriving at the Laggan Locks. I was given very specific instructions by the b&b to resist the temptation to follow the dangerous A82 and instead to follow the Youth Hostel signs and then double-back on a quieter section of the road. To steady my nerves I stopped for a pint at The Eagle Barge pub. I obviously couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit a pub that is moored alongside a canal, especially when they advertised Real Ale on their chalkboard. Good conversation and an excellent pint of Orkney Brewery Dark Island was on hand. They also served Atlas Brewery ales and when I mentioned to the landlady that they were shutting down she was very surprised. Actually she didn’t believe me so she phoned her distributor who told they were in fact shutting down their brewing facility in Kinlochlevan (their beers will now be brewed by the Orkney Brewery). Oh ye of little faith.
Tomorrow I’m off to Invermoriston on the shores of Loch Ness.