Walk Day 62 – South Laggan to Invermoriston

Day 62 – June 12 South Laggan to Invermoriston
 Weather: Cloudy, Sunny periods  B&B: Bracadale B&B (£40)
 Departed: 9:20 Arrived: 16:25  Walked: 5h 34m Rested: 1 hr 15m
 Distance Today: 18.3 mi / 29.45 km  Total Distance: 1004.5 mi / 1616.59 km
 % Complete: ~ 86.30%  Pint of the Day: Isle of Skye Red Cuillan
 GPS Track for: Day 62

Another good day on the Great Glen Way and one that would see the walk odometer tick over the 1000-mile mark.

It was a cloudy but brighter start than yesterday and overall the conditions were excellent for walking. Forest Lodge B&B serves breakfast at 8:30am so I wasn’t away until well after 9am. I retraced my steps along the A82 to the GGW and walked a short distance to North Laggan where the canal meets Loch Oich.

The section from North Laggan to Fort Augusta was the most scenic so far, especially the couple of hours spent alongside Loch Oich. Initially the GGW follows the old Invergarry – Fort Augusta railway line which opened in 1903 in the hopes of becoming part of a mainline service between Inverness and Fort William. Unfortunately competition from other lines meant the other sections were never constructed and so this line was doomed to failure and closed in 1946. It was quite a surprise to see the old station platform almost entirely reclaimed by nature in just over 60 years. For a moment it was as if I was in Guatemala and had stumbled upon some ancient Mayan ruin. My photo gallery includes a photo of the station in 1903, taken from one of the many information boards that line the GGW.

Another outstanding feature along this section are the wild rhododendrons. They’ve been a fixture throughout the highlands and are particularly plentiful in the Great Glen. On several occasions I’ve looked out over a loch to see the far side of the Glen blanketed in purplish-pink rhodos.

Loch Oich ends at Aberchalder and the GGW resumes its course along the Caledonian Canal towpath. For much of the way the towpath is sandwiched between the canal and the River Oich. It was a 5-mile walk to Fort Augustus at the southern end of Loch Ness. The small town is built right around the locks and is a huge draw for tour groups. It was a bit of a shock to wander in and see hundreds of tourists milling around and lining up at restaurants. I stopped in for a quick pint at ‘The Bothy’ and watched 20 minutes of the World Cup match between South Korea and Greece.

From Fort Augustus the GGW climbs up into the pine forest and follows a logging road all the way to Invermoriston. There were occasional views of Loch Ness, mostly from clear-cut sections, but most of the remaining 6 miles were spent amongst the pines. I passed a few long-distance walkers headed in the opposite direction but generally I felt as if I had the GGW to myself.

I’d been told of a new short-cut into Invermoriston, one that saves nearly 2 miles, but I never found it. Eventually I did find an unmarked path down through the trees but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the ‘official’ short-cut.

My B&B was half a mile out of the village so I decided to have an early dinner at the Glen Rowan Cafe & Restaurant. I highly recommend it although I was told by the B&B owner that it closes at 5pm.

Tomorrow is a shorter day but much of it will be spent climbing up and around the pine forest above Loch Ness. Drumnadrochit is the destination and it will put me firmly in ‘Grant‘ country. I have a lot of ‘Grant’ ancestors from this area and so I may revisit Drumnadrochit after my walk is completed.

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