|Day 64 – June 14||Drumnadrochit to Inverness|
|Weather: Cloudy and cool||B&B: Eildon Guest House (£45)|
|Departed: 9:00 Arrived: 16:30||Walked: 6h 12m Rested: 0 hr 56m|
|Distance Today: 20.0 mi / 32.19 km||Total Distance: 1038.4 mi / 1671.14 km|
|% Complete: ~ 88.98%||Pint of the Day: Caringorm Nessie’s Monster Mash|
|GPS Track for: Day 64|
I had a great night’s sleep at the very comfortable Woodland’s B&B and was on my way by 9am. It was cloudy and very cool but the prognosis was for clearing throughout the day.
I walked through Drumnadrochit to the A82, past the tacky Loch Ness Monster exhibits, and in the direction of the Loch. When Scott and I visited here in 1983 we cycled from Inverness but I don’t remember the road being as busy as it was today. Coaches and Logging trucks thundered by at regular intervals so I was glad there was a sidewalk all the way to the point where the Great Glen Way veered inland.
Leaving the busy A82 behind the GGW climbed steeply up the side of a forested hill. Unlike yesterday the scenery was more varied and early on there was a great view back to Urquhart Castle. I passed a handful of walkers as we slowly zig-zagged our way steadily upward.
After nearly an hour I emerged on a logging road next to a GGW storyboard. These storyboards are stationed at regular intervals along the walk and provide excellent information on the trail’s history, flora and fauna. This one described a Canadian logging camp established during WWII when the British government appealed for help from abroad. It seems a large number of the contingent came from Newfoundland and many of them married Scottish girls. Many of these Loch Ness Newfies settled permanently in Scotland after the war.
I carried on following the road and caught my first glimpse of the North Sea through the trees. The road passed through a large section of moorland before entering the Abriachan Forest. I walked for a couple of miles before spying the first sign for the Abrichan Campsite and Cafe, a friendly and somewhat eccentric little oasis that has featured in several LEJOG blogs. I was greeted by Rory as I made my way through the bush and he took me to a little seating area while he prepared me a fresh pot of coffee. I sat myself down and was quickly surrounded by hens and a large rooster who were patiently awaiting some crumbs from my shortbread biscuits. A couple of rabbits hopped by for a brief visit before disappearing back into the undergrowth. Rory brewed a first-rate pot of coffee and we enjoyed a good chat too. If you find yourself on the GGW be sure to drop in for a visit.
With caffeine coursing through my veins I made short work of the next few miles. I followed a local road through mostly open countryside and had some great views of the northern Highlands in the distance. Most peaks still had patches of snow on them and with the unusually cool temperature today I’m not surprised.
The GGW left the local road to follow an old Drovers road through forest for the next several miles. I spotted the remains of a couple of stone buildings used by Drovers to shelter in overnight. The trail emerged from the forest for the last time and offered up some excellent views of Inverness in the distance.
It took well over an hour to work my way down the hill and into the city center. The last section was particularly nice as it followed the River Ness and then crossed into the city by way of a series of footbridges straddling the Ness Islands.
The Great Glen Way ends at Inverness Castle and in doing so it also becomes the last official footpath of my LEJOG. From this point on I will be following roads north to John O’Groats. Although the scenery on the GGW was less spectacular than on the West Highland Way it was an excellent walk. I must also point out that the way-marking on this trail was the best of any on my LEJOG, and likely the best I’ve ever encountered anywhere. You will have to go out of your way to get lost on the Great Glen Way!
Tomorrow is the last rest day of my walk and I’m looking forward to spending some time wandering around Inverness. On Wednesday I begin the last leg of my journey, an 8-day walk to my End-to-End’s end.