The Great Glen Way in pictures

The Great Glen Way in pictures

Day 1 - The start of the Great Glen Way, in Fort William, and a rather fancy information point tells us what's in store.

Day 1 - Coran Fearna perfectly mirrored in the calm waters of the River Lochie as we leave Fort William behind us.

Day 1 - Looking back at Ben Nevis from Caol Bay - the clouds have turned the mountain into a faux Vesuvius.

Day 1 - Once gained, we followed the Caledonian Canal for the rest of the day. Nice easy flat walking.

Day 1 - The Caledonian Canal on one side, the River Lochy on the other, and before us the small hamlet of Gairlochy and the end of a pleasant days walking.

Day 2 - Gairlochy in the morning, and we prepare to set off along Loch Lochie.

Day 2 - The first glimpses of Loch Lochy appear coyly beyond the forest.

Day 2 - Loch Lochy, fully revealed, is like a tarnished mirror on this still, close day.

Day 2 - The shoreline of the loch looked inviting and so we decided to rest for a while, encouraging the hordes of midges lurking in the shrubbery to begin feasting.

Day 2 - The natural marina at the far end of Loch Lochy provided a safe harbour for the pleasure boats of Laggan. Our only concern was to find our rooms for the night.

Day 3 - A soggy start to the third day of the week, we set off in Gore-tex and followed the extinct railway that ran alongside Loch Oich.

Day 3 - Loch Oich is meant to be the most picturesque loch of the three we would meet during the week, but sadly the weather didn't do it any justice.

Day 3 - We left Loch Oich behind us and followed the Caledonian Canal once more, rain squalls giving us regular soakings as they barrelled down the great glen from the west.

Day 3 - We stopped for tea and hot broth near the Bridge of Oich; a strange harp-like suspension bridge of Victorian vintage, straddling the river Oich.

Day 3 - There followed a long stretch of the Caledonian Canal that took us through the afternoon, dodging cold showers and wishing there were more boats to stare at.

Day 3 - Eventually we reach Fort Augustus and its lock-system, busy with craft leaving Loch Ness from the east.

Day 4 - Loch Ness introduces itself shortly after we leave Fort Augustus.

Day 4 - Soon we are walking along wide forest tracks with majestic pines in abundance and the occasional appearance of a bright sun. The loch is ever-present to our right as we progress.

Day 4 - Loch Ness begins to grow in stature and we take advantages of the view points we find along the way.

Day 4 - Fair weather, glorious surroundings, and good friends. There are few pleasures in life more simple.

Day 4 - The impressive white-water rapids we find at Invermoriston are both unexpected and visually stunning and provide the perfect end to the day.

Day 5 - Today was all about Loch Ness, and we followed its northern shore for much of the day.

Day 5 - After some pleasant low-level forest walking the path began to climb, taking us ever higher above the loch.

Day 5 - By the time we were nearing the end of this long climb we had fantastic views up and down the long narrow body of Loch Ness.

Day 5 - Once the gentle climbing was done we enjoyed a few miles of pine forests and craggy outcrops of ancient granite.

Day 5 - These woodlands were home to millions of wood ants and their nests were everywhere, some mere mounds, some almost man-height.

Day 5 - The woodlands finally gave way to a arrow-straight road that took us along for the last part of the day, passing old pine plantations festooned with lichen - a sign of the very purest air.

Day 5 - At the end of this road lay the village of Drumnadrochit, nestled sleepily in a valley.

Day 5 - We enjoyed the lovely views that our B&B treated us to and contemplated the long day that was to follow in the morning.

Day 6 - The final day of the Great Glen Way started off wet and dreary and we walked out of Drumnadrochit alongside a busy A road, dodging the wash from passing juggernauts.

Day 6 - After leaving the road we found ourselves tackling the steepest climb of the week, but it was mercifully short. At the top we had one final glance of Loch Ness.

Day 6 - After a wild and wet crossing of moorland we walked under the shelter of tall, and somewhat ghostly, pine forests.

Day 6 - Walking into the centre of Inverness took quite a tortuous route but eventually we made it to Inverness Castle and the end of the weeks hike.

Day 6 - We took photographs leaning against the information point, a twin of the one seventy odd miles away in Fort William.

Great Glen Way Summary

The Great Glen Way
By Mark Walford
Homeward bound

Date: Saturday September 10th 2011


You gotta go there to come back ....

We had arranged for a taxi to take us back to Fort William and we enjoyed our last full English breakfast with as much indulgent delight as our hangovers would allow. I had slept well and felt surprisingly fit and agile despite the miles. This was a new experience for me as usually I was shuffling around like a ninety year old by the end of a weeks walking. I like to think that this was due to an improved level of fitness, and perhaps it was because I had managed to keep my walking up fairly consistently throughout the year, but I also have to acknowledge that the Great Glen Way was less challenging then previous walks. It treated the walker kindly, with moderate gradients and short distances and only at the end did it approach anything that might be considered challenging. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable because it was a superb route with unforgettable walking and enough stop-and-stare moments to satisfy us all. On balance I would say that the West Highland Way provided the more rugged and untamed scenery but then one had to work all the harder to be rewarded by them. The Great Glen Way offered the best of Scotland with relatively little effort, so it’s a fair trade-off.
Our cab arrived on time and so we said goodbye to our hosts and their proudly Scottish guest house (7.0 on the Pat Pending Rating System in case you were wondering) threw our gear into the trunk and sat back for the hour-long journey back to Fort William. Our driver, John, was born and bred in Inverness and was a useful source of knowledge on the journey home, pointing out local landmarks and buildings with a tale to tell for each one. We travelled back through many of the places we had walked through during the week, tiny Invermoriston, Fort Augustus, Spean Bridge, until we eventually pulled into a rainy Fort William where we had time to stretch our legs before the long drive home. I arrived at my house at 8 pm that evening, tired, bearing gifts of wine and chocolate, and entirely ready to sit in my reclining chair and revel in the seductive sinfulness of being a Couch Potato.
So there’s another long distance route completed, and another little bit of Scotland walked across. I can now boast, rather pointlessly I suppose, that I have walked from Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William; a claim to fame which, perhaps, only fellow hikers might appreciate, but one that I regard as a personal achievement. We haven’t finished yet of course, there are several other Scottish routes to be tackled, which will see us head south from Inverness, wandering down the eastern side of the country and eventually reaching the borders. It may be a few years before I head back north of the border but, legs and pocket willing, I’ll be there with a repaired rucksack, new boots, and a new improved version of the Pat Pending Rating System at the ready.
The Great Glen Way scored a very respectable 9.1.

In memory of Mia ('Little Me') and all our walks together

Daily Tweets

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
Went out last night for a few celebratory ales & ended up necking several pints. I therefore felt a bit various, first thing. There was loud, live music & the Friday night peacocks & hens came out to flirt & get messily arseholed. There was even a kilted laird.

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
I'm back in Brummie land. Took us about eight & a half hours travel, since we set out from Inverness this morning.

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
Now it is over for another year. Bod is back in Southport, @darkfarmowl is in Sheldon & I'm spending the night at mom & dad's.

Twitter from @Darkfarmowl (Mark)
Home again. Adventure over. Lots of photos and videos to sort out and a journal to write. Brilliant week.


Great Glen Way Day 6

The Great Glen Way
By Mark Walford
Day Six

Route: Drumnadrochit to Inverness
Date: Friday September 9th 2011
Distance: 20m (32km)
Elevation: 20ft (7m) to 1,250ft (381m)
Climbing (ascent and descent): 1,778ft (542m) and 1,906ft (581m)

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See Route on ......

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet
Roger Miller ....

Breakfast on this last morning was taken in the large conservatory where the widows offered splendid views across to distant hills; hills which, according to our landlady we would be climbing before too long. Mark and Carol joined us and we conducted a light hearted review of the week over our bacon and eggs. We asked them if they had seen the huge American guy and his wife and they said they had spoken to them a few times. It transpired that the Big American Dude was doing all the walking whilst his wife acted as driver, baggage courier, and general assistant which completely reversed our first assessment of them.
“He power walks,” Mark informed us. “Almost runs actually; it makes him drip with sweat. AND he tackles each day from the end point back to the start – he’s sort of walking the route in reverse. I bet you’ll see him today.”
We wondered how he hadn’t given himself a massive cardiac but maybe underneath all the padding there beat the heart of an athlete. He might have been an ex American Footballer – he certainly had the frame for a good defensive lineman.
Mark was looking forward to a special celebration on his arrival at Inverness as it was his birthday and he intended to party. I hoped we would meet them both again in Inverness so we could have a drink together, but sadly this was the last we were to see of them.
We said farewell to our excellent hosts (8.7 on the Pat Pending Rating System) and ventured out for the longest walk of the week. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t up too much on this last day. Rain threatened on and off throughout the journey (more on than off) and we set off through Drumnadrochit in a steady drizzle, stopping off at the local shop for a packed lunch and another quick raid of the ATM. After that we followed the busy A82, first along a high street of shops and restaurants and finally out into the open countryside. There had been a heavy downpour earlier and large puddles of rainwater had formed along the roadside through which the morning rush hour traffic rushed and slushed. We were walking along a very narrow footpath and it was only a matter of time before someone got a dousing and Colin drew the short straw. I watched with a sense of inevitability as the three necessary ingredients came together at the exactly the right moment – Colin, a very large puddle, and a truck. The truck threw up a wide arc of water which Colin walked right into. He performed the usual response; stopped in disbelief, shook himself like a dog jumping out of a bath, and produced an angry impotent gesture at the departing truck. I suppose it was just as well that he was swaddled in Gore-tex . I wish I’d had my camera out though.

”We’re lost!” The hikers complained.
”And you said you were the best guide in England.”
”I am,” the guide answered, ”but I think we may have wandered into Scotland .....”

My legs felt tired – probably in anticipation of the imminent climb and the long miles ahead - so I was falling behind the others almost from the start. For some reason this is never as acceptable in miserable weather but I didn’t have the energy to quicken my pace so I trudged along, wondering how many walkers had been mown down on this stretch, and wishing I was still in bed.
At last we reached a narrow track that left the roadside and began a modest climb up into woodland. I paused for a rest and to take some video and was eloquently describing the gloomy weather when suddenly a convoy of hikers appeared below and began threading their way up towards me. There must have been thirty or more, all ages, led by an officious looking guide. This was all I needed. Once you get caught up with such a large group of walkers you become bound by their collective gravity. You can spend the rest of the day trying to lose them, by lagging behind or forging ahead, but somehow they always seem to surround you again within minutes.
GGW Day6 Pic 1

A short sharp climb

With thirty variations of ‘Good morning, excuse me’ they all squeezed past me and vanished under the trees. I complained about them to my video camera and then gave them five minutes head start before setting off myself. It was no good; the guide had stopped the group to admire some point of interest and they formed a large and untidy blockage across the narrow path. I was soon trying to weave through them, muttering ‘Scuse me’ endlessly as they moved aside with a certain reluctance. Once past them I decided I had to escape so I summoned some previously untapped reserves of energy and legged it as fast as I could up the wooded slope until I was breathless and steaming beneath my waterproofs. I almost crashed into Colin as I rounded a bend. He was staring up into the eaves of a tree (no doubt he’d heard an unusual birdsong that had captured his attention). I told him about the convoy coming up behind me.
“What – those old biddies?” he scoffed. “Surely even you could outdistance them, mate!”
I gave him a sour look but we forged ahead together until the convoy was left far behind and couldn’t trouble us any more.

Things can only get wetter ....

We met Bod at the start of the longest and most challenging section of the week’s walk (the guide book had warned us) and after staring up at the considerable slope ahead of us and taking a few deep breaths we set off. This certainly was the hardest bit of the walk, with a rough stony track that twisted sharply upwards through the trees, with switchback corners that almost demanded a scramble, but I had tackled worse on both the West Highland Way and Offa’s Dyke. It was a short sharp ascent of perhaps 700 feet and then the path widened and levelled and we broke out of the forest high above Loch Ness. We followed a broad shingle track which crossed a sort of plateau of gorse and moorland, the first such terrain we had seen all week, as a chilly wind hurled squalls of rain into our faces.
I thought this wild land would be deserted but we passed a small farm nestled in the lee of a slate bluff whose nearest neighbour must have been miles away. How desolate and isolated this place must be in the winter was anyone’s guess. I wondered who lived there and whether they’d poke a shotgun into your face if you knocked on their door, and how the post got delivered, and whether Tesco Home Deliveries came out this far. As you can see, the farm held my attention for a long time – there was nothing else up there as a distraction.
Eventually we reached the end of this bleak stretch and passed through a five barred gate to enter forest once more. The trail started to go downwards again. I had stopped to frame a few pictures and once again found myself walking alone. The trees here were part of a younger plantation, their pine needles were a bright and vibrant shade of spring green which cheered up the rather sombre weather conditions to a degree. Suddenly my ruck sack went ‘ping’ and the chest strap flew apart for no apparent reason. I spent a futile few minutes trying to fix the problem but it needed strength which my cold fingers couldn’t manage. Muttering darkly I continued, but my rucksack was imbalanced for the rest of the day and soon caused my shoulders to ache. In the end I resorted to slinging the pack casually over one shoulder, swapping when the straps began to rub.
I followed the trail as it descended through this young woodland, in a series of slow lazy ‘s’ bends, until I rounded a final curve and saw that the trail ended on the floor of a narrow valley along which a straight metalled road would carry us into distant hills. Colin and Bod had already reached the road and were beetling along it but more immediately, and heading rapidly towards me, was the Big American Dude, walking the route in reverse as Mark had indicated, and sweating freely with a jolly bandanna wrapped around his head. He charged past me with a cheerful ‘Hiya’ and crashed into the trees behind me like a runaway juggernaut, disappearing forever. Boy that man could shift!
GGW Day6 Pic 2

Our final view of Loch Ness

It was a brief and entertaining episode followed by a rather lengthy hike along the metalled road until the hills were reached and the three of us met up once more. A sign informed us that we were entering the grounds of a camping and caravanning site but apart from one caravan parked near the entrance we never saw much of the place or its residents. Instead we had to follow a tiny little track that skirted the park, hemmed in by hazel and hawthorn that showered us with rainwater whenever we brushed past them. A sign nailed to a post caught our attention. It had one word, painted vertically in bright colours.
A little further on there was another one ..
They seemed out of place until we reached a junction of paths where a sign invited us to follow one of them to a café. Much as the thought of sitting down in a warm place with a slice of madeira and a coffee appealed, we decided to press on. There was still a considerable way to go and we wanted to finish as early as possible so we could dry out and recover enough to hit the bright lights of Inverness.

Low point ....

Eventually we left the boundaries of the caravan park and picked up a B road that we followed for what seemed like hours and, just as we started along it, the weather worsened. The road was an open stretch between flat heathland so we were now exposed to the elements. The wind chilled us and the rain started to get beneath our ‘rainproof’ clothing within twenty minutes. Predictably I fell behind again, only this time the distance grew and grew until Colin and Bod disappeared over the horizon. I fiddled with the camera to try and capture this bleak afternoons walking but gave up – it was too cold and too wet. I think I reached the nadir of my enjoyment of the walk at this point; rather than embracing the solitude I became sullen because of it, feeling abandoned and excluded.
“Wouldn’t have hurt them to at least check if I was ok,” I muttered to myself. But I knew I was being self-pitying so I put my head down and marched along with my underclothes becoming ever more saturated. After what seemed like an entire afternoon (but was probably no more than an hour) I crested the brow of a low hill to find Colin and Bod hunched up against a five bar gate and trying to eat sandwiches in the teeth of the wind. They squinted at me through the rain. I squinted back.
“What are you doing?” I asked in some surprise.
“Having lunch,” they replied accurately.
I looked around. I doubt they could have picked a more exposed spot to try and eat. In the distance, on the crest of a hill, I made out a faint line of green.
“I’m not stopping here,” I said a little testily. “There’s a forest over there and it’ll be dry under the trees.” I walked a few paces further, to another gate, and began retrieving my over-trousers out of my rucksack. It was a little late given I was soaked from the waist down but at least they would keep me warm. I went through the difficult manoeuvring required whilst pulling on a second pair of trousers over wet undergarments and standing on one leg. Bod had walked over to me. “Crap weather isn’t it,” he stated.
I replied that indeed it was as I rested a boot against the gate to tie my laces. My foot slipped off the rail and my forehead connected with the top bar of the gate with an almost cartoonish ‘BONG!’
Bod stood wordlessly. I gritted my teeth against the pain and hoisted my broken rucksack over one shoulder. I nodded at Bod curtly.
“I’m off then.”
I splashed along the road for perhaps another mile before diverting left onto a stony track that took me away from the road and towards the distant line of trees that, I realised, where much further away than I had estimated. It was too late now; I had committed myself. I experienced what was, for the Great Glen way, a busy part of the route as first a man in wilted tweeds passed me with a curt hello and then a trio of young guys approached, wearing sodden tee shirts and shorts. They stopped me to ask what it was like further on and I told them that there was a café about two hours walking ahead where they could dry out and get hot food. This seemed to be the news they wanted to hear. They told me they had arrived in Inverness the previous afternoon, from London, and intended to rough camp all the way to Fort William. I noted their inadequate clothing and basic camping gear and thought privately that they were a little under prepared. There was a mountain rescue incident in the making here, but their enthusiasm, despite everything, couldn’t be faulted.
I carried on for another few miles until the thin green line ahead of me morphed into the edge of a sizeable pine forest and, once I was under its canopy, the wind and the rain all but disappeared. I checked the time – it was after 2 p.m. so I was long overdue for my lunch. I picked my way across a clearing to a large log under the eaves of a conifer and had a solitary lunch. The forest was perfectly silent apart from the rustling of my crisp packet and the faint sighing of the wind through the upper branches of the trees and I began to wonder where Colin and Bod were. I had expected them to make an appearance by now and, sure enough as I sat and watched, I saw two figures in the distance, partially masked by the trees, making their way along the path. I waited until they were within earshot.
“You took your **** time!” I shouted at them, realising too late that I was addressing two perfect strangers. If they heard what I said they didn’t make mention.
“You’ve got the right idea there,” said one of them, using one of the world’s great conversational platitudes, and I responded with a cheery thumbs-up.

It's never too late to say you're soggy ....

After another ten minutes, and still with no sign of the others, I packed up and moved on, re-joining the forest trail, now half convinced that I had taken a wrong turn and was no longer on the Great Glen Way. I knew I was still heading towards Inverness because a sign nailed to a tree told me as much, but I hadn’t seen a blue marker post since leaving the others behind. I realised it didn’t really matter - I’d end up in Inverness eventually, and I knew I had to make for the castle, and we all had each other’s mobile numbers - I was hardly likely to get hopelessly lost with just the last few miles of the walk left to complete. Even as my thoughts ran thus I rounded a bend and saw in front of me a Great Glen Way marker, so I was on the right track after all.
Maybe the others had taken a wrong turn.
I discovered, as I walked, that something (probably one of the indigenous wood ants) had bitten me on my left bum cheek as I had sat for lunch. A large and tender lump was already making its presence felt and sitting down was going to be a little challenging for a while.
This was yet another forest that seemed endless, but also it had a quite unique atmosphere about it. The trees were tall and slender with high canopies, and their trunks were a striking ghostly grey. It had stopped raining now and there was a faint mist hanging in the air making the trees appear ever more indistinct by distance; a forest seen through layers of tissue paper. The trees grew out from a carpet of knee-high grass which added a vibrant dash of green to the almost monochrome scene. Overhead a complex tapestry of boughs knitted together against the backdrop of a leaden sky and it was as silent as a cathedral cloister.
GGW Day6 Pic 3

Ghostly trees

It’s impossible to capture an atmosphere accurately unless you are a gifted writer or photographer but I took out my camera and gave it my best shot anyway. I had quite forgotten the other two until, halfway through filming a 360 degree panorama of the forest; Colin and Bod came into sight, striding down the path towards me. They walked past me in silence and I in turn made no attempt to break it. I think we all sensed some awkwardness at that point – least said, soonest mended perhaps. I had no intention of remaining tight lipped for the rest of the day so I when I caught up with them I moaned about the weather and how cold it had been on that road. Bod nodded wordlessly, Colin offered me a swig of his water, and off we went again, male bonding completed.
We followed the track as it wound in and out of the ghostly trees until finally we reached a gate that let us out of the forest and onto an old drover’s road. Bod informed us that this was the road that would take us into Inverness and therefore journeys end. The rain began to fall gently again as we set off for the final leg of the journey and the usual pattern was quickly established. Bod in the lead, head slightly cocked to one side, Colin twenty yards behind him and me bringing up the rear – often by quite a distance. The drovers trail would have been a delightful finale to the walk on a bright sunny day, with the old forest on one side and avenues of hawthorn, birch, and rowan on the other, but today it was all a bit drear, with visibility reduced to around a hundred yards. No birds sang in the trees, it was just the patter and drip of rainfall everywhere though we were, at least, sheltered from the worst of the wind. And so we plodded on, feeling at times like we were walking on a treadmill and it was the scenery moving past us on rollers.

The lovely lass o' Inverness ....

My legs began to tire towards the end; after six days of walking I suppose they had every right to complain, but I had managed the complete route without a single blister and that was a record for me. It might have been the new boots, or perhaps the duct tape, or the blister plasters I carefully applied to my heels every morning but whatever the reason I had hardly had a twinge from my feet. Colin informed me later that he had spent much of the week in pain due to blisters and sore spots and pinned the blame on boots that had seen too much mileage – echoes of my own experience on previous walks. There is nothing more miserable than having to walk for miles when every step rewards you with a sharp jab of raw pain and once you have experienced that you become a zealot regarding the Ritual Of Foot Therapy. You spend a small fortune on plasters and tape and anything else that prevents a recurrence.
I trudged on (painlessly) through the damp greyness, wondering why the Great Glen Way Circus had somehow vanished from the trail (never to re-appear) and meeting the other two briefly at a gate that proved to be the terminus for the drovers road. After that we followed a meandering woodland path until we emerged on the side of a hill to find, unexpectedly, the suburbs of Inverness stretching away before us. The predominant building was a fortress-like pile of soot-blackened granite. If it wasn’t a prison it certainly resembled one: But this was Inverness! The end of our week long journey and very soon we would be stretched out on a soft bed, resting tired legs and feeling a great sense of achievement.
Except we didn’t.
GGW Day6 Pic 4

Inverness Castle

There was no ‘very soon’ at all because the Great Glen Way seemed to believe that we wanted to explore every nook and crannie of Inverness. For a long while we seemed to walk around the edge of the place, taking in the delights of industrial estates and business parks before closing in on the city centre via a housing estate (where a little old lady waved at me from her tiny front garden), a shopping precinct, a park, a golf course, and a river. It was beginning to get tedious - not to say frustrating. We could clearly see the city centre, with its cathedral and shopping centre, but like a mirage it wasn’t getting any closer. The three of us stopped on a bridge that spanned the river Ness to try and find some energy and enthusiasm to continue. We hung over the railings and stared down into the dark, turbulent water below.
“The trouble is,” said a weary Bod, “even when we get to the castle we still have to walk to the guest house and that might be the other side of Inverness.”
Needless to say this did little to revive my flagging spirits but I took some video, complained about how much my legs hurt, and we carried on, following the banks of the wide and swiftly flowing Ness towards a busy road bridge. I was taking some more video, where I was considering the option of simply curling up on a bench and going to sleep, when Colin gestured to me that he could see the castle. The three of us limped up a final hill, crossed roads busy with traffic we hadn’t seen the like of since Fort William and finally reached the official end of the route. It was the twin of the one at Fort William 73 miles to the west and we took our trophy shots leaning against it gratefully, looking slightly dog-eared and damp but smiling nonetheless. It was three thirty in the afternoon and our walk was done.

Great Glen Waywardness ....

The castle was an imposing early 19th century pile which no doubt boasted a long and fascinating history but it wasn’t our guest house and therefore of no interest to us whatsoever. If we’d wanted to have a closer look at it we would have been obliged to walk uphill and that just wasn’t up for consideration. I feel we gave it short shrift really, so here is a link where you can read all about it. You’ll get no more information here.
GGW Day6 Pic 5

Mark at the finishing post

We had a vague idea of where our guest house was located via some hastily scribbled directions from the landlady so we crossed the busy road bridge and made our way along one of Inverness’ main streets, three unshaven bedraggled blokes who looked like they had been sleeping in a shop doorway overnight. Colin approached two women at a bus stop to confirm that we were heading in the right direction. They looked perturbed at first and I was expecting the screech of a rape alarm or a generous squirt of Mace, but I think his accent (and natural charm) prevented an ‘incident’. They were actually very helpful in the end as we had been given duff directions and they pointed us in the right direction.
Our final bed and Breakfast was a stolid granite Victorian house with lots of leaded light and tartan carpet, with the odd mounted stags head and picture of a West Highland terrier thrown in for good measure. We felt that it was trying a bit too hard but I suppose Inverness is a tourist attraction for overseas visitors and they probably want (indeed expect) the Scottish Experience.
GGW Day6 Pic 5

Colin and Bod at the finishing post

The landlady was welcoming enough and showed us our rooms (I had the single occupancy tonight) and she produced her ace card by revealing that all rooms had baths – yes, baths! An instant 2 point bonus on our Pat Pending Rating System. My bath was an enormous great tub which I soon filled with steaming water and then I soaked, eyes blissfully shut, until my skin wrinkled and the water grew tepid. Then I stretched out on the large double bed, in the quiet of my room, and slept like a baby for two hours. When I awoke I felt like a new man and was ready to head back to Inverness to celebrate our achievement.
The proprietor gave us a tip about where to go for the evening and even gave us a voucher for a free drink. After the experience of a few nights before I think we were a little wary of falling into the secret society of business deals again but we decided to give it a go. We walked back into Inverness city centre and found the recommended place, an extremely busy restaurant on the banks of the river. In fact it was so busy that we were asked to go away and try again in 30 minutes. The place looked a little bit nouveau cuisine to us, and once we had eaten we would be turfed out to find a place to settle for the night.
We noticed a place across the river, it seemed to be a pub-diner and looked a bit more ‘us’ (in other words cheap) so we ended up there instead. The place, called Johnny Foxes, was a large pub-cum-restaurant and we enjoyed good food in a lively atmosphere. We found a table in the main bar after our meal and decided to make a night of it. Later in the evening the glasses became plastic, bouncers appeared on the door, and a live act started doing passable covers of classic rock songs. From being ‘moderately busy’ the place soon graduated onto ‘heaving’ as everyone in Inverness aged between 16 and 25 seemed to cram themselves into the place. We were dressed in travel worn walking clothes, clean but not exactly haute couture. This might have been embarrassing given that we were sat amongst all the peacocks and butterflies but since we were well over thirty we were largely invisible, and we were left to drink beer and people watch - and there was a lot to watch. Two women hatched plans to snare a couple of wealthy looking older men at a nearby table. A man in full Scottish regalia boogied on the floor to a Foreigner number, his kilt swirling about him like the skirt on a teeny bopper as he jived enthusiastically with his lady, Colin experienced the first (and only) aggression we had encountered all week due to his accent but skilfully diffused a potentially nasty situation. The Scottish laird fascinated us - in Birmingham he would have either been evicted or assaulted, here he was cheered on and treated with great respect. Perhaps he really was the local nobility, or maybe he was just a well-loved eccentric.
We drank an unwise quantity of beer, sang ourselves hoarse, and wandered back out into the streets in the wee small hours, over the bridge across the dark and silently flowing Ness, past the late night pubs busily ejecting over-served customers, and finally into our B&B where our beds waited for us but, for the first time in a week, the Great Glen Way did not.

Daily Tweets

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
Rainy, rainy day. 18 miles of road, woods & moorland to walk over on cowed feet. This is going to be interesting.

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
Visibility could be described as misty, opaque or muggy as fuck, depending on your personal approach to such things.

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
At lunch, I was too cold & it was too wet to tweet. I lunched against a metal gate at the side of a minor road, in persistent rain. By then, we had climbed a vicious track through woods, trod a stony path over moorland & trudged doggedly on miles of road.

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
Nevertheless, we walked the 19 miles down & wound our way through Inverness, to stand before the stone plinth marking journeys end.

Twitter from @Corriepaw (Colin)
I now lie prostrate in mine & Bod's room, with my poor toes throbbing & aching. But at least they are resting & I've had a lovely, hot bath.

See Route on ......

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