Thursday, 26 August 2010

Day 7 Inverness to Balbeg

Thursday 26th August

Leaving the guesthouse today I felt fully refreshed and raring to get going again after my rest day. My bag seemed lighter than before, in part because I'd posted one of my books home, but once I'd stocked up with provisions at the local Tesco it seemed to be more or less back to it's normal weight.  As I wandered out of Inverness looking for the start of The Great Glen Way I was once again the owner of a waterproof jacket, I had also vowed to be more careful with my kit in future.

It was a bright sunny start as I climbed up several steepish hills heading out of town. For the first few miles the Great Glen Way is actually a bit of a let down and the name doesn't seem at all apt, you don't see any Glens or Lochs, just millions of pine trees as you walk along a series of forest paths. Mind you, this was still a very welcome change of scenery to me after spending so many miles dodging traffic on the A9.

After about a 5 mile stretch without seeing a single soul I met a scruffy, bearded long distance walker heading the other way. After enquiring where I was going and offering me his advice on a few things he told me what he was up to; a Z shaped walk from Dover to Cape Wrath via Lands End, John o'Groats and the summits of 3 mountains. Apparently this friendly chap had already walked over 2,000 miles and camped all the way. And I thought I was mad!

Not long after that interesting conversation I realised I had made a clumsy navigational error and accidentally wandered off The Great Glen Way. Luckily this soon turned into a blessing in disguise, while taking a path through The Abriachan Woodland to get me back on track I came across a tranquil viewpoint with stunning views across Loch Ness. This was easily my favourite beauty spot on the walk so far and I enjoyed an hour long break there admiring the fantastic scenery with the sun shining.

My next stop was at the town of  Drumnadrochit, close to Urquart Castle. As I enjoyed an ice cold drink from the local store the town was buzzing with visitors, many of them had bought Nessie souvenirs.

It was 4-00pm by now and I'd already covered around 20 miles, but I was keen to press on. Once I rejoined the Great Glen again it was very quiet again, deserted in fact. When my GPS device told me I had walked 27 miles I thought it best to start looking for somewhere to camp. In a forest on the side of a steep mountain that's not as easy as you might think, it was another couple of miles before I found a suitable spot. Annoyingly the midges were out in force as I hastily erected the tent, hundreds of them swarming around me. I settled down for the night thinking that today had been very different from my first 5 days, and very enjoyable too.

GPS data click here

Mileage today; 29.09 miles, walking time 7 hrs 30 mins, average walking speed 3.9 mph

Cumulative mileage; 160.80 miles

Weather; morning and early afternoon sunny spells, then light showers. Max 16C.
After accidentally straying off The Great Glen Way I found this superb viewpoint overlooking Loch Ness
Much of the day was spent on forest tracks like this

Urquart Castle

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Hi :) I'm a 49yo father of three from Exmouth, a lovely seaside town in Devon. In parts of Exeter I'm well known as the local milkman where I've been making traditional doorstep deliveries for 15 years.