TGO Challenge 2014- Day 4 Great Glen Way to Ft Augustus

As I noted in day three we had planned to camp at the wild campsite along the Great Glen Way between Clunes and Laggan, but when we were told by some cyclist that the nearest campsite was five or six miles away, we gave up and settled for where we were, even though we had been told by a local it was there and we had to be close to the point he described.

We had not broken camp and walked 15 minutes and we came upon the wild campsite. It was at the site of Glas-dhoire ruins. It had a smooth lawn to pitch on overlooking the loch and an even a beach! 

 So after a few looks of incredulity we carried on with our day, it was was a nice day but breezy day. So far we had been very lucky with the weather, it hadn't rained during the day on us once.

Water continued to be everywhere and we enjoyed the views out to the loch on our right side and the many water features on or left 
After about 3 miles we left the Laggan Forest we had been walking in since leaving Clunes and arrived in Kilfinnin. It was dominated by several very upscale B&B's and our first lambing experience. The fields were filled with sheep and their new offspring.
 We passed through these areas as quietly as we could to not scare the new lambs
 View of the sheep farm in Kilfinnin.

 The Great Glen Way leads down the road to Laggan and Laggan Locks.
 The Lock is exactly that, a lock were the water can rise and fall to let boats pass from one waterway to another. We needed to walk over the lock to continue on toward Ft Augustus.  I took the opportunity to stop into the lock masters office and verify directions as my phone and its maps were still dead. Here was again the generosity of the Scottish people. Once I explained what we were doing, the nice lady not only confirmed we were pointed in the right direction, she got us maps, and gave us directions to a great place to have breakfast sandwiches in Invergarry just up the canal.

The lock opening into Loch Lochy (above)

 The path up the canal was in a very nice forest of trees with the canal on the left, we got to see several large boats coming down the canal.

We followed the directions to the Well of the Seven Heads Store and the husband and wife owners who actually live above the store. This store turned out to be more important than either Vicky or I realized when we arrived. This was day 4 with some very tough days for Vicky, we had now been out longer than Vicky had ever been out and done more miles than she had ever done before and coupled, I think, with some home sickness for the kids and dogs she broke down a bit and cried. 
 I have encountered these emotions before, as I think most people that hike long distances do, mine usually comes on the 3rd day. We talked it out, but nothing helps to improve your mood like food and company. We had bacon and sausage rolls, soda, chips, candy and  ice cream.... all the essentials. In addition the proprietress and Vicky hit is off and started a running conversation. Another women to have a conversation with was very helpful.  They even let me charge my phone while we ate. So we stayed, rested. talked and ate while my phone charged. Vicky bought and mailed some postcards and we indulged in one of our favorite past times- people watching. As cars, buses, cyclists came and went from the shop. Occasionally Vicky would answer questions about why were there and what we were doing with our backpacks in Scotland

90 minutes later- Therapy successful we left refreshed and feeling much better. We crossed back over the A82 to get back on the Great Glen Way and had fun the rest of the afternoon following this easy and scenic path toward Ft Augustus. We passed several couples out for walks and stopped to talk to each about our trip and theirs and share the experience of being outside in a beautiful country.


An abandoned depot station (above) 
The Great Glen Way follows the path of an abandoned railway line, we have something very similar right near our home called the Katy Trail. It is a 240 mile scenic hike and bike trail made from an abandon railway line that follows the Missouri River through more than half of Missouri.


We passed through the Aberchalder Estate with many sheep and new lambs.
the last section before Ft Augustus is the Caledonian Canal. We got to watch the lock swing open and close for a boat just as we arrived. We stopped to talk to the Lock Master as he operated the controls and while we both speak the same language Vicky and I smiled at each other that we only picked up about one in every five words of his Scottish brogue.

 The day had brightened considerably and the walk down the canal was very nice, if a little hard on the feet as this section was a very hard and compacted surface.

This section was great therapy for the first two days as we just walked and enjoyed the lovely scenery of the hills and flowers blooming. 


We particularly liked the lock residences. They all seem to be very well maintained/ restored and we both could see ourselves living in a cottage by a lock.


We arrived back in Ft.Augustus. I say back as we were here 22 years ago and stayed at the Lovett Arms, Now called just the Lovet (as it has been turned into some kind of sappy romantic retreat....)

This time we stayed at the Abbey Cottage B&B. Paul, one of the owners went out of his way to help me with a problem I discovered when I arrived. Apparently I had left my iphone on a bench at the Kytra Lock about two miles back up the canal.  Paul drove me back up the lock side path to find that my phone was indeed still sitting on the bench and even though many people both walking and biking had past that way, no one had bothered it.... amazing.

The Abby B&B- We had sent ourselves a food box when we arrived in Glasgow on Wednesday but the Royal Mail, like the US Postal Service did not deliver it by the time we arrived in Ft.Augustus. After a couple of showers and a lie down on a comfortable bed, it didn't matter! A quick trip to the grocery store/gas station and it was all sorted out.
The Lock Inn (Below) turned out to be the place that challengers meet that evening and the food was excellent.


Proper fish and chips for Vicky and I, some Haggis for one of our two dinner companions. We have run into Vicky and Toby off and on since Mallaig and they are delightful (if a very young 25) couple. We enjoyed their company several more times for the remainder of the trip.
This night would see 80% of the Americans (8/10), on the TGO, in Ft Augustus and 6 of them would be in the grocery store the next morning at the same time!
A big meal, a couple of pints of Guinness and off to bed.

 Ft Augustus in the evening light- 
A day of emotional swings that ended extremely well.

Day 4
15 miles in 7 hours of walking and 9 hours total with brunch in Invergarry.
Highly Recommended:
The Well of the Seven Heads Store on the A82
Abbey B&B
Lock Inn Restaurant

Elevation profile for day 4


3 comments:

  1. What a lovely day.
    Aren't people wonderful?
    A heartening tale.
    :-)

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    Replies
    1. I might have entitled this day "the kindness of others" but that is reserved for Day 5- stay tuned

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  2. A well earned goal reached. It's a shame your food package wasn't waiting for you but great to have your phone back! I'm sure the food, shower and bed were amazing! A well deserved treat!

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