These next two days are the tough ones, not because they are long, which they are, but because they are not going east. In order to get us up to the north coast of Scotland we now need to turn north from Drumnadrochkit and spend almost two days walking north, in essence wasting time from getting to the east coast. In a normal Challenge we would continue to head east and this would allow us a day off in the last week where we could just sit all day and rest up, but with this transition we have no days off for the entire fourteen days and have to keep moving to get to the east coast on time. In addition when you head west to east the scenery changes daily, going north we will have sort of the same scenery for two days. Today as you can see from the elevation profile below there is a big climb coming out of Drumnadrochit and then another climb which is slow and steady to the highest point on the Great Glen Way trail we will be on all day today.
Breakfast was great with a change of pace from the traditional Scottish breakfast we have had everyday, we had french toast today. The view was better as well. If you compare this view to the one yesterday with the rainbow you can see they are the same except now you can actually see Loch Ness as opposed it being complete obscured.
The advantage of being out of town at our B&B was that it is in the direction we are going, so we only had to walk a quarter of a mile to get back on the trail. Below you can see Urguhart Castle. We had last seen the castle some 23 years ago.
Today is going to be spent entirely on the Great Glen Way. This is one of Scotland established scenic trails
The trail is 80 miles from Ft William to Inverness. The trail was dedicated in 2002. Today we are doing the last and considered the "hardest" section from Drum to Inverness (17 miles)
Panorama shot of Loch Ness from an overlook on the GGW
This section of the GGW is forest walking, then some open water shed area with no trees and then some mixed use area. There is a forest called Abriachan and it is owned by a rather wild couple that have a home in the middle. As it was explained to us, after they bought the land they couldn't keep the trail from being placed on their property so they have opened a kind of campground/cafe. Not really more than a shack but they advertise it all up and down the forest track on their property and if you go up they will make you a hot drink and give you some biscuits (cookies)
Vicky taking a break on the "veranda" of the cafe
While we were waiting for our hot drinks we got visited by the local chickens that roam free. There are also a few pigs on the property somewhere- thankfully we didn't run into them. However the chicken did manage to steal one of Vicky's shortbread biscuits right off the top of the table.
After our rest and hot drinks we carried on toward Inverness. Along the way we ran into Willem Fox and his hiking partner sitting along the side of the road and taking a break. Willem and I are facebook friends and he is from the Netherlands. He had been very supportive of Vicky and her knee injury last year and it is so amazing that you can just run across people you know out in the middle of nowhere on the challenge. We chatted and walked for awhile, they were going into Inverness as well but taking the lower route along the Caledonia canal while we were staying on the more official route of the GGW.
The sun again appeared as Inverness came into view from above. A pretty little pond greats you as you come out of the forest and walk along a ridge where you can see the city below.
Coming into the city you drop down to walk along the Caledonia Canal and the River Ness
The Great Glen Way ends (starts) at Inverness Castle in the middle of downtown Inverness, so we still had some 3.5 miles to walk after we saw Inverness on the hill for the first time. I know this is the part Vicky likes the least! We have arrived at the end of the day, but the day seems to go on forever....
The view from our bedroom window of Inverness Castle. Not bad neighbors, but they keep all the lights on at night!