Boston Group on Great Glen Way
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For our second long distance walk in Scotland we decided we would walk the Great Glen Way, to carry on where we finished the West Highland Way in 2007.
We travelled by train, on arriving at Glasgow Central Station we changed for Queen Street Station to catch the West Highland Line train to Fort William. On the platform it was announced our train would split and on making enquiries about seating we were told not to worry as the driver always leads from the front, (he must have been a rambler).Day 1, Fort William to Gairlochy
At last we were on our way, stopping to have the mandatory photo at the official start of the walk. Soon we left the urban sprawl of Fort William by a coastal path to the Caledonian Canal. We never left the canal path that day, flanked on one side by the canal and on the other side by the river Lochy. Stopping at the impressive Neptune’s staircase, the different locks on our way, and with the Nevis Range in the back ground which gave us plenty of photo opportunities. To finish off the day we had a walk of 4 miles (3miles uphill) to our B&B at Spean Bridge, this was planned so we could visit the Commandoes Memorial.
Day 2, Gairlochy to North Laggan
Day two started with a lift back to Gairlochy Bottom Lock. It was different terrain today with a road walk uphill away from the loch, then a path taking us higher still only to drop down again crossing the road for a deep descent down the loch side for a scenic view across Loch Lochy. Along this section by the loch the local people have created a fairy forest by decorating the pine trees with scenes from fairy tales. We joined a forest track resembling an arboretum with beech, different species of pines, dominated by giant redwoods. We reached Laggan Lock, here we stopped at the Eagle, a floating restaurant converted from a Dutch cargo vessel. Refreshed we followed a grass track beside the canal to the A82, a walk of 1mile along this busy road took us to our B&B, ending a rewarding days walk.
Day 3, North Laggan to Fort Augustus.
We rejoined the trail again at North Lagan Swing Bridge, to eventually come to an old railway bed. After a while we changed track to an old military road that was pushed through in 1725 by General Wade. There were good views of Loch Oich with the ruins of Invergarry Castle also a concrete arch supporting the rail track and cast iron viaducts to carry water over the old line. We met two walkers one of them a vicar, we asked if they were walking the GGW to Fort William, they informed us they will be stopping there as they are going all the way. John O Groats to Lands End in aid of deprived children. It was time to dig into our pockets for a donation, to admire their effort to help others and for us to put the GGW into perspective.
Our way led to a loch side path to Aberchalder Swing Bridge and a visit to the old Bridge of Oich. Then we followed the track beside the Caledonion Canal crossing over at Cullochy Locks for the opposite track to Kytra Locks. At the locks we met a lady from Tasmania, who was walking the GGW and the WHW, having 6 weeks on Iona and then walking Offa’s Dyke before going home. We carried on to Fort Augustus and spent some time there, watching the boats come through the five locks from Loch Ness.
Day 4. Fort Augustus to Invermoriston
Setting out for today’s short walk we turned on to a steep uphill path through tall stately pines, at the top it was a gentler track back down hill to the main road. Along the track there are good views over the head of Loch Ness near Fort Augustus. As we walked constantly uphill and down hill we had some good views over the young trees across Loch Ness and the rugged hill of Beinn a’ Bhacaidh. On our descent there were more views and a small waterfall, coupled with a few climbs and descents and rocky outcrops before the final steep descent to the narrow road that leads into Invermoriston crossing over one of Telford’s bridges.
Day 5. Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit.
On our way again on the Skye Road we passed the last clog shop before Skye here we turned along a very steep and narrow zig-zag road, up the side of the hill densely wooded with beech, oak, sycamore and birch until we levelled out along a forest track. We passed a stone cave, reputed to have been built to shelter a washerwoman on her frequent journeys between Alltsigh and Invermoriston the track was up and down. The descent was along undulating tracks and narrow forest paths, we stopped for lunch at the site of an ancient fort called Dun Scriben. Then we walked along a road for 250 m through heather moorland and cultivated pastures before dropping steeply through a wooded area through the Clunebeg Estate to the River Coiltie, and the village of Lewiston to reach Drumnadrochit and Tramps our B&B for the night. As there were no suitable eating-places within walking distance, Mary the landlady called the Clansman Hotel on the side of Loch Ness, who sent transport for us and then returned us to Tramps. Mary treated us like royalty, Tramps is a must stay again place.
Day 6, Black Fold, back to Drumnadrochit.
Today we had a taxi arranged for 9.15am to transport us to Black Fold, and then walk back to Drumnadrochit. There was no accommodation at Black Fold.The walk back started along a path through copses of spruce and scot pine then over the heather laden moor to a forest trail. This forest area belongs to and is managed by the local community. We did a detour from the trail to make a brief visit to a tree house and a recreated Stone Age settlement. Then finding our way back to the official route we followed the forest track again giving us great views of the snow capped mountains in the distance. We made a photo stop at the highest point of the Great Glen Way at 380 meters, this seemed to represent that we had reached a milestone on the walk and a misbelief feeling that it was downhill for the rest of the walk. Coming to a farm we made a detour around a lambing field and missed a lamb being born by a matter of minutes. We came to the road by the John Cobb jetty this was were he started his ill fated world record attempt from. Following the road through Drumnadrochet and a stop off for a well deserved ice cream and then back to Tramps our B&B.
Day 7, Black Fold to Inverness
The taxi arrived at 9.30am to take us to Black Fold for the last days walk. Dropping us off we started the walk through the woods in sunshine and the never ending bird song. Making our way along an old drover’s road we had the first glimpses of Inverness. The last downhill path went by an old hospital then onward to the Caledonian Canal, with the pleasure boats and sailing craft coming and going though the locks. Then there was a walk along the River Ness to the castle and the finish of the walk.
We were very lucky to have perfect weather and very good accommodation, we used a company called Easyways who book the accommodation and arranged our baggage transfer
Sheila and Norman Pratt.