We had a late start the following morning with a lovely breakfast of bacon, eggs, bread, brie and tomato. Yum. We then went and did some shopping (including gaiters and food supplies for my next trip) then Scott and his friend headed back to Durness. I did some washing, sorted my food supplies then took the bus into town for some dinner. I walked around for a while, looking at all the restaurants and pubs in the town centre. I finally settled on a place called The Gellions, which had a band called Schiehallion (which is also the name of a hill south of Glen Roy) playing later on. I wasn’t sure if I’d stay awake long enough to see the band but ended up sharing my table with another lady from Perth (!) whose conversation kept me entertained and awake. The band was quite good, although a bit loud, and it was nice to have some live music. I did get a taxi home in between sets though as I was getting very tired!
I actually had a proper “2 days” off this time, so had another day to kill in Inverness. After days of glorious sunshine today was back to being grey and drizzly!
I did most of my trip preparation (charging, sorting, pre-packing, checking on stalking) then got the bus into town for a wander around. I walked up some random steps, past the ‘castle’ (law courts?) then found the official end to the Great Glen Way. I hadn’t ever found the official start in Fort William, and had not bothered to find the end on Tuesday!
I looked at some war memorials, walked across the Ness Islands again then back down the river to the Friar’s Bridge then back into town. I had some lovely churros and hot chocolate, picked up a bit more food for my trip and found a good little book of walks in the North West (day, or few hour walks).
Scott arrived back in Inverness mid arvo and we went out to Fort George to have a look around. This is an old Star Fort (similar design to Charles Fort in Kinsale, Ireland which I’ve also been to) but is actually still in active use as a military base. We walked around the entire fort, including me running to the end of every single little turret, but eventually got herded out as it was closing. The rain was also starting so it was not a bad time to leave.
We picked up some pizza, wine and beer and went back to the flat to watch a movie. Then bedtime. Big day tomorrow!
While I was here I also took some super-duper-kill-everything-antibiotic tablet things that I had left over from a trip to Egypt several years ago. I had brought them over with me but left them in my suitcase when I went walking! Luckily they did the job and my digestive system was all fine again by Thursday. Yay!!
I also gave my pottery bowl to Scott to take with him so it would be safe and sound until I finished walking.
I feel like I should do a bit of a summary of the Great Glen Way. It is a good walk, but not nearly as good as the WHW. There are some bits that are fantastic and there a lot more options for historical/cultural education on the way. However there are large sections that are fairly mundane (as much as walking through the Great Glen could ever be mundane!). The pine forest sections have limited views, and very little wildlife or native vegetation. The roads through these sections are also usually built for log trucks so are wide, hard and a bit boring. The canal paths are pretty but are quite exposed (in rain, or hot weather) and the paths themselves are again wide, hard and boring. You might be getting the idea by now that I like some variation in my paths – lumps and bumps, twists and turns, some rocks, softer dirt underfoot and the feel of the trees and shrubs close by. The new high section is really lovely, as were some other “smaller path” sections. The section along Loch Oich is also quite lovely, even though it is flat and straight on an old railway track. The GGW is partly set up for cycling along and I can see how it would be amazing for this. Unfortunately part of what makes it great for that also makes it less exciting and enjoyable for walking. I’m probably being a bit unkind to the GGW, but after starting on the WHW (which is an amazing walk), it is hard not to make detrimental comparisons. It was pleasant and very accessible (ie anyone could do it) but I wouldn’t recommend it to an experienced hiker who wanted an interesting, challenging walk.