Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Great Glen Way

(apologies for the length of this entry, but we have been very busy!)

Day One

The start of our 73 mile trek!

After a second ascent of Neptune’s Staircase, we followed the Caledonian Canal to Gairlochy and beyond. We played the first of many A to Z games and met Dog Lady and Old Man Werther’s for the first (and not the last) time.

We wild camped in the forest on the shore of Loch Lochy two miles past Gairlochy, and only one mile past the ever so slightly freaky Lady Boat Wood.

Day Two

Fully porridged up we continued onwards to South Laggan, telling stories of Mildred the Slug and the Magic Waterproof Coat. First sighting of Crazy German Lady. We lunched in a floating pub, joined by some boastful loud mouthed runners (“we’ve just run 25 miles you know, short day for us, easy!”), then arrived shortly after at a very nice hostel just as the drizzle started to worsen – good timing!

We also discovered the first of quite a few ticks, perhaps camping in the long grass the night before was not such a good idea! Final tally: Laura 12; Matt 8; Dan 1; Katy 0.

Day Three

Took a wrong turn early on and accidentally ended up on an alternative part of the Great Glen Way (still signed as the GGW!) which was closed part way along… This resulted in a not so nice stroll for a few miles along the verge of a very busy A82.

Back on track by lunch time we marched on to Fort Augustus, where hearty pub grub awaited us as well as a brief chat with Old Man Werther’s. Party night!

Day Four

Starting to tire but today was going to be a long one, we were reckoning on about 15 miles to just past Altsigh.

We made good time to Invermorrisons for lunch, passing Old Man Werther’s with a stray dog (the last time we would see him).

A beautiful afternoon, and after obtaining water from Altsigh Youth Hostel we began the long ascent through the forest to where we hoped to camp. Laura and Katy started to carry injuries – luckily two sticks, ‘Peter Crouch’ and ‘Emile Hesky’ came to the rescue despite Dan saying they could never work together.

At the top of the long slog awaited a spectacular view of Loch Ness – and Crazy German Lady (CGL) planning to wild camp. We planned on walking a short distance from the top, but spurred on by a serious amount of Midges we had to continue walking. CGL came past, also driven on by the midges. Eventually after a long 18 mile day and after contemplating pushing on for Drumnadrochit we found a suitable camping spot in the forest, ate dinner and hid from the midges in our tent playing cards.

Day Five

A little bit weary after yesterdays long day we carried on to Drumnadrochit for supplies and lunch. We even saw CGL again!

A long slog up through a forest after lunch, eventually we reached the (at one point considered mythical) highest point of the GGW.

Laura and Katy hobbled valiantly towards our goal for the night, a campsite in Abriachan forest, which turned out to be quite an experience itself, reminiscent of the Green Fields of Glastonbury Festival. Rory provided us with expensive tea, Big Red the Skipper brought delicious soup and tales of taking Danny Alexander out on his boat to see some turbines that very afternoon.

Compost toilets, wild porridge eating chickens and a lack of midges made for a very memorable campsite!

Day Six

The final day!

Only 11 miles to go today, and spurred on by the promise of Curry and football and fuelled by cashew nut sandwiches it passed by very quickly.

Our finish was marred by the loud mouthed runners from day two arriving at the exact same moment we did (god knows where they’d been!) and boasting very loudly about something too boring to remember but no doubt very impressive…

A mix up with the hostel booking (don’t ever use hostel bookers.com) meant we ended up in the ‘Albany’ suite of an alternative hostel, sharing an office full of beds with some Rock Ness Festival-goers and a dishwasher.

Rubbish football, great curry, bed. (but not much sleep, except for Dan!)

So on Sunday, we had breakfast, wandered round Inverness then said our goodbyes. Katy and Dan flying back to London and Laura and I bussing back to Fort William (along the GGW!), picking up our car and retracing our route for a third time before heading on to Ullapool.

Back to the WWOOFing!

Yesterday we took the ferry to Stornoway and drove on to the far west coast of Lewis to begin our next WWOOFing experience.

So far: Basking sharks spotted (a first for both of us) in the bay and an ever so slightly bizarre trip to the top of a hill to see a spectacular view accompanied by Christmas songs. First impressions are good, great food and a big variety of animals - has the potential to be rather interesting…

Today we turned and cut peat and had lunch in Mangersta Bothy, a stunning location and a delicious lunch!


  1. Well aren't you all amazing! Shame about the ticks, they are definately in my top 10 least favourite creatures, poor Laura - how did you cope with having 12 of them as pets????

    looking forward to living more vicarious adventures up north with you both :o) big smiles, natalia xx

  2. Wow, so impressed. And very jealous of your being on Lewis, if not the trek. Told Julie about the sharks and she is currently informing June on the migration patterns of marine creatures... :) xx

  3. Oh my goodness sounds amazing. I'm as jealous as the others. Great photos too. Take care lovelies, Kelly (Sidg - using my Dad's log-in or something?!) x x x