LEJOG57: South Laggan to Fort Augustus

Today was a weird day for several reasons.
Firstly my mum had to return to the real world in the morning. The weather was still lovely and I can imagine it must have been quite a wrench to leave the peace and quiet. However, she’s coming back up in about a weeks time for the end of the walk, so it was hardly a big goodbye. I was seeing her sooner than I would if I was back in London.

Secondly because of the lack of consistent campsites across the great glen way I was walking less than 10 miles today but over twenty the following day. To try and use my time wisely I stayed in the hostel until mid-day catching up on the blog posts I’d been neglecting while my mum was around. It was just as sunny but a lot breezier as I sat outside on a wooden bench pourin over the west highland way maps remembering the main points of a few days previous. There was nobody else in the hostel which, combined with the calmness of the area, almost put me into a zen trance of tranquility.

Eventually I set off. The first half of the day led across Loch Olich, a nice enough but relatively small lake. At one point a group of cyclists wizzed past, and one had a set of speakers playing the phased synthesizer intro to Baba Riley. I thought it was quite cool-the music didn’t intrude because it could only take up a small amount of space in in the middle of almost endless quiet.

I stopped at the Lock which marked re re-emergence of the Caledonian canal. The hills weren’t as steep or high as yesterday but this actually increased the sense of space around you. I was real starting to like the Great Glen Way because of this. It calmed me and helped pull me towards my goal without being or feeling hectic or forced.

The path then run between the canal and the original river which connected Loch Olich to the next and final Lake before the path met the coast, the mighty Loch Ness. My nights stop was at Fort Augustus, a little town built around the series of large Locks which connected Ness to the canal. There were quite a few yachts going through all at the same time as each lock was big enough to accomodate almost six of them in one go. The yachts appeared to come from all over, I supposed because the canal created quite a convenient way to move between the north sea and Atlantic. Fort Augustus had an equally international group of tourists, all drawn I expect by the allure of Loch Ness.

I got to the Campsite and set up my tent, whch leads to the third weird thing about today. It’s the last time I’ll be sleeping in Hilly, my little 1-man tent. From tomorrow night Jenna will be joining me for the last week or so and I’ll be in a much bigger, and I hope less susceptible to condensation, tent. It doesn’t feel weird because I’ve not slept in Hilly every single night, having kipped in homes, hostels and B&Bs along the way. In fact I’m looking forward to not having to put the tent up all the time and not waking to find a glistening layer of moisture slowly dripping through the gossmer thin yellow fabric of the inner tent. However it does signify the end of something, which is probably why I’m trying to avoid ascribing some symbolic value to the change because it means focusing on the fact that my trip is soon finishing. Instead I want to focus on what places I have still to visit.

So after getting fish and chips from the lovely take-away by the locks I moved up to a bench by the mouth of the canal looking right down Loch Ness and caught up on the blog.

Which is where I am now. Loch Ness is very long, so long I can’t see the end in the late evening haze. I can see a series of rocky and tree filled hills on either side stretching out into the distance, getting smaller, less distinct and more blue the further they go back. However these are still small in comparison with the shimmering rippling water below them and the huge sky above. I would stay here longer and watching the changing scene as the light dims but to be honest it’s getting a bit nippy and it’ll still be there tomorrow when I come back, although maybe not looking as peaceful as it does now.


Sent from my iPhone



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