The Great Glen Way – Fort William to Gairlochy

August 13 – This morning we bid adieu to Fort William, and set off to follow the Great Glen Way, which runs northeast for 78 miles to Inverness.

The beginning of the trail

The trail starts at the ruins of old Fort William, built in 1690:

The fort protected Loch Linnhe and the River Nevis

We looked down on the ruins of Inverlochy Castle in the distance.

Old Inverlochy Castle

We walked for a while through the suburbs of Fort William, until we reached the Caledonian Canal. The canal takes advantage of the geological fault that runs across the country up to Inverness. It was built in 1803, and has 29 locks. The first eight locks are called Neptune’s Staircase.

Neptune’s Staircase

We continued to walk for the rest of the day on the canal towpath – perfectly flat. How nice to have no mountains to worry about!

We watched big boats
And small boats
And tiny boats
Lots of bikes, and a retired racehorse named Clive

We only met one other walking couple today. Quite a change from the busy West Highland Way!

Pretty thistles
Cows on the hillside

Before we knew it, we arrived at the bottom lock at Gairlochy, our end point for the day. There is no place to stay here, so our guesthouse host Cameron picked us up and drove us to Spean Bridge, four miles from the trail, where we will be returned after breakfast.

We had dinner at a local restaurant. I was happy to see chicken on the menu – we’ve been eating mostly fish or beef. Chicken Balmoral turned out to be a chicken breast stuffed with – you guessed it – haggis! Very tasty, in a spicy pepper sauce with plenty of veg.

The Scottish food we’ve tried so far has been much spicier overall than we expected; a pleasant surprise. Glad to find so many surprises here.

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