August 14 – Following a lovely breakfast of salmon and scrambled eggs, we returned to the trail. We are still following alongside the Caledonian Canal, which has locks between the lochs. Today we leave the shore and move up into the hills along – wait for it – Loch Lochy. I am shaking my old gray locks at that one…
We contemplate our mortality:
There is logging in this area, and the construction of a hydroelectric project that necessitated rerouting of the trail.
We see two kayaks through a break in the trees:
We continue to climb – can you still see the kayak in the pic below?
Here is the brand new trail, paid for by the hydroelectric company.
The day started to turn gray. We sat down to eat our lunch and were immediately beset by midges. We put on our head nets and brought our sandwiches under the nets so we could eat.
As we resumed our walk it started to rain – the first rain we’ve seen in weeks, so no complaints. We found our way down to Laggan locks, and called our guesthouse hosts who came right down to pick us up.
Lorraine and Laura are from England, and have owned their guesthouse for five years. They love what they do, and made us feel so welcome; fixing us dinner and even running our laundry through the washer and dryer. We had a wonderful evening.
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 trail starts at the ruins of old Fort William, built in 1690:
We looked down on the ruins of Inverlochy Castle in the distance.
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.
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 only met one other walking couple today. Quite a change from the busy West Highland Way!
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.