August 22 – Now that our hike is over, we are taking it easy today, strolling slowly and seeing the sights of Inverness. Lots of beautiful architecture.
Leakey’s Book Shop, opened in 1979 in an old Gaelic church, is the largest second hand bookstore in Scotland. It is packed full of old paperbacks, hardcovers, maps and prints, and you can still see some of the stained glass windows.
We visited the Inverness Cathedral dedicated to St. Andrew, which felt more like a cozy parish church. It is the northernmost Scottish Episcopal Cathedral in Great Britain., built in 1866.
For Eliese and Janice, the Quilting Kieglers, below is a quilt fashioned in 2020 of scraps left over from making masks during the early days of Covid. Affixed are butterflies honoring parish family members lost to Covid.
I especially liked the crocheted church mice placed all over the church. So cute!
We checked out the Victorian Covered Market, originally built in 1870, burned down, then rebuilt in 1890. It has historical photos down each side.
We ate lunch at the riverside, then walked south to visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens. Lots of gorgeous blooms packed in a small space!
August 20 – Today is our penultimate hiking day. It was pouring down rain when we woke up, but within the hour, the sun broke through. We have had such great weather on this trip.
At breakfast this morning we met Philip and Roger, who are bagging the Munros – climbing to the summit of each of the 282 Scottish mountains over 3000 feet tall. Today, Roger is bagging his 282nd Munro! Congratulations Roger! 🥳
We had to walk a mile along a busy highway, which was no fun but still provided some pastoral views.
Then we started to climb again, for much longer than I like to climb. Today is our highest elevation day.
Then we were out on the moors, with purple heather all around:
As we just don’t walk 20 miles a day, our tour operator split the day for us. We reached our rendezvous spot out in the middle of nowhere, where a taxi was supposed to pick us up, but the taxi driver could not find us. An amusing hour on the phone ensued, (what landmarks do you see? Trees.) until he eventually showed up to take us to our guesthouse in Inverness. We are staying in the Fraser Room (no relation to Jamie.) Tomorrow is our final day!
August 21 – Another beautiful, sunny morning. We enjoyed our last hiker’s breakfast, got into our taxi – this driver knew exactly where to take us – and got back on the trail.
A plaque marked the official end of the Great Glen Way. Unlike the previous hike, there were no other walkers to celebrate with. As we struggled to take a selfie to commemorate the day, a couple at the restaurant across the street stood up and applauded us. We did it!