Date walked: 12/10/2012
Time taken: 3 days
Distance: 117 km
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I started in Inverness a Friday at 15:30 as that was the earliest I could get there with work and trains. I had arranged to meet up with my family in FW on the Monday around 16:00 so I knew I needed to push on a bit this first day to not leave too much for the last day. As I travelled up from Edinburgh on the train all the rivers looked ominous as there had obviously been loads of rain.
There was constant rain for the whole of that first section but I still enjoyed it, quite a good view of Invernesss as I climbed away from it. I had hoped to get to somewhere about Loch Laide and as it was I was just short of that when I stopped for the night. I was hammock camping so there were plenty of options but I ended up just off the road section near the Caplich Prehistoric Settlement. I think I must have missed the path turn off in the dark while looking for suitable trees on the left side of the road as when I set off the next morning the Loch was on my right hand side and I realised I had missed the turn, I just carried on down the road and then doubled back to the loch. The lochside looked a much better camping option and I vowed to pick better options the next 2 nights and just stop before dark if good options appeared. I enjoyed the climb from the loch with the prospect of finally seeing Loch Ness which did not dissapoint and I pushed on to Drumnadrochit for a good lunch in the green cafe. The whole day was overcast and had occasional drizzle but was not bad but for a couple of hours after lunch I was a bit stiff and sore so my pace was down and I was starting to think I might have to bail out to complete on time. Fortunately I loosened up and got back on pace to finish up with a nice hang in the trees just above Invermoriston just as it was getting dark. Up with the light again I had a couple of delicious bacon and cheese pastries in the shop and set off at a reasonable pace again. The sun was appearing now and again which was great and I was enjoying the views. I hit Fort Augustus for another hearty lunch but this time did not struggle so much to get going, the easy going along the canal helped. Loch Oich was good but I'd set my hopes on getting some scones or something at the watertsports centre as a reward at the far end. I was a bit miffed to find only a restuarant which did not appear to be doing anything like that so I pushed on. One short canal section later and all was good as the excellent cafe/pub barge was open so I got my treat there. There was some excellent live music and I would have loved to have dallied but I knew I wanted to get some of Loch Lochy out of the way. I stopped at the excellent wild camping spot with about 30 mins of light left for the best hang of the trip. The last day was a cracker with a bit of mist/inversion clearing and the Ben finally appearing. I loved the path section at the end of Loch Lochy and made a mental note to do that one with my family some time. I got to the final canal section earlier than expected as I had arranged to meet my family at Neptunes Staircase at 15:00 to unload some of my gear and for my kids to join me on the last bit. I should have mentiond I'm from Fort William originally hence me doing the walk this way round and the last bit would be part of my walk home from school. Since I got to the meeting point at 14:00 I could either wait an hour or push on and finish before my start time of 15:30 so I could say I'd done it in 3 days (technically.) I am not one for hanging about so onwards it was to finish about 15:00, I cheated by just going through Caol but my feet were a bit bashed up by this stage. I was wearing barefoot running shoes which had them very tender, I'm not sure if boots would have been better. My family were there at the old fort with a present of a bar of soap for me and I had a little MacDonalds treat to finish the experience.