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Walk the GGW first long distance walk

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:22 pm
by Jimmytx55
My husband and I chose to walk thr GGW and started planning in March to walk in June my advice to anyone who long distance walks for the first time is to research carefully read forums and talk to anyone who has done it. As beginners we had no set idea of what to expect and were not hard set on doing the whole walk
We planned to fly to Inverness and bus to Fort William but a friend travelled with us, hired a car & drove we had lunch bought some supplies and set off

Fort William to Gairlochy - An walk from the train station past Morrissons and Lidl through a housing estate across the romantic sounding soldiers bridge which is in fact a rickety wooden bridge over a railway line and a walk that takes you around the outside of the estate past the shinty club to the start of the canal in afternoon sunshine the canal was lovely but others we spoke to on the walk caught the train to corpach and missed out the tedious walk around the outskirts of town
Neptunes staircase is amazing & the cafe there was a welcome break for a cold drink and then carried on but the walk did seem endless on the hard path we were very happy to see the phone box,we wore trainers having read reports but walking shoes would have been better, we stayed at an air B&B which was brilliant, Margaret sent us directions and made us most welcome on arrival and provided a great breakfast in the morning

Gairlochy to Laggan - we set off the next day with a swing in our step a bit of a climb we followed the water in a pleasant walk and across some roads but some of the forest walks seemed endless and paths again hard under foot,arrival at Laggan Locks was a welcome sight. we booked into Forest Lodge which was a short walk through a wooded path followed by an slightly scarey walk along the main road but the welcome was very warm and they could not do enough for us a nice comfortable clean room with a great shower. We had booked on advice, to eat at The Eagle Inn barge and could have had a lift there and back to avoid the main road on the way back, my advice would be to book a meal in advance either at The Eagle or you will have to hover in a small space waiting to get a bar menu meal or at Forest Lodge as there is nothing else around but if you eat at The Eagle mind the midges! Breakfast next day was lovely and the packed lunch healthy and filling & included a home made cake they could not have done more for us.

Laggan to Fort Augustus - here we went off piste and our friends with the car picked us up and instead of walking we took a boat trip in Fort William, then caught a bus to the swing bridge and walked about 6 miles to Fort Augustus where we sat outside The Lock Inn and watched the boats on the locks, we also ate there and the food was very good from there we went to Morags Lodge which as a hostel was as expected, greeted by an Australian shown to a basic but clean room with another good shower, breakfast was again basic but plentyful and we set of again

Fort Augustus to Invermoriston - This was our favourite section of the walk, we took the high route which was a very steep climb in places which was rewarded by fantastic views once up the walk was very pleasant undulating terrain although the descent was also very steep at times which we felt in our knees, the walk at the end of the path was short and Invermoriston is well sign posted, we arrived early to book into the B&B so found the excellent Glen Rowan cafe a very welcoming spot tea and water produced in quick order followed by hearty portions of food although other walkers recommended the soup and sandwiches the cakes also looked good, the two ladies in the cafe were very pleasant and said we could stay as long as we wanted . The B&B Craik Na Dav was also our favourite accomodation of the trip , the "girls" could not have been more welcoming or helpful, full of advice & information and an offer of tea and homemade cake, our room was lovely, spotlessly clean ,comfortable and again a great shower, we ate at the local hotel where we had been advised to book in advance by the "girls",I would recommend booking a bar meal rather than the restaurant, then back to the B&B for a drop of whiskey and shortbread,sothoughtfully provided in the room, Breakfast was fantastic with homemade jam and as much as you could possibly eat all surrounded by birds and wild life we didn't want to leave.

Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit - we chose to take the low route after the previous day and enjoyed another pleasant days walk until the end , once you leave the wooded area you walk along the road for what seems like miles and then when you seen Drum you are directed around the town through more woodland paths then hard paths and through the town, our B&B was at the end of the town past Nessieland and by that time my feet were killing me even after a nap they still hurt walking out for something to eat the B&B was nice clean and the most comfortable bed of the week, a continental breakfast which made a welcome change after all the fried the owner was helpful and attentive.

Drumnadrochit to Inverness - Here we really went off piste we just could not face a 20+ mile walk and the weather was closing in so we booked a taxi to take us half way this meant we missed out on the road walking and the climb, we joined as the path crossed moorland into woods and despite wind and rain really enjoyed the walk nice soft wooded paths and as we approached Inverness we joined the Caledonian canal for the last time, some city underpasses made safe if uninspiring walking but as we crossed the river over the islands we were pleasantly surprised to enter the city via a public path with flowers statues and bridges and lots of inviting looking bars and cafes a bit of a climb to the castle which is quite well hidden till you get to it and at last the end of the walk tired but pleased with ourselves we arranged to meet fellow walkers for a drink in the evening separated to find our last B&B Market Brae which was not far from the castle just a few minuets away again it was clean and comfortable Paul was a welcoming host who seemed happy to recommend trips etc, our rom was small but had a large bathroom and was clean and comfortable breakfast was good with nice fruit and yoghurt available as well as the fried.

So if you want to do the walk we say do it, it's great, you will be tired, your feet will ache but you will meet nice people on the walk (you see the same faces again and again) and you will feel a sense of achievement. Do check where and how far the accomodation is from the end of the walk each day, when you have just walked 13 miles or so another mile and a half can seem endless, some holiday companies will arrange to pick you up and drop you back in the morning. Baggage handling is also important, don't try to carry your stuff first time you long distance walk, it makes it harder than you can imagine, if you book it yourself like we did Phill at Great Glen Baggage was great, he kept in touch via text through the week, we cannot fault the service he provided.

Unfortunately for us once in Inverness our flight was cancelled and we were taxied to Glasgow for a flight the following day, which took the shine off our trip a little, however it was a great experience, maybe not this year but we will be back to do another!