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Great Glen Way with the sun every day

Great Glen Way with the sun every day


Postby raykilhams » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:30 pm

Route description: Great Glen Way

Date walked: 31/03/2013

Time taken: 4

Distance: 128 km

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We had decided to walk The GGW in four days over the Easter break ( my idea was to camp but with the weather we've had on the east coast just lately Arlene decided BandBs might be the more comfortable option , wife knows best) , so we set off on Saturday 30th March from Forfar , driving our way across to Fort W . The weather looked good and the roads were all clear , in fact it appeared that hardly any snow had fallen on the lower ground past Blairgowrie. We stopped just before Loch Laggan for coffee and enjoyed the stunning scenery , taking a couple of pics and then driving on to FW . Left the car in the long term car park ( free this time of year) and caught the Citylink bus to Inverness , which took about two hours. We then found our BandB(Kinloch Lodge) for the night , dropped our backpacks off and had a wander.
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Loch Laggan

Day 1
Inverness to Drumnadrochit
Woke up to a glorious sunny day , light frost on the ground with temps about -1C. After a hearty breakfast we left our BandB about 9am and began walking to Inverness Castle to start the GGW. After a couple of mins we were there and then we were off at a brisk pace ( quite cold in the shade so had gloves plus trapper hat on :shock: ...... plus of course other clothing...don't want to give you the wrong idea :lol: ). By the time we reached Creag Dunain Hospital it was starting to warm up so the gloves and hat came off and the jacket zipped open. The sun was rising fast in a clear blue sky , the birds were singing and the air was fresh , we saw wrens, chaffinches , bullfinches and heard the hammering of woodpeckers ( saw one the next day) , what a day to be out. We carried on past Dunain Hill eventually coming to the path just above Blackford where we past a number of cyclists and the odd walker ( plenty of those about...odd). It was on this section of path that we saw a pair of Red Kites displaying in the sky above us , what a magnificent sight , the colours were amazing. Stopped for lunch at 1:30pm to give the legs a rest and have a brew up , then marched off towards Drum. We made our way through woodland until finally descending toward Drum. , getting good views of Urquart Castle. After reaching Drum. I popped into shop and bought a bottle of wine and chocs , which we enjoyed at our BandB for the night.
An enjoyable first days walk , weather good ( ground dry as a bone) and really good BandB . A bit tired at the end of the day , we had walked nearly 22 miles and hadn't walked that far since last Oct., so legs complained. Only expected to walk 20 , so bear in mind when walking GGW written distance not always the same as walking. Spent the night at Tramps BandB which was excellent and can recommend.
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Starting point , Inverness Castle
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Distant snow covered hills
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Blue Skies
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Forest path
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Almost at Loch Ness
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First good view of Ness


Day 2
Drumnadrochit to Invermosriston
Today the weather looked fantastic , not a cloud in the azzure blue sky with the sun beating down. Legs felt a bit tired but nothing to worry about. Had breakfast ( huge ) got dressed up , boots on , backpack hauled on and off we went ( landlady impressed that we were carrying our gear , she told us that well over 90% of walkers on GGW used baggage services...... at the end of the day I could see the sense in that). Had to walk back into Lewiston from BandB as there's no longer a bridge over the burn near the far end of Balmacaan Road ( take note if you plan to stay at that end of town , as OS does show a bridge , alas it's not there...just means another quarter of a mile walking).
After walking up the hill through the woodland we came to the road that goes between Lewiston and Grotaig , walking along it for several miles (tarmac roads are not my forte , although there were sections of path to the side of the road). It has to be said we had great views of the snow covered mountains in the distance , it felt great to be alive. Once we had reached Grotaig it was just a short walk to the path aboth Loch Ness . It was good to be on the path where every so often we had glimpses of the Loch , but as others have said before , not enough breaks in the trees to get good views of the Loch. We stopped for lunch at a spot where there was an opening in the trees , giving us a fine vista of the water , the tree covered slopes on the far bank and the majestic snow covered hills . We noticed in the distance quite a number of fires( or one large one)on the far side , with smoke ascending , slightly changing the clear blue sky ahead to a smokey blue colour , later on in the afternoon as the sun shone through the light smokey sky it gave off an orange tinge light as it does at sunset, making the ground , the trees and us look slightly orangey , weird but strangely quite beautiful ( tangoed comes to mind). We had a great days walking again but one thing I can't omit was the Temp. When we stopped for lunch I checked it and it was 18C , an hour later it hit 20C and every thing was coming off , it was like a different country from what we had been experiencing on the East Coast. Mind you by the time we reached Invermoriston it was down to 6C.
Stayed at Darroch View BandB for the night , once again can recommend it , and also had a meal in the hotel there and a soul revivinf pint of Guiness.
It was at this point I seriously thought about using a baggage service , I even phoned a couple but got no answer ....oh well just keep going.
Walked nearly 16 miles today ( I know the books say 14 , but even our landlady said they're wrong).
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Ready to go
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Long and winding (tarmac) road.
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Long Ness
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Invermoriston not too far


Day 3

Invermoriston to South Laggan

Once again the sun was shining and we were raring to go , the legs had by now been broken in although the backpack felt heavier. Early morning temp. -7C ( but I love a cold crisp morning).
We set off just after nine hoping to get to Fort Augustus about 12-00 , for coffee and cake. The going was easy and every so often along the path we would come across frozen frog spawn and strings of newt spawn in the small water gullies at the side of the path , that is where there was water ( very little about).
Quite a pleasant walk to FA , and even passed by a number of walkers going in the other direction , didn't see too many even though the weather was superb , maybe waiting for warmer months. We noticed a fair bit of forestry work going on , but being holiday time no work being done but plenty of wood piles( we were told by landlady at Invermoriston that ocasionally walkers will be diverted when works are on , so be aware of that , might have either further to walk or a wait to be escorted through).
Arrived at FA just before 12-00 and went in restaurant for cakes and tea ,and then walked down to canal took a look at the lock and then followed canal path to Loch Oich, had tea in the tea room located there. Enjoyed the walk alongside the Loch with some picturesque views. We came across a composting toilet just off the path but it was locked much to Arlenes annoyance :( , still plenty of trees about). Got to South Laggan about 4-30pm and checked into Great Glen Hostel , it was okay , but I really am a BandB man , unless we're roughing it in a tent.
Walked today 19 miles , fairly easy stuff . Temps got up to 18C, but once again dropped off after 4-00pm.
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Fires across the water
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Through the log piles
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Fort Augustus
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Along the canal
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Loch Oich
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Loch Oich


Day 4
South Laggan to Fort William

Had an earlier start today , to give ourselves a few miles under our belt before taking a break for breakfast. No frost this morning and a few more clouds in the sky but still plenty of blue with the sun breaking through . Once again we noticed how dry the ground was , tinder dry and I could understand how they had had wild fires above Fort William a couple of nights before . Once again we enjoyed the walk alongside The Loch ( Lochy) with views to die for .As with the previous day we came across another composting loo but once again it was locked.much to Arlenes greater annoyance..(don,t worry dear its only 18 miles to FW). As we made our way past Clunes the clouds dispersed and it began to warm up and off came the clothing down to our base layers , this was really spring , in fact there were primroses galore plus lots of daffodils out , unlike the Forfar we had left a few days previously , where we only have a handful out. From Gairlochy we were back on the canal path and after a couple of miles the temp reached the highest for our walk , about 22C and sweat began to trickle down my face. Eventually made it to Neptunes Staircase where we stopped for a well deserved drink , and the temp began to plummet and back on came the clothing , we then walked to where the canal meets the sea loch , and from there followed the long curving shoreline to Fort William. It,s always amazing when you can see your destination , almost grasp it in your hand , and yet it seems unreachable ( or at least takes far longer to reach than you imagine). The legs were feeling it , telling me they had had enough but we just carried on and made it to FW about 7-00pm and it felt freezing , so we jumped in the car , drove to Spean Bridge and got a BandB there , and had a meal and drink in the Hotel.
Next day drove to Oban for a look around and while there saw the whale thats been in the water between Oban and Kerrara for a few days , great sight.
Walked final day S Laggan to FW 23 and a half miles.
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Early morning Lochy
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Coffee stop
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Nevis ahead
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Looking back from Bunarkaig
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From Gairlochy
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Wonder if he will give us a lift

Overal opinion of walk ....enjoyable , plenty of stunning scenery ( but then the sun did shine every day), saw lots of wildlife., always great to be out . Downside ..road walking , . fair bit of canal path walking and at times too much forest walking with not enough clearings in the trees to admire the surrounding country.
Summary ...would I recommend it ..Yes most definately , but would consider baggage service.
Final comment....I,ve looked at 5 descriptions of the GGW and in each one the total length of the walk varies from 70 miles to 80 miles . I believe 80 miles to be the most accurate , so plan with that in mind......unless you know different :)







.
Last edited by raykilhams on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
raykilhams
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Re: Great Glen Way with the sun every day

Postby westcoasthiker » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:54 am

Thanks for the report and photos. We walked the GGW last June in very hot weather and carried all our own gear. After finishing it, I would agree that using a baggage service would have made it more enjoyable. We also carried a GPS so our measurement came out to 79.2miles.
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westcoasthiker
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Re: Great Glen Way with the sun every day

Postby raykilhams » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:01 pm

westcoasthiker wrote:Thanks for the report and photos. We walked the GGW last June in very hot weather and carried all our own gear. After finishing it, I would agree that using a baggage service would have made it more enjoyable. We also carried a GPS so our measurement came out to 79.2miles.

Thanks for that info ... next LDW baggae service then
raykilhams
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Posts: 145
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Re: Great Glen Way with the sun every day

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi raykilhams

I was wondering how you and Mrs raykilhams got on bearing in mind the weather leading up to your walk. Assume you have nicked all the sunshine and left me with the wind and rain for next month :( :( :(

Is there an actual start/finish point at Inverness Castle (if I make it to the end I don't want to find out afterwards I missed the official finish)??

Hardest days/favourite days??

I'm just about to turn your report upside down and read it again so it makes sense starting in Fort William.

Thanks for the report - great info.

PS That's some zoom lens on your camera to be able to photograph Loch Lomond :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Gordie12
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Re: Great Glen Way with the sun every day

Postby raykilhams » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:54 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Hi raykilhams

I was wondering how you and Mrs raykilhams got on bearing in mind the weather leading up to your walk. Assume you have nicked all the sunshine and left me with the wind and rain for next month :( :( :(

Is there an actual start/finish point at Inverness Castle (if I make it to the end I don't want to find out afterwards I missed the official finish)??

Hardest days/favourite days??

I'm just about to turn your report upside down and read it again so it makes sense starting in Fort William.

Thanks for the report - great info.


PS That's some zoom lens on your camera to be able to photograph Loch Lomond :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hi Gordie, just edited my report ....must have Lomond on the brain , thanks for pointing that out.
Glad you enjoyed the report. Let's see if I can answer your questions......first of all the weather was fantastic but you know what the weather's like in Scotland ...you never know what you're going to get. Hopefully it'll be fine for you.
If you look on the pic of Inverness castle above you can just make out a display board on the left hand side , that is the end/start point of the walk. It was actually the end/start point in FW that I had a wee bit of trouble finding , across from the bus station on the other side of the road just up from the roundabout , if that makes any sense.
Hardest day had to be from South Laggan to FW , about 24 and a half miles , my legs were fine until the last 5 miles , although I have walked that far before I think the weight of my backpack was beginning to tell.
Easiest day Drum to Invermoriston , but then it was the shortest in mileage.
Best day ...I think that's not an easy one to answer as each day was different although I did enjoy the first day from Inverness to Drum. You do get a variety of terrain each day but I think because the weather was so good every day, it was just great to be out in it ( don't mean to rub it in). The section between Invermoriston and Laggan had one great benefit and that was Fort Augustus , good tea rooms there (plus cakes), gives you a good breather. You will find something every day that will ( hopefully) make it a good day). We enjoyed each day.
I do think maybe I packed too much and would have found it more enjoyable if I took advantage of the baggage service , buy hey I probably needed the exercise.
Hope that helps a bit , look forward to reading your report later
raykilhams
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Re: Great Glen Way with the sun every day

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:39 pm

Thanks for that......................29 sleeps to go!!!
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