The long walk to finish the Great Glen Way

Route: Stage 6: Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Date walked: 21/11/2018

Time taken: 6.15 hours

Distance: 31.1km

Ascent: 693m

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Well that’s it finally finished, my last section of the Great Glen Way, a bit sad. For various reasons it took me a year longer than planned but that’s life.
I will get my rant over first. This section is just one long walk, mainly on hard packed surfaces and my feet were sore. I had hoped to do this with lightweight boots as a summer walk but ended up in my mountain boots and they were not appropriate. The forecast was for snow showers which thankfully did not arrive. I was under some pressure with the very short daylight, no time for lingering ring en route. But I know my walking speed so was confident even over the long distance.
Sadly after being close to water on all the other sections this one most definitely is not. It is mainly through deforested woodland and open moorland, views limited to inland scenes.
And as for the end of the walk, see later!!
Still, lets concentrate on the walk.

Drumnadrochit and impressive War Memorial
I took the bus to Drumnadrochit where on arrival it was cold and drizzling rain but anticipation helps you ignore these. Beware the first 1.5 miles from here is a pavement walk until you reach the obvious Temple Pier area with a marker post to turn left into the countryside. Interesting information board about John Cobb’s speedboat record attempt, worth an internet search.

Looking back to Urquhart Castle on the peninsula
The track loops up and around houses before becoming a proper track with views back over the water and Urquhart Castle.

Woodland walking
It is now a steep climb through the woods with significant height gain but at least the track is carpeted with pine needles so nice and soft going. Autumn colours still prominent. A bunch of cyclo cross cyclists appear, the only other outdoor people I will meet today, no other walkers at all. Occasional breaks in the trees give brief glimpses of Loch Ness.

Stunning rainbow
As I broke out of the trees a beautiful rainbow started to form, a double showed briefly but cannot get fully formed. The snap does not do the colours justice, it was beautiful.

Deforestation in progress
I came across a forestry worker stacking up the fallen trees and stopped for a brief chat.
At the signpost for Abriachan Forest Walks, despite my time pressures, I chose the diversion route as much to get off the hard track. The track was obvious and soon led to a seat and viewpoint.

Start of Iron Age settlement
After that headed down to the iron age settlement which could be spotted through the trees. There are a few wooded constructions as well as some eco buildings. A very large chestnut brown bird burst from the undergrowth and flew quickly and silently into undergrowth, not sure what that was? There are toilets at the settlement if required.
s pine.jpg

Love these trees
Back on the main track which is now a straight line ahead lined with Silver birches stunning outlined against blue skies.

Eco cafe open all year
Cross a road and follow another track where you pass the eco café at Tomachoin, sadly no time to visit but it certainly looks interesting.
Now the second worst section for me was walking this tarmac road for 4 km (according to Walkhighlands) but it seemed a lot longer today, feet beginning to protest. Away from the relative shelter of the trees the temperature dropped considerably on this open moor, extra gear added for warmth. Red kites and buzzards circled the moor was I to be there scavenging prey?
track moor.jpg

Finally off the tarmac
Boy was I glad to reach the newly constructed path which continues over the open moorland, the scenic views helped the time go by.
The next section is a mixed forest, some of which is the old drovers trail route heading to the market at Falkirk.
The trees became pine woods again where I had an interesting experience. Just ahead I spotted some things floating down, strange no trees shedding leaves. Standing at the spot they continued to softly float down. It turned out they were feathers, grey and white, probably a pigeon being eaten by a raptor above me but I could not spot it.
There were good views of the Cromarty Firth on my left and when I reached the reservoir I finally got sight of Inverness ahead.

Finally Inverness in sight
As I headed towards Great Glen House I passed a sign ‘Inverness castle 4 miles‘. This was now the worst section by far and it was a long 4 miles on protesting feet. The route is on and off tarmac roads, through housing estates, established and new building sites. Underpasses etc before briefly reaching the Caledonian Canal, it seems a long time since I last saw it.
Cal can.jpg

Caledonian Canal I missed you
However this is a very brief interlude before more tarmac street walking to reach the River Ness. Then guess what, more tarmac walking to the end at the castle. Needless to say the rain joined me for these 4 miles and darkness arrived early. I had been under a tight time deadline but arrived as per my expectations.

Ness Islands almost finished
I believe that there is no such thing as a bad walk but that last section was stretching my positiveness.
Overall I really enjoyed my Great Glen Way experience and was glad that I split it up experiencing it in all the different weather patterns Scotland gives us, all for the good.
Now time to hit the Black Isle bar for some well deserved beer. A pint of Red Kite would be an appropriate starter.

Wildlife: Red Kite, Buzzard, Wren, Bluetit, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird,

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Durisdeer in search of Sampson & wife!!

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Well Hill
Date walked: 17/11/2018
Distance: 10.1km
Ascent: 687m
Comments: 4
Views: 219

Wet day for Remembrance Day outing to Cairn Hill

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Cairn Hill
Date walked: 11/11/2018
Distance: 13.7km
Ascent: 485m
Comments: 1
Views: 137

Great Glen Way Invermoriston who is the litter lout

Attachment(s) Date walked: 13/10/2018
Distance: 23.6km
Ascent: 735m
Comments: 1
Views: 238

Two Grahams in Amulree and the rut is on

Attachment(s) Grahams: Meall nan Caorach, Meall Reamhar
Date walked: 08/10/2018
Distance: 9.31km
Ascent: 473m
Comments: 2
Views: 227

Culter Fell & Gathersnow from Glenkirk

Attachment(s) Grahams: Culter Fell, Gathersnow Hill
Donalds: Culter Fell, Gathersnow Hill
Date walked: 16/09/2018
Distance: 13.71km
Ascent: 735m
Comments: 2
Views: 255

Gana Hill and Wedder Law from Durisdeer

Attachment(s) Donalds: Gana Hill, Wedder Law
Date walked: 12/09/2018
Distance: 18.8km
Ascent: 939m
Comments: 1
Views: 191

Meeting a surprising Munro compleatist on Ben Wyvis

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Wyvis
Date walked: 04/09/2018
Distance: 14.91km
Ascent: 978m
Comments: 3
Views: 517

Snap, crackle and pop on Cnoc Mor

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Cnoc Mor
Date walked: 04/09/2018
Distance: 7.61km
Ascent: 256m
Views: 118

Morrone a straightforward Corbett with an enjoyable end

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Morrone
Date walked: 15/08/2018
Distance: 13.2km
Ascent: 605m
Views: 133


Activity: Wanderer
Mountain: Goatfell
Place: Aviemore
Gear: Montane microlight hat
Member: RSPB, Ramblers
Ideal day out: Walking nice rounded hills in a remote place or long ground level remote walks
Ambition: The view not the height

Munros: 33
Corbetts: 26
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 29
Sub 2000: 73
Long Distance routes: Ayrshire Coastal Path    Forth & Clyde and Union canal towpath    Great Glen Way    River Ayr Way   

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Trips: 44
Distance: 512.89 km
Ascent: 23286m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 8
Donalds: 12
Sub2000s: 25


Trips: 51
Distance: 587.76 km
Ascent: 18822m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 8
Sub2000s: 21


Trips: 3
Distance: 53.83 km
Ascent: 364m

Joined: Nov 06, 2012
Last visited: Dec 12, 2018
Total posts: 174 | Search posts