Day 3: Spean Bridge to Fort Augustus, 14km (8¾ miles)
[Continued from day two.]
It was too dark for a photo by the time we reached our lodgings the day before, but here’s where we wake up. It’s even more charming in person.
We take our customary gigantic breakfast, pack our pack, and hit the trail. There’s no packed lunch today, since it isn’t far to our endpoint. The first stretch follows an old rail bed (dating to the dawn of the age of rail), and includes an abandoned station platform.
The trail wends through dense temperate rainforest at the edge of Loch Oich.
It takes some doing, but we finally do get a good shot of the Invergarry Castle ruins across the loch. Fun Fact™: prefixes like inver and glen modify a placename to mean things like “river outlet” and “river valley” (respectively). So this castle is at the mouth of the River Garry, which flows through Glengarry. Dun dun dun dun.
We start to notice signs that this trail is even better-maintained than we thought. There are official campsites for people packing their lodgings on their backs. We’re not crazy like those people, so we just pass by.
More evidence of the railway, which was in operation from 1896 to 1947.
More sheep, and a ruined farmhouse. Becky is charmed.
Another of those primitive campsites.
The end of Loch Oich. It took us at least six tries on two cameras to get this shot.
Not long afterward, we take a break at the locks. It doesn’t last long, since we don’t have anything to eat, and the bathrooms are only for use by kayakers.
The rest of our journey to Fort Augustus is along the canal, which seems to go on for ten miles (it’s actually more like 1).
We head to the town chippie, and sit in the sun for a traditional Scotch lunch. Loch Ness sparkles at us at the end of the locks.
About a mile down the road is the Sonas B&B, which features at least three carven animals in the garden, and a ridiculously frilly purple bedroom. It just seems wrong to not have a cup of tea.
It’s only about 3pm, and we don’t want to spend the rest of the day in our room, so we stroll down to the village to see what we can see. We pick up a book of Scottish fairy tales for the kids, and spontaneously end up on a RIB, cruising Loch Ness at 45 knots. This is getting to be a habit with us.
It still being only about 5:30, we head back to our room for tea and laundry, then stroll down the pub for supper – haggis with Drambuie sauce, steak pie with peas and carrots, and a disappointing “cheese plate” (the cheese is Scottish, but on the level of Laughing Cow), and lots of great people watching; this is a tourist town.
[Continued in part four.]