Monday, 19 November 2012

The Great Glen Way Pt 5

The following morning after showering and breakfasting communally, I mean to say, breakfasting together, not showering; we did that separately, (those of us who chose to shower that week…) We set of in cars for Alt Sigh, this is a wee bit past where we (sorry, they) finished the previous day, as I’ve already hinted, we’re not purists about our route, the three miles between Invermoriston and Alt Sigh (where there is a Scottish Youth Hostel that seems never to be open) is just forestry track, there isn’t anything to look at except trees and the back pack of the person in front of you.

It’s still ten miles to Drumnadrochit with some decent views over Loch Ness and up and down the Great Glen. This section of the route starts on forestry road, then changes to foot path then onto tarmac at a place called Grotaig, you can get a car along to here coming from Drum if you want. You climb up fairly steadily from Alt Sigh, up to 1000 feet in places but the reward is in the views, the route before Invermoriston only gets to about 200 feet and you’re constantly surrounded by trees. Don’t get excited about seeing the fabled Castle Urquhart from the Great Glen Way, you’re led to believe you can, unfortunately you can’t because there is a hill in the way. You can stop in Drum and walk back, it’s about £7 to get in; we decided not to bother.

I’ll be perfectly honest at this point, yesterday, we had a cooked breakfast in the Glen Café in Drum, I should have said, the results from our study on the merits of said meal were inconclusive; we had no choice but to have another one that day while the others walked towards us. I can reveal, the Glen Café’s cooked breakfast is up there with the best of them, I think what marks it out for special consideration is the inclusion of fried bread instead of toast, I mean to say; fried bread? I can’t think of any food stuff more satisfying than fried bread, especially when attached to a cooked breakfast, not since spending time in Northern Ireland have I witnessed the inclusion of fried dough-based food stuff (soda bread in this case) with a cooked breakfast, or ‘fry’ as it’s called in those parts.

I could lie and say we felt guilty about our second cooked breakfast, but to be honest, we didn’t. To atone for our excess today and the day before, we decided to walk back towards the rest of the group from Drum. You might think this doesn’t sound so bad, but you’d be wrong. I remember when I was here last time, walking from East to West on that occasion, I’d walked out of Drum, there is a choice, you can either take the longer route to Clunebeg House then dog leg back up the hill to Woodend and avoid the arduous climb or you can just walk up the road to Woodend Cottage. By taking the direct route you’re saving on distance (about a mile, if that) but the direct route is vertical.

Ok, vertical is an exaggeration, but not much of one, the road zigzags up to around 750 feet, in places, for every foot forward you’re also going a foot upwards, its relentless, it just goes on and on. Again, I’m exaggerating, it doesn’t, it’s only about a mile distance wise but you feel every inch of it (as the actress said to the bishop) and no less fucked for your efforts, I swear to underline the horror of it. Last time I did it with a full rucksack, this time I had nothing and I nearly expired, and I’m not exaggerating about that.

Karma also paid us back for our selfish breakfast ways; we knew this would happen as well. No sooner had we got to Woodend Cottage, we sighted the rest of our group. We basically walked up a ball-breaking hill just to walk back down it again.

We all arrived back in Drumnadrochit, in various states of disrepair, I had to go and have a lie down while the others visited the Coop for some badly needed victuals (mostly wine, for those of an appropriate age of course…)

We’d already broken the good news about not camping that evening so we returned to the Loch Ness Holiday Park and our quaint little barrels by the loch, the weather had taken a turn for the worse, it was colder and while it wasn’t raining as such, a light mist hung in the air. During that day, Michael, (my colleague who whistles like a gibbon) visited the shops in Drum; he’d bought two novelty condoms so he could play a joke on his cabin mates (one of whom was Paul with the girl friend in St Andrew’s the other was 17 year old Finlay.) He was going to put one on each of their pillows with a note saying; ‘be careful, lol’.

These were novelty Loch Ness monster condoms with some pithy one liner on the packaging, you can probably imagine, although I totally understand if you choose not to bother. While paying for them, the lady behind the shop counter was heard to mutter something along the lines of; ‘Pshaw! You’re optimistic aren’t ya?’

Suffice to say, he was a bit miffed at the inference but then, you simply can’t buy that sort of thing and not have judgement passed, especially in a place as small as Drumnadrochit, they’re probably still talking about it now in the Glen Café over their cooked breakfasts.

That night (condoms not-with-standing) was a bit more subdued, the previous night had been a late one and the day had been tough, not in terms of distance but walking from the West, it was the first properly hilly section. We sat up for a while chatting in another micro cabin but soon dispersed for the evening, I have no idea if they used the Nessy condoms Michael so selflessly purchased, if they did, I do hope they were careful.

- lol.

Go to Pt 6 or have a rest and go here instead because I imagine you're fed up reading by now.


  1. Just as well you had that arduous walk. All that breakfasting on fried foods... you should erm... be careful! LOL

  2. We felt quite bad about that, it was our intention to drive ahead then walk back towards the rest of the group, but it became really tedious.

    Walking four or five miles only to about-turn and recover old ground got really annoying. The fried breakfasts were much more agreeable.

    On one of the days, even although they'd been walking for ages, we ended up walking further than them because they were travelling so slowly, we ended up walking (almost) back to where they started that morning...

    (The man doth protest too much... ;-)


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