Saturday, 5 October 2013

Great Glen Way Day02 - Abriachen to Grotaig

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 05 October 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith, Joss Johnson
Accommodation - Abbey Cottage B&B - Fort Augustus
Start Point - road out of Abriachen near Loch Laide (NH 54134 35668)
Start Time - 09:24
Finish Point - Great Glen Way path below Grotaig (NH 49488 23712)
Finish Time - 16:36
Duration - 7hrs 12mins
Average pace - 1.76mph
Distance Walked - 12.68miles
Height Ascended - 491.16metres

Peaks visited

A cuddle before we start walking
One of the prerequisites of the walk was that we did not want to carry our own overnight gear. So to avoid having to pack up every day we decided to have 3 accommodation bases; at the beginning of the walk in Inverness, in the middle of the walk at Fort Augustus and at the end of the walk in Fort William. To give ourselves longer in one place we will be moving to Abbey Cottage in Fort Augustus for four nights starting tonight. So as well as organising ourselves for the day's walk we had to be all packed up ready for Drumnadrochit Taxis; to pick up both ourselves and our gear, take us to last nights finish point near Abriachan, store our cases for the day, then meet us at Grotaig for onward transport of ourselves and gear to Fort Augustus.

Turn left at first fork into forest
near Achpopuli
We had another 12 miles ahead of us today, similar to yesterday, so wanted an early(ish) start to ensure we would be finished about 5pm at the planned pace of 1¾ mph.
Yesterdays pace was 2mph so with a similar amount of ascent would expect to achieve a similar pace today.
The first part of the walk was a steady ascent up the forest road towards Achpopuli which got our legs going and the rest of the section through Abriachan Woods then through open moorland to Corryfoyness went exactly to plan at a good pace.

Checkpoint 02A2
Corryfoyness on the left
We continued past Corryfoyness over undulating ground and rejoined pine forest. Just before the forest there is an information board near an abandoned Canadian Loggers Camp occupied during the 2nd World War. Not a lot more to report other than following the well signed path through fairly dense pines for ¾ hour. But when we finally emerged from the forest, Loch Ness appeared ahead of us past sheep grazing, revealing a picturesque scene
Urquart Castle comes in to view
across Urquart Bay
Urquart Bay and of course the ruins of Urquart Castle.
I had planned to stop in Drumnadrochit for lunch, however as we dropped down to the A82 we decided to take advantage of a piece of dry ground and warm sunshine near Temple House to break out our flasks and lunch boxes. After lunch we followed the A82 in to Drumnadrochit more or less on schedule and with lunch out of the way no need to stop off in Drumnadrochit. 

Amazing what makes a girl smile.
At Fidler's Cafe, Drumnadrochit
Joss and Gina led the way for the 1¼ miles in to Drumnadrochit while I lagged behind taking photos. I saw them heading for the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre thinking they were interested in old Nessie, but no they were looking for a coffee shop. This was after only 35 minutes since lunch. I was not going to win the argument to carry on with out stopping so gave in and enjoyed a smashing mug of coffee at The Fiddler's Café.
More road walking took us out of Drumnadrochit to Borlum Bridge over the River Coiltie in Lewiston. A sharp
Looking down on Drumnadrochit
from Clunebeg Wood
right after the bridge took us along the River and towards Clunebeg House and Clunebeg Lodge self catering apartments. From here it was a fairly steep ascent through Clunebeg Wood at the top of which we turned left as the path contoured along the hill and through the wood until we reached a clearing and were treated to panoramic views to the left over Drumnadrochit.

Very soon we were back in woods and the path turned to the right and continued uphill again until we rejoined the road out of Lewiston. 

Woodend Cottage
Two further checkpoints at Woodend Cottage and Ancarraig Lodges would be passed along the 1½ miles of road leading to a dead end at Grotaig and our planned finish point for the day. But that does not do this section justice. Our spirits were high. We had cracked the 2nd day without feeling too tired, there were views to the left over Loch Ness to be enjoyed. Despite the cloud hanging low over the tops in front of us, all we could do was marvel at
Looking towards Grotaig and
the Highland 5, Glas-bheinn Bheag
shrouded in cloud
the Autumn browns, golds and greens of the Scottish vistas ahead

We had arranged for the taxi to meet us on the A82 just below Grotaig, so we were expecting some non "Great Glen Way" walking from there, however the path we followed continued along The Great Glen Way to where it joined a forest track. If we continued along the track we would continue along The Great Glen Way, but that would be the start of tomorrows walk. 
The end of the days walking.
On the Great Glen Way
For today we would turn left and continue down hill for ½ mile and meet up with the taxi waiting to take us to our new lodgings at Abbey Cottage in Fort Augustus.
At 1.76 mph the pace had been slower than the day before but still 30 minutes quicker than the planned walking time due to us coping with the ascent at better than the allowed pace of an extra hour per 500m of ascent. Looks like the girls earned there coffee stop in Drumnadrochit and anyway it has never been planned as a route march.

More Photographs

Urquart Castle comes in to view across Urquart Bay
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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