Monday, 7 October 2013

Great Glen Way Day04 - Invermoriston to Fort Augustus
























Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 07 October 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith, Joss Johnson
Accommodation - Abbey Cottage B&B - Fort Augustus
Start Point - Invermoriston, Glenmoriston Arms Hotel (NH 42020 16876)
Start Time - 09:39
Finish Point - Fort Augustus, Abbey Cottage B&B - Fort Augustus (NH 37944 09121)
Finish Time - 13:10
Duration - 3hrs 31mins
Average pace - 2.18mph
Distance Walked - 7.67miles
Height Ascended - 119.80metres

Peaks visited
NONE

Route 
The 476m Sròn na Muic
totally obscurred by rain bearing cloud
Had we chosen to follow the 6 day schedule recommended in various guides today, the 4th since setting off from Inverness, would have been a rest day. However none of us really fancied the 18 miles to Drumnadrochit on day 01 followed by 16 miles to Invermoriston on day 02, so we decided to cover the combined 34 miles in 3 days rather than 2.
We still would have had the same 8 miles planned for today, to walk from Invermoriston to Fort Augustus, but instead of it being an effort to be endured after two tough days we can take it at a more relaxed pace and still be finished by 1pm.
The net result would still have been setting off from Fort Augustus on day 05 but allowing us to stop and take photographs as well as enjoy scenery, points of interest and take coffee/meal breaks in villages along the way. Rather than press on at a relentless pace to "earn" enough time to take a rest day that we may not even need, feeling we are kicking our heels hanging around in one place, when instead we could be taking an extra few steps towards the ultimate end on Day 07.



Sheltering from rain 
outside Glenmoriston Arms Hotel
A prompt 9:00am pickup by Great Glen Travel from Abbey Cottage in Fort Augustus followed by a short taxi ride to Invermoriston enabled us to make an early start with the expectation we could finish the 8 miles planned today well by 1pm.
The weather however had other ideas with heavy rain, the first we had seen, and low cloud obscuring any views ensured we did not hang around or spend time sightseeing along the way.
At least when it is pouring with rain at the beginning of the walk there is no debate about when or whether you should get out the waterproofs, so after saying goodbye to the taxi driver we set off from the Glenmoriston Arms Hotel maybe over dressed but dry.
Old Bridge, Invermoriston
In no time we had reached Invermoriston Bridge and could not resist stopping to take photos of the now unused, derelict old bridge. One of Telford's less durable efforts, but blamed on a lazy workforce. Mist and moisture on the lens confirmed today would not be a good day for photography.

Minor falls swelled by rain
near Allt a' Mhuilinn
Other than the path breaking off the road to Dalcataig sooner than shown on the map the route to the next checkpoints at  Portclair Burn and Allt Mhuilinn went as planned. The only problem was that due to the rain there were many more smaller streams swollen with rain water masquerading as potential checkpoints. Checking with the map would have confirmed these as minor streams but as my large scale home printed maps would have soon turned to pulp, the path was so well marked by the familiar blue posts, I was confident enough to press on and feel it it was not worth getting out the laminated maps as well as de-steaming my glasses. Obviously had we been higher up on open moorland or less well marked paths I would have made the effort.

Main falls from bridge over
Allt a' Mhuilinn
As it turned out we did manage to get a photograph at Allt Mhuilinn and because we did not know we were there at the time, arriving at Allt na Criche unexpectedly was a real bonus because that meant we were less than two miles away from Fort Augustus.
A protein bar on the hoof gave us the energy to make the final ascent from Allt na Criche before we started the final descent into Fort Augustus just above Inchnacardoch Lodge Hotel.
Extra tall pines as Great Glen Way
descends in to Fort Augustus
There was a viewing point and information board about the history of Cherry Island but even though the rain had eased views of Loch Ness and Fort Augustus were somewhat obscured.

After descending to Three Bridges through tall pines it took only 20 minutes to reach Fort Augustus and walks end just after 1pm where a hot shower and a change in to dry clothes awaited.
Start point for tomorrows walk,
just outside our B&B
This left enough time to spend the rest of the afternoon to enjoy a coffee and cake in Scots Kitchen followed by a walk around the locks, a visit to The Caledonian Canal Visitors Centre followed by tea in the Boathouse Restaurant.  A well earned relaxing afternoon preparing us for onward progress tomorrow.

As well as passing the half way point of the walk, somewhere between Allt Mhuilin and Allt na Criche,  we had just completed our fourth consecutive day of walking. Combined with the easy day today we all now knew we had done enough preparation to reach Fort William within the three remaining days.

More Photographs
The "Old Bridge" at Invermoriston
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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