Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Great Glen Way Day06 - Laggan Locks to Gairlochy
























Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 09 October 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, Gina Smith, Joss Johnson
Accommodation - Travelodge - Fort William
Start Point - Laggan Locks (NN 28616 96296)
Start Time - 10:01
Finish Point - Gairlochy Locks (NN 17605 84208)
Finish Time - 15:46
Duration - 5hrs 45mins
Average pace - 2.08mph
Distance Walked - 11.98miles
Height Ascended - 531.52metres

Peaks visited
NONE

Route 
Walk start point Day06,
Laggan Locks towards Ceann Loch
Somewhat mixed feeling for us all today as it marks the end of a very comfortable four night stay at Abbey Cottage, Fort Augustus. On the other hand it was a measure of our progress that by the end of the day we will be closer to Fort William than to Fort Augustus.
Today also marks the last time we will be picked up by Great Glen Travel who will be storing our bags for the day after dropping us off at Laggan Locks, before picking us up at Gairlochy and then taking ourselves with our bags to our final destination in Fort William. What a good job they have done looking after us for the last four days.
Overall we have been pleased with our decision to set up an accommodation base mid way along the walk. While it was a little more expensive in terms of transport, the benefit has been to maximise our time each night to clean up and prepare for the next day while still having plenty of time to rest and enjoy the hospitality available in Fort Augustus.



Meall nan Dearcag a Graham Top
across Ceann Loch from Laggan Locks
The forecast for the day was heavy rain and the stair rods that greeted us as we climbed in to the taxi confirmed this was correct. However as we drove towards Laggan Locks the rain eased and the sky brightened resulting in a dry but chilly start to the days walk.
As usual the route was easy to find and as on previous days Joss and Gina set off leading the way while I lagged behind taking photographs. 
Looking back across
Ceann Loch to Laggan Locks
on the way to Kilfinnan Farm
Everywhere seemed so fresh and bright in the sunshine following the rain presenting a photo opportunity around every corner, resulting in us taking nearly ½ hour to cover the 0.8 miles to Killfinnan Farm. 
The delays would not last, as we pass the mobile phone mast on our right ascending towards Killfinnan Wood the rain returned prompting us to don our waterproofs and wrap up cameras. The rain lasted for the next 2 miles ensuring a steady pace but suppressed any ideas about taking photos.


First snow of year on tops of
Meall na Teanga
It was not until we had passed the checkpoint at Allt Glas-Dhoire that the rain eased and sky cleared revealing the Munro Meall na Teanga straight ahead. It also revealed the winters first covering of snow on its tops, reminding me that if it is a bit rough and wet at our lower levels it is decidedly bleak higher up. We also met a chap who had set off from Gairlochy at 7am with the intention to walk all the way to Fort Augustus. Quite a long days walk - 23 miles in fact - what we will take 2 full days to complete.
The Graham Top Leitir Fhionnlaigh
across Loch Lochy

As he passed he did mention the only place between here and Gairlochy was Clunes, which somehow translated to the girls as a place to stop for what was now becoming a daily treat at a coffee shop. In fact as the rain returned once again, I also entertained the idea of drying off next to a strategically placed radiator holding a hot beverage.
But ahead was more than 4 miles and over 2 hours walking along the easy to follow forest track past Glas-Dhoire Mor, through Clunes Forest and the descent in to Clunes.




Pot of gold in the middle of Loch
Lochy from Rubha Allt a' Bhardain
As we approached all boded well for a well earned lunch break. The rain eased and the sun was starting to break through. Unfortunately that was as good as it got. The only likely candidate for a public building was the Clunes Forest School; and that was closed. The next best thing was the bridge over the Allt Tom an Fhithich. So that is where we stood and ate our lunch and gave our coats a chance to dry off. However what was becoming the trend for the day, it started to rain again, prompting us to press on along the B8005 out of Clunes towards Bunarkaig.
Best part of the day
on the shore of Loch Lochy
The next checkpoint would be the turn off for Ciaran's Church & Clan Cameron museum approx. 1½ miles soon after the bridge over the River Arkaig. By now it was 2pm and wet so we decided to press on for Gairlochy and postpone the visit until a later trip.
Soon afterwards the familiar blue marker post pointed us along a path to the left which we confidently followed knowing the signs had served us well for the whole walk so far. It brought us to the shores of Loch Lochy near Rubha Allt a' Bhardain and what seemed at the time the prettiest part of the entire walk.
Gairlochy Locks
The rain had finally stopped for the day giving way to bright sunshine and a vivid rainbow forming an arch across the loch. After lots of photos we followed the path along the shore until we reached the b
ridge over Allt an Fhasaich Dhuibh, which I mistook for the bridge over Allt Coire Choille-Rais. 
This meant we rejoined the road to Gairlochy much too soon and thereby truncating the beautiful section of the Great Glen Way along the shores of Loch Lochy. Bit of a shame really but to be fair this was the only part of the entire route where the signage had let us down and if we had taken more care with checking the map would have been avoided.

More Photographs
Fish farming on Loch Lochy. Ben Nevis and Aonach Mor in thick black cloud beyond
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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