Gairlochy to South Laggan, 20Km
It’s not everyone who has a 45 foot girth Sequoia in the garden. Last night’s B&B was built in the grounds of the old manor house and when it was time to crumble the cookie, Colin got the Sequoia. He’d been a fireman in Brighton before moving to Spean Bridge and now runs the B&B with military precision. You couldn’t fault a thing; everything was of the highest quality. And yet it was empty. “I don’t advertise”, he said, “I just take bookings from the walking companies. Normally I’d be full but this year I’ve hardly had anyone”. That’s been the story everywhere. No foreign walkers and Brits too scared of catching Covid 19.
Colin made my scrambled eggs and then drove me the 6Km back to the trail at Gairlochy (which I walked yesterday). I resumed walking and what a fine day I had. Alongside me was Loch Lochy and it looked a picture in the morning sunshine. This is classic Scottish scenery: a Glen, a Loch, some heather and conifers. Even the occasional Sequoia. I was alone. The water glistened in the sun and the little waves splashed on the shore.
I walked along the shoreline pointing my little Sony camera at everything. The woodland was a delight, a mixture of copper beeches, sequoia (giant redwoods), oaks, rhododendron etc. I crossed the Allt Coire Choille-rais and then diverted into the woods to see St Ciaran’s church in Achnacarry. It was built in 1909 to serve the local community and is owned by a charity. Unlike almost all churches nowadays, the door is never locked so I went in, switched the lights on and soaked up the atmosphere. This part of Scotland is the homeland of the Cameron Clan and it wasn’t long before WW1 took its toll on the Camerons and others, as seen on the various memorials. Sadly the monthly service stopped in 2019 when attendance fell to zero and the charity’s funds are almost depleted. One wonders if there isn’t a modern day Cameron who might spare a few pounds to ensure its survival.
Back in the sunshine I continued my woodland walk along the shore of Loch Lochy, crossing a bridge over the Allt Glas-Dhoire Mor. But then the view was lost to thick conifer plantations and the magic went.
I arrived at the end of Loch Lochy at Laggan Locks where the Caledonian Canal resumes its course. A barge is now home to a cafe and bar. The owner made me a tuna sandwich and served a bottle of Peroni to wash it down. I sat on the sun deck watching some boats sailing by and decided, after all is said and done, that going slowly is ok.