2021

Day 36 – I will not forget to wear my face mask…

South Laggan to Fort Augustus, 16Km

I stayed at the Forest View B&B in South Laggan last night. It was a little island lapped by the A82 main road. I had to edge along the non existent verge and then waited 5 minutes for a break in the traffic to cross the road but in the end I brought the traffic to a standstill with a daring leap into the road, waving my pole in the same manner in which I’d deterred that bull on the Southern Upland Way. Once successfully inside, I decided against going out for dinner, not just because of the traffic but because there was nowhere to go. The two ladies in charge (both former secondary school teachers) cooked spaghetti Bolognese and a school dinner dessert for £13 and alcohol was banned. And just to cap it, I forgot to wear my face mask and had to write “I will not forget to wear my face mask” one hundred times.

I met a couple who I’d seen previously on the West Highland Way. The woman, Rose, is walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats so I was immediately interested. We both face the same challenge of how to get from Inverness to the finish. The trail only exists on the map and isn’t passable in many places; the cliff top sections force you to the very edge and the road is long, dangerous and without any views of the wild coast. We’re both starting on Thursday so Rose will join me for the first half. That’s where I have to skip a stage because there’s no accommodation but, of course, she can’t do that. And there’s one more problem: a nest of vipers sunbathing on the rocks just north of Brora but I didn’t mention them.

Today’s walk was the ultimate dream if your target is 40Km+. A straight, smooth disused railway line along Loch Oich followed by the towpath along the Caledonian Canal. I tried my best to slow down but soon the tourist haven of Fort Augustus came into view, with its steep sequence of locks into Loch Ness. I was comfortably in time for a cappuccino.

I looked around the lock side shops, browsed the tartan blankets and shortbread biscuits, ate lunch, walked around a bit more, got an ice cream then went to the B&B where Phil welcomed me with the usual, “You’re early”.

Some restoration work on the old railway which never reached Inverness
It’s not obvious where this branch is meant to go
Full steam ahead
Loch Oich
Whistle!
Cullochy Lock, just after the end of Loch Oich. Once upon a time there lived a princess…
Fort Augustus guards the entrance to Loch Ness with its monster proof lock gates
Some Scottish cheese

8 comments on “Day 36 – I will not forget to wear my face mask…

  1. Linda s

    Following with great interest Tim – will be following your tracks in two weeks time -brilliant you have linked up with rose for the next stage

    • Hi Linda yes it’s always good to have a companion especially on a difficult stage. I’ll be ahead of her on the worst parts but will be able to give her useful feedback and maybe trample the bracken for her

  2. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora, Tim. I love the range of Scottish cheeses but cannot for the life of me understand why the maker had to sully one of them by adding brandy to the Islay Malt – sacrilege I say! Cannot imagine the weird flavour. The lines you had to write (!?) are easier than the regular essay topic I got for infractions at boarding school – 1 page on ‘Why you should not give flowers to a dead florist’! Great photos. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Brandy and whisky in cheese? I’d rather them in a glass than a cheese. I’d be very interested to read your essay if you could email it to me. I was normally caned but that wasn’t offered by the ladies

  3. I’ll try the mature cheddar with herbs – it sounds quite civilized 🙂

    • I agree. Herbs can add a touch of mysticism to cheddar cheese

  4. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora Tim, I’d choose the chilli and sun-dried tomato with a fine red wine! No copy of the essay exists and I’d have much rather been caned or given the strap. I experienced the latter in primary school occasionally. My husband tells of a teacher he had who would make the student bend over and put their head under the blackboard ledge so they hit their heads with every lash of the strap – vicious. But we grew up good people. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Not sure about the chilli and sun dried tomato cheese. Presumably it’s popular because they had two on display. I guess we did grow up mostly good people. Most of us. Most of the time.

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