Fort Augustus to Invermoriston, 13Km
I’m staying two nights here in Fort Augustus at the southern end of Loch Ness due to catering issues in Invermoriston. The place was already bustling with visitors when I emerged from the B&B this morning but I soon left them behind as I followed the road up the side of the Great Glen which is now full of Loch Ness.
Just ahead of me a woman took the Great Glen Way into the woods and my instinct was to slow down but she waited for me to catch her up and we walked all the way to Invermoriston. It was a truly beautiful walk along the top of the glen, first through magical mixed woodland with tumbling waterfalls and little fairy bridges and then we were high on open moorland overlooking Loch Ness.
As we walked, she gradually told me the harrowing story of the past two years of her life in some detail. I don’t think she’d been able to talk about it before but there is something intimate about walking with someone you don’t know and saying what you need to say. It’s a Camino experience. She is here for a few days with her 20 year old daughter who will swim the length of Loch Lomond in relay with four friends on Tuesday. They are raising money for the Charity who supported them through their trauma.
We arrived in Invermoriston just in time for a cappuccino in the little cafe before my taxi arrived and took us back to Fort Augustus. I told her to walk the Camino.
And so to the afternoon. I paid my £16, an unsolicited concessionary fare, for a spot of monster hunting out on the Loch. The boat sailed at 4pm which is the best time of day because the light just soaks straight into the water.
Loch Ness is an enigma. It’s huge, 37Km long by 3km. The maximum depth is 230m but light can’t penetrate more than 20m. More people have been to the moon than the bottom of Loch Ness. I was expecting lots of monster stories but the skipper soon spoiled the anticipation. There is no monster. The 1934 photo was a fake. Nothing with a long neck could survive in those depths. I was crushed just like when I first heard the truth about Santa Claus. He told us all about the formation of the Loch, showed us photos of prehistoric fish which were trapped in the Loch when the water changed from salt to freshwater. And he told us about the giant eels which live in the bottom of the Loch. He switched the sonar onto the screen and we could see the profile of the Loch below us. And there, deep, deep below, were these eels, suspended in a world that defies imagination.
I went back on deck and photographed the glen where I’d walked this morning. As I pressed the shutter, something briefly emerged from the water, all out of focus: an eel?