The West Highland Way & Great Glen Way

Walked in August 2010

Day 12 - Thursday 26th August

Invermoriston - Drumnadrochit
16.5 miles

It was very cold during the night, so cold that it woke me up several times and I had to try and curl up in a ball and pull the sleeping bag around me more. Again I thought about buying a fleece blanket to put over me, but as there were only a couple of nights left, it didn’t really seem worth it. After dozing for a while I got up and went for a shower before getting back to the tent and warming myself up a bit.

I switched on the radio while I had something to eat and drink. Darryl was also up and told me at one point that he had knocked over the pot noodle he’d made for breakfast, soaking his sleeping bag and burning a hole in his inflatable bed with his stove. Oops.

We got walking at about 7.50, heading down the road into Drumnadrochit to catch the bus back to Invermoriston. We found a mini-market open so we went in to buy some supplies. We crossed the road to catch the 9.16 bus back to where we’d left the walk the previous day. The trip cost us £5.20 each which seemed very rich considering the same journey had been less than half that the night before. The driver tried to explain that the price was higher because it was a different operator and a different service. It was the same stretch of bloody road though, wasn’t it? Same distance, same length of journey. We didn’t argue – it’s not like we were going to walk all that way back!

Unlike the bus the previous night, this coach was well occupied, presumably with locals rather than day-trippers as they didn’t seem to be carrying bags. Some got out at Urquhart Castle so they may have been working there. The journey was pretty uneventful but we did get another good view of Loch Ness. Once dropped off back at Invermoriston we went in search of a café to get a proper coffee, but there were none open so we settled for a machine coffee from the shop and had a quick look at an interesting tree sculpture in the yard outside.

The continuation of the way started up the side of a hill and though we tried to stop to drink our coffees, we were straight away attacked by midges. While we were in the shop we heard a local guy outside giving midge advice to the father and two daughters we’d seen at the hostel in Laggan. As usual the advice boiled down to avoiding the buggers altogether rather than trying to fend them off.

We walked up the path which grew steeper and steeper then levelled out before rising again. Along the path we spotted what appeared to be a small black snake. It turned out to be a slow worm, but it’s an interesting creature since it looks like a snake, is actually a lizard, but is called a worm! We took a photo of it, prodded it a bit to see if it could move any faster (it couldn’t) then left it be. The views of the loch were again impressive and the weather was warm and bright like the previous day, making the walking all the more enjoyable.

We came to a nice spot with a good view over the loch so we stopped for a break and ate lunch including some cakes and snacks that we’d bought before catching the bus. We seemed to have reached a point on the trip where our bodies were finally getting through to our brains and making us buy huge quantities of food to replace the calorie burn. I found on previous trips that I wasn’t able to eat enough to replace the calories I burned off, so on this trip I tried to force more sugary crap down my neck in order to avoid losing weight. It seemed to work too. The pineapple cream tarts certainly helped a lot. Midges started to bother us so we didn’t stay long.

We continued to have great views of the loch for the next hour or so. We saw several other walkers and a few cyclists before turning off the loch path and heading up a hill near the ruins of a fort. We then started following a country road around the hills near Drumnadrochit.

I kept hoping to see the town around the next corner as I was pretty tired by this point, and when we did finally walk down a steep road and into Drum (for short) we found a picnic bench and I sat gratefully down, putting my head in my hands. I don’t know if it was the accumulated effort of the past two weeks or just that day, but I was knackered. We had a drink and I took a couple of painkillers. It would have been great to have just gone back to the campsite at that point and collapsed but we had planned to visit the Loch Ness Experience further along the road so after resting a while we carried on. I had a much lighter pack than normal since I wasn’t carrying my tent and other bits of kit, but I was still completely worn out, possibly a little dehydrated. It made me wonder if pack weight actually made that a difference after all.

When we reached the heart of Drum itself we stopped at the shop to buy drinks and cakes to fill my stomach after taking the two strong Ibuprofen, then continued on and stopped at a coffee shop before moving on to the Loch Ness Experience. We didn’t have much of an ‘experience’ to be honest (probably because the actual experience itself cost money) but we had a look around the gift shop which had plenty of items on offer for tourists, most at quite imaginative prices. We left not long afterwards to walk the mile or so back to the campsite, stopping on the way at the shop (again) to buy more food, and at the chip shop next door to get our evening meal. We finally got back to the campsite, but before I could collapse I had to wash and dry my clothes which cost £8 altogether, although it was definitely worth doing. I read my book while I waited for the tumble-drier to finish, then took everything back to the tent.

The father and two daughters showed up at about 6.30 at the campsite, so they had clearly had a much slower day than us. They sounded pretty worn out again too. At around 7.30 it started raining and continued into the night. Tomorrow was a twenty mile day so we didn’t get to sleep too late. It was the last day of walking too. One final push and it would all be over.


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