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My Gear including Water

My gear including water

 

The Lairig Ghru route from Aviemore to Braemar (or Braemar to Aviemore) is about equipment, food and water.

My pack was 14kg at home, but this did not allow for water bought at Aviemore.

 

Why take 4 litres of water?

Getting water in the highlands is more involved than dipping your water bottle in a stream.

Some areas are grazed by sheep, so the bacteria in their droppings get washed into the streams when it rains.

Also trees drop leaves etc. and are washed into streams (more so when the trees are over the stream or above where you want to collect water).

 

To get clean water...

Read more: My Gear including Water

Great Glen Way 1

Great Glen Way

Great Glen Way

Inverness Tuesday 10 June 2008

Fort AugustusInverness to Drumnadrochit - The way not marked well. Instead of following the GGW  I ended up following the canal track to Dochgaroch. I crossed over the canal and walked back one mile to B?   Blackfold road. A steady climb to Blackfold. I stopped for an hour to eat lunch, 400ml boiled water + a chilli con carne “Wayfarer” packet. I continued on to Altori and met 4 walkers. I thought that the way was very obscure. There were parts that did not follow the Ordnance Survey map.

 

Continued on until Loch Lait (?) where there was a camp site off track. I thought it better to stay on rough and continue across B road to Forest Enterprise woodland centre. Not much farther to a good camp site (rough). On the way up a long forestry track I met a lad from Brazil, who had walked from Invermoriston – setting off at 8am and here at 6pm.

The track climbed up 100 metre to plateau and then wound down to parallel with Loch Ness and memorial to “Stuart.” As the track snaked down to the tree line there was a board  with a story about Canadian lumberjacks from Newfoundland (Newphies). Indication of parts of their equipment and buildings showing in wood. The information is orientated for walkers heading north not south, so this board was indicating to look out for the equipment on the north side of the board. As I was walking south I had passed the work site before knowing about it. A note to all walkers.

Continued down through wood to meet a field that was locked off (path led around the field to east). The path was very steep at bends and straight and gentle traverse elsewhere.

Bonnie watched me as I climbed down the steep bits as my left leg was nipping.

Followed farm track to road rather than a further ascent. The track took a further mile or so before joining the road.

Walked on road and pavement into Drumnadrochit. Arrived at a junction that was indicating a camp site 1 or 2  mile further. It was very hard to find as there were few signs. I finally reached the site but camp site was up the hill (50 metres). Put up the tent in a field for caravans. Retired.

Great Glen Way 2 - Drumnadrochit - Wednesday

Great Glen Way - Drumnadrochit - Wednesday

 

Drumnadrochit Wednesday 11 June

Borlum FarmWoke at 5 am then slept to 8 am. When I woke my left eyelid was swollen – almost shut.

I figured it was irritated and tried to flush with water. It eased off after lunch time. I phoned my mum and she said, “Buy some carrots or apricots.” The shop only had tinned carrots, so I had some at lunch time. Slept from 1pm to 3.30pm.

I went up to the office to pay fees and found that the whole site was a riding stables with 42 horses. I watched the rides taking of at 4pm and walked round looking at stables. It could have been a scene from the 1700's with a girl loading hay onto a horse drawn cart. Very efficient and carbon friendly.

I commented to the staff that I could not find the reception the previous night and stayed at the field.  The lady said, “It's ok,” and just asked how many nights I was staying.

I went down to the dressage arena and watched 6-10 year olds learning dressage. My eye started to smart again so concluded it was the horses setting off my eye.

Finished off the carrots in rice soup with beef stock. Bonnie slept most of the day. I plan to walk to Invermoriston Thursday, about 10-11 miles.

Thursday 12 June

Left camp site at 8 am and climbed up the road instead of 1 ½ mile path. Very nice view of Loch Ness as we walked – long broad with track at right hand side on some parts. At halfway mark was a hill fort, but it was not visible. Walked up hill a bit to see if the fort was marked, but the path was taking a route further up the hill. Gave up and walked back to marked GGW path, traversed the cliff and on way met James from Glasgow.

James had been walking from Fort William with a friend whom was 68. His friend had hurt his knee and gave up the walk. James said he would email me to say how his friend was.

I met another lady with a small quiet dog. Very nice views of the electric sub station and Foyers. A poster said it used to be an aluminium smelter and was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1941, so the government rebuilt it as it was making aluminium from alumina for the war planes. The electric sub station now there is fed by water through a 3 metre diameter pipe fed from the loch behind it. During the night it pumps the water back up the pipe to maintain its supply.

On arrival at Invermoriston there was not much to see: a newsagent, hotel, bridge, restaurant and a road leading out. Tried to find a camp site 1 mile ahead, thought I would climb up the GGW path and walk to the camp site at 'Rubbha Ban.'

I walked down the path after SW plant. When I got to the camp site there was a sign saying 'no campers,' even though the sign on the road had shown it as open.

I walked back to the GGW and looked for a place to camp. Met a man from Yorkshire who had been up many times staying at a lodge on Loch Ness.

Found a clearing and saw there was a lot of dried wood, but it was too windy to light a fire.

Bonnie was panicky as the midges were almost totally covering her. I put up the tent and told her to run around to get them and made sure she got in the tent, which had the fly screen in place. I unzipped it and pushed her inside. I did the same and we stayed in the tent until morning. This was after telling the man there weren't many midges.

Finished rest of cereal for tea.

Great Glen Way 3 - Invermoriston - Friday

Great Glen Way - Invermoriston - Friday

Invermoriston - Friday 13th

Woke at 4am – porridge for breakfast, packed ultra fast due to midges. Left for Fort Augustus at 5am. Walked five miles into Fort Augustus – Never ending up and down route into the town. View of Cherry Island.

Arrived at 7.30am. Waited for the grocer to open – bought porridge oats, midge spray, burn care ointment, biscuits and dried milk. Waited for the chip shop to open and bought egg and bacon roll and chips. Sat and ate it - waited till 10am and started to go. Went to the toilet at the petrol station and filled water bottles at their outside tap.

Walking was hard and pack felt very heavy after the morning ease. Every mile we stopped and sat down. Bonnie went to sleep each time. Walked a further 5 miles into Cullochy Lock.

The lock keeper was friendly, I asked if I could have some water and he readily offered. He asked where I was camping and said, “Camp over there on the grass by the picnic tables. It is better here than by the traffic.”

Washed my socks, prepared and ate tea. Bonnie lay fast asleep from 6pm. Bonnie has tried very hard to enjoy herself despite being tired. Made navvy tea to use up coffee mate. Rain came on heavy at 7pm.

Great Glen Way 4 - Culloochy - Saturday

Great Glen Way - Culloochy - Saturday

Saturday 14th

Left Cullochy Lock at 8.45am. Walked along the loch side (Loch Oich) then up to the railway. There was a concrete tunnel with the old railway line above / sleepers were overgrown. The sign said that the tunnel was built late 1800's – but the concrete was still sound. You wouldn't find that much today!

After that met a few walkers – a couple from Belgium stop and a couple from Holland passed us. “Tot since,” was the call.

Two guys coming from doing the West Highland Way said it was 100% harder. I think that means twice as hard. We compared rucksacks. They thought mine was 15kg and theirs were 20kg.

They said they were going on to Inverness then down to the Grampians to do some routes there. I asked if they had ropes and they said, “Yes.”

A few more went by, they said, “When we stop we have nets to cover our faces.”

There was a station platform at Letterfindlay, it was built to serve Laggan for the expected Spean Bridge/Inverness railway. The first section to Fort Augustus was opened in 1903. The company who owned it expected the other companies to pay for the next section, but there was a dispute and it was never completed. The station had a tunnel to allow passengers to walk under the track to the other side of the platform. As the buildings were of wood (Scandinavian style), none are left.

The platform has Douglas fir trees growing out of it (photo).

The GGW follows the route of the old railway until the road, then crosses to follow the the river into Laggan Lock.

I stopped in at the Barge Pub for an island beer. Followed the GGW all the way to Glas-Doire and camped overnight at a 'wild' camp site. Bonnie slept in the tent while I lighted a fire in a previously lit fire base with stone laid around and cooked my tea on it. Used moss and an old milk carton to light it. Was so preoccupied with the fire that this day was not written in my log – had two days to write following day.

Waited until the last wood was burning (some left behind from a previous tenant).

Great Glen Way 5 - Clunes - Sunday

Great Glen Way - Clunes - Sunday

Sunday 15th

Rose at 7am. Started walking at 8am. Very nice walk to Clunes. Took photo of Ben Nevis (pic). On arriving at Clunes I thought I would camp at Loch Arkaig. On the way there was a sign board advertising Eis Chia-Aig waterfalls. It was the location of the dramatic escape by Liam Neeson from the Red Coats in the film Robb Roy.

The picture does not advertise the sequence in the film chronologically, as the pool is above the bridge not below it. Good use of editing to provide the 'flow.'

Walked up to Loch Arkaig but the site was fenced off (landowners)??!*

Walked back to Clunes (fast) and then took the road to Gairlochy. No path at this point, just tarmac road. The going was hard on the foot (or rather the right heel). When there was a track I took it. I spoke to a lady at Bunarkaig House – who said there was tree cutting but the work has been finished for a week. There was evidence of tree felling but the path was intact. Some other walkers were on it too.

Arrived at Gairlochy. On the lock keeper's garage wall there were plaques showing the Caledonian Canal was the longest canal in Britain for consecutive years. I asked the lock keeper if it was a close race, he laughed. “After a few years they gave that one up because we kept winning. The others didn't have a chance.”

Walked up to Gairlochy camp site. It is owned by Jackson Anderson, brother of my old landlord. Spent a few minutes talking about the old times when I shared half of Macomir Farm with Graham Boyle. He couldn't remember my face but he did remember my name.

Jackson showed me a good place to put the tent, which is popular with others.

Great Glen Way 6 - Gairlochy - Monday

Great Glen Way - Gairlochy - Monday

Monday 16th

Rose at 8am and left Gairlochy at 8.30am. Walked down to the canal and 200yds along when I realised I didn't have my stick. I thought I didn't want to go back for it, so I had the intention of phoning the Andersons so they could leave it in Fort William next time they came in – then I thought, what a ninny, you are supposed to be on holiday. Go back and stay there then pick it up yourself.

I needed to phone them to let them know and would find their number.

Finally arrived at Moy Bridge. I sat down at a bench and watched the bridge being opened.

Walked on and Bonnie dived into the office. It was Toni who we met on our boat trip. She had given Bonnie a treat. She was saying to me I know this dog from somewhere. She looked at me and asked, “Who are you?” then, “Oh it's you!”

She asked if I would like a coffee, another lad came in and he was offered too. We sat chatting until 1pm.

On the way between Moy Bridge Banavie there was an aqueduct (photo?) with three arches over the river Spean, which travelled under the canal.

I saw a shepherd on a quad bike chasing the sheep through the aqueduct (but not knowing it was an aqueduct). A sign board further on mentioned that it was 25 feet across, the largest on the canal. Another south/north oriented sign.

I went down to look and there was a walkway both sides of the centre span. I walked through the left side but the other end was under water. As I came out there was an engine sound. I looked back and saw headlights. I thought it was the quad bike. Instead a jeep came roaring out with inches to spare sides and top.

Arrived at Banavie after a series of final bends. Met James the lock keeper at his hut, prepared to make coffee, but a succession of boats arrived wanting to go to the sea lock. He sighed and said, “Sorry I have to work now.”

I walked down with Bonnie watching then went to look for a camp site I had seen earlier in May. I could not find it so went back to the canal. I bought an ice cream and mars at a small shop by the canal – shared the icecream with Bonnie then walked back to the lock keeper shed. Phoned Mum. I asked if I could leave my phone to get charged, but the lock keeper didn't want me to saying, “If anything happened...”

I said I would go and find a camp site and said good day. I said I would come back.

I walked down to Chamagael and booked into the site for the night.

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