Loch Ness 360, Day 2: Foyers to Fort Augustus

Feeling refreshed at 5:30 am when I first woke up, I could happily have slept on when the 7:40 am alarm sounded. As it was, the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs was worth rising for. Refuelled once again, I packed up just in time for the baggage carrier to call – he was 5 minutes early! – and made my final preparations before hitting the road again.

Easy Does It – Foyers to Whitebridge

The first few miles of the day were fairly easy going and my legs were grateful for this, feeling quite relaxed on the flat, bimbling along at a slow pace.

The weather was perfect, a bit of cloud but mild temperatures, very comfortable in shorts and t-shirt. As usual, I stopped and started, faffing around with my running vest to get everything sitting right.

Map Check – really should do this more often!

The only potential stop of the day was at Whitebridge and unfortunately I was too early – thankfully I’d Googled their opening times or I’d have been mightily disappointed. It was slightly unclear which way to go at this point having hit a T-junction with the road alongside trails going different ways, so I got out my map to double check. There was a very short section on the minor road, then back onto the trail again.

The trail took me through a farm and onto a very minor road, flat, straight and easy running. I was intrigued by the wee hills beyond and whether I was going over or around them, so much so that I missed the blue post and continued on, realising the error of my ways when I reached some houses.

My Harvey’s map (oh how I love the colours on a Harvey’s map) and OS Locate app confirmed I’d missed a turning. Retracing my steps and using my grid reference to support I spied the blue post, hidden to quite some degree by the long grass.

Sadly this meant that the path deteriorated a wee bit becoming more of a fine grassy track for a while, the upside being that it remained relatively flat.

My legs were beginning to feel the after-effects of yesterday and it didn’t take much to convince me to have a wee walk break. Alongside the regular photo stops this became a bit of a theme.

I followed the trail which improved until crossing the road again. The path was easy to follow thereafter; I ran (slowly) when I could and walked if I needed to, trying to limit the walk breaks. I munched on my trail mix and sipped water regularly.

The undulations for the day began in earnest. From hereon in, it felt tougher and I walked quite a bit of the ascent. I then had to walk some of the descent too, my quads feeling a little sensitive (battered, if I’m honest) and objecting quite strongly to running downhill. I remembered to look back as well as forwards and it was great to see the views and where I’d come from.

More gentle climbing ensued and I began to wonder if I’d ever have anything easy today, plodding along as best I could.

Finally, a new loch was in sight and I was heading down. I tried a gentle jog, gingerly putting one foot in front of the other figuring it was easier (and quicker) than walking. The path was a big rough, so keeping an eye on my footing took my mind off the legs.

Reaching Loch Tarff the board helpfully informed me that I’d reached the end of the South Loch Ness Trail, as did my map! Not being renowned for my sense of direction this was a little alarming! I crossed the road and followed the path onto the estate, hoping this wouldn’t wander too far off course and figuring it was better than running on the road. The road was running pretty much parallel and I drew comfort in being able to go cross country should it be required to get back on track again. Heading up again, I scoffed some chocolate for sustenance.

A little further along I spotted someone coming towards me with a big camera. We stopped to blether; he was a tourist and was on the clock with a bus to catch back to Drumnadrochit later in the day. He’d come along the path from Fort Augustus (it had taken him 3 hours!) and I was able to advise of what lay ahead the way he was going. I can only surmise he must have taken a lot of pictures on route.

Reassured, I continued on with new energy, running more both on what little flat there was and downhill. I tried to mimic a fell runner, windmilling my arms and leaning forward on the descent in an attempt to let gravity take the lead. I met someone with a bike and chatted to him; he was headed for Inverness, shortly after I passed his comrade pushing her bike. Tough gig, although looking at the elevation profile, they’d probably done the worst of it.

Finally, I caught a glimpse of Fort Augustus! Tantalisingly close but still a fair bit away as the path moved away from the road. I skirted around a field of sheep – unlike those I’d met earlier they were completely unfazed by my presence – and continued along a flatter path until finally I was in Fort Augustus! Timed to perfection, I arrived at the locks to see some boats passing through and after a late lunch I came out to see some go the opposite way.

Even more exciting, there’s a very big boat berthed up for the night and heading down through the locks tomorrow morning and I have a short day. Early breakfast for Clare!

2 thoughts on “Loch Ness 360, Day 2: Foyers to Fort Augustus

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