Loch Ness 360, Day 3: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Got up for an early breakfast – I’m now regretting this at 3 pm as I’m tired! However, the early start did allow me to get down to the locks and see ‘Moonshadow’ go all the way down!

As an aside (Bruce), it turns out my sister and I are not the only people fascinated by the Scottish canals; there was quite a crowd gathered!

The whole event took just over an hour from start to finish with lock keepers ‘double locking’ and allowing another 4 boats to follow with a lock’s gap between. That was a lucky break for the Caley Cruiser tourists who were left to play bumper boats without an audience!

‘Moonshadow’ safely on their way, I hot footed it back to the B & B to pack up before the baggage collector arrived. Although I’d been assured that they never arrive before midday I wasn’t taking any chances, 7 miles being a long way to pull a suitcase!

I swithered as to how best to spend the day. While it was tempting to go back and relax in the village with a coffee, the downside was that my run would then hang over me for the day; that and the prospect of walking downhill to the village and back up to start the walk, I decided just to get on my way.

Great Glen Way, Loch Ness 360: The High Route

Setting off, I ran down the road a very short distance before the big decision of the day – low route or high route? Having previously walked the Great Glen Way my head figured there wasn’t much contest, the high route affording the better views; my legs fought a valiant battle in favour of the low route and conceded a graceful defeat.

Having only ran about half a mile to this point, I now inserted walking breaks on anything remotely challenging. I also spent quite a bit of time admiring the waterfalls as I ascended, stopping to take lots of photos, giving some respite for my weary legs.

The path was good but it just kept going up (and up and up); it’s never a promising sign when there are zigzags to break the effort.

Before too long the trees were behind me and the scenery opened up, the real benefit of the high route. The views back along the loch were good and there was no obvious trail of boats on the canal reinforcing my decision to run in the morning.

The path was now gently undulating and I continued to run at a very leisurely pace, occasionally walking where the path steepened. Reaching a wind shelter at one of the higher points, I was all set to sit and relax for a bit having carried my book in preparation for a lazy afternoon. Sadly the midges had other ideas and I could feel them gathering and starting to nibble as soon as I sat down and opened my book. The idyllic rest abandoned, I plodded on.

I caught up with a walker and we chatted for a while; it was good to talk and to hear of his adventures on the Great Glen Way this far. He’d had the same midge experience and kindly offered to share his ‘Skin So Soft’; I declined as the wee blighters don’t have much joy with my Factor 50 suncream, pretty much dying on contact instead. I ended up looking like a midge cemetery by the end of the day!

I’m not sure if today’s challenge was in knowing that I didn’t have far to go, thus making it more tiring, but it felt tough seeing the path so far ahead and knowing I had all that way to go. I was grateful to come upon another lady walking, at the time that I passed taking video with her Go Pro, and I chatted to her for quite a while. She was also solo walking, her husband and dogs as support crew, and we chatted about running races, hills and trails. I left her as the older chap I’d spoken to caught up and left her blethering with him.

I saw the first dragonfly of the holiday, gracefully gliding across the grass and wild flowers. It refused to pose for a photo in flight, instead going to rest. If you look carefully you’ll see it too!

I continued on, passing a few more people heading the opposite way to me, always stopping to look back to admire the views of where I’d come from. I switched my watch to ‘clock’, choosing to ignore pace, the latter being irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Finally I began to head down steeply with a zigzagging path mimicking that which I’d ascended earlier. A good bit lower, I met a man and his dogs, stopping to chat with them. He was waiting for his wife and laughed when I said I’d chatted to her at length, leaving her blethering to someone else; he may still be there yet!

I ran down, a little gingerly at times due to the steepness of the path, hearing the noise of the traffic from the road below heralding my arrival at Invermoriston. Having reached my destination, I headed for the coffee shop to enjoy lunch. Not wanting to outstay my welcome, check-in not being until 4 pm, I took a leisurely wander down to the Invermoriston Falls, spending time walking the wee trails.

I then returned to the coffee shop once more to rehydrate fully and enjoy a great piece of cake; just as well the sofa was occupied when I arrived for a second time or I may well have crashed out for the rest of the afternoon. Here’s to a relaxing evening and feeling refreshed tomorrow.

The ‘rest’ day elevation profile:

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