Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit
I had a much better night’s sleep compared to the hostel from the other night. Ok, I still only managed my usual five or so hours sleep but that’s got to be better than an hour here and there throughout the night like I managed the other night?
Everything still hurt when I got up and pottered around but I was determined to have a better day, regardless of how much I hurt, so I got myself sorted out and went for breakfast at my now customary 8am.
Breakfast was great and I had a good chat with a couple from Sweden who were staying there. They were fascinated with what I was doing and we sat there chatting for quite some time, longer than I’d planned on breakfast that’s for sure.
With time getting on I grabbed my stuff, settled up and got on the trail. Georgeston B & B was a great little place and Mr and Mrs Greig were lovely people and couldn’t have done any more to make me feel welcome and at home.
From the B & B I popped in to the shop to get some bits in for lunch and then started the climb out of Invermoriston. With everything hurting already, and normally taking an hour before fully getting in to my stride these days, the shock of the road climb was almost too much right at the beginning of the day.
The road zig-zagged its way up the 400ft to the woodland path and I was a little on the puffed side by the time I finally got up there, a good fifteen minutes after leaving the shop. Not a good start.
The path meandered its way through the woods finally following the route of the road out to Alltsigh, a few miles away. Every now and then I was given a glimpse of Loch Ness through the trees but for the most part there wasn’t a great deal to look at other than the trees and the path.
About an hour in to the walk I met a young lad coming up the path towards me. He was walking the Great Glen Way starting from Inverness, camping along the way. We had a little chat and he said something I completely agreed with. Doing a walk such as mine, hell even just doing the Great Glen Way, is a life-changing experience and if only some of the “yoof” in the inner cities got out and challenged themselves like this they would undoubtedly grow up to be better people. If only…
I got to Alltsigh in a reasonable time but from here the path took a turn for the worse. I had a major climb ahead, the first mile of which took me up the first 400ft in a long, straight, up hill slog. I did pretty well up it, which pleased me, but the path just got worse and worse, making me spend a lot of the time walking back the way I’d just come from as it again zig-zagged up to the top of the woods, some 1000ft up.
Feeling a little on the hot and bothered side I decided to take a break, finding a suitable looking rock to sit on. I got a Mars bar out of my pack, sat down and took the weight off for five minutes. Well, maybe not quite five minutes as I noticed a few ants scurrying about, then realising that I’d sat on top of a bloody ants nest!
That put an end to my rest so I threw my pack back on and carried on down the path. The sun was beginning to get quite hot now and I really just wanted the day’s walk over with already.
It wasn’t long though before my stomach started to tell me it was almost lunch time, and on top of that the little toe on my left foot was beginning to get somewhat sore. I found a good spot – without any ants – overlooking Loch Ness, dropped my stuff, took my boots off and had my lunch.
Food eaten I decided to look at my foot only to find a new blister on my toe. I’d not had a new blister for ages so I was a little disappointed to find this one. I put a blister plaster on it, put my boots back on and started down the path again.
It wasn’t long though before I realised that the repair job on my toe wasn’t working very well. My foot was just as painful mainly due to it being a little more cramped due to the plaster. I stopped, again, took my boot off and removed my 1000 mile sock, leaving only my liner sock. I put my boot back on and hoped and prayed that the rest of my foot was now tough enough to go the rest of the day in just the liner sock. Only time would tell if this was a good idea or a terrible mistake.
The path was pretty boring, only giving glimpes again of the loch, and it wasn’t too long before I reached the road I’d be following for the final four or so miles in to Drumnadrochit. This was even more boring than the woodland path and it wasn’t long before I started to fall apart again, the pain in my feet getting worse and worse.
Even with the pain I was determined not to fall apart mentally today, like I’ve done the previous few days, so I tried desperately to keep a smile on my face and ignore the pain as best I could.
I was doing ok until it came to the point where the lane headed down towards Drumnadrochit. This was a very steep descent which meant all the weight and strain went, you guessed it, right on my toes which were already screaming with pain.
I struggled down until the pain became too much to take. I found a patch of grass, threw my kit down and sat there for a few minutes. I had a bar of chocolate and had some Panadol, hoping that it would dull the pain enough for me to reach my hotel room.
I sat there a few minutes more to try and let the tablets take at least some effect and then headed off down the hill again. Fortunately they seemed to be working so I pushed on as best I could.
I did pretty well, making good time over the final mile and a half, but before heading to my hotel I stopped at the local shop to pick up my supplies for tomorrow’s walk and also to post a couple of postcards for the girls.
Chores done I headed up the road to my hotel – the Drumnadrochit Hotel – checked in and collapsed in my room. I did nothing for a good half an hour other than lie on my bed, taking the weight off my feet. Oh, and in case you were wondering, my left foot handled just wearing the liner sock pretty well thankfully – phew!
I finally went and checked the bathroom out and found a bath – hurrah! I ran a deep, hot bath and soaked my aching body in it for a good twenty minutes. I felt considerably better after that I can tell you.
I had a lovely chat with the girls and a good chat with my surrogate mum Val. Both phone calls helped to put a big smile on my face.
I’d booked a table at the hotel restaurant for 7pm so I sorted myself out and headed down to get some food and a couple of beers. The food was great. I had Cullen Skink – an onion, potato, smoked haddock and leek chowder – for a started which was delicious. This was topped by the honey and garlic glazed pork belly with coriander mash, drizzled with sweet chilli and ginger sauce, which had quite a bit of a kick to it.
The hotel didn’t have any decent beer so I had to make do with a couple of bottles of Peroni which was ok but I could have murdered a decent ale after another hard walk.
This is so far one of the only things I can think of that is bad about Scotland, the severe lack of decent ales in pubs and hotels. It would certainly make me think twice before moving up here that’s for sure, which is a shame as everything else is great.
Stuffed, I headed back to my room to chill out before a long walk in to Inverness tomorrow. I can only hope that my feet play ball a bit more as I’m not sure I can take another day of the pain.
This was a tough day’s walking, most of it spent walking up hill. Again my feet fell away and I really am beginning to get concerned about their ability to cover the mileage I’ve set for each day of the rest of the walk. Yes, I could change my schedule but to be honest, I don’t think it’d do any good and the sooner I get this finished the sooner I can throw those boots away!
There are now only nine days – eight walking – left before this big adventure is over. I’m still not sure what I think about that or how I think I’ll feel when I get to that finish line. I guess I’ll only know that when I eventually make it I suppose?