Vroom vroom Splash Roar
Fort William to Drumnadrochit, edge of Loch Ness.
A family of four californians started their day with hot chocolate with whipped cream. They were on their way to Edinburgh and then to Ireland – by car.
A group of German students struggled with my explanation of ‘the early bird gets the worm’. Why did I launch into that?
This stay at the Guisachan guest house was one of the most efficient and welcoming of our three week tour.
Stopping at a station level crossing outside Fort William we were somewhat surprised to see a couple of masts going by – we were at the foot of Neptune’s Staircase, a series of eight locks without intervening pounds built by Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822. The longest staircase in Britain lifting boats up to 20m long, each lock is 55×12 m. It takes boats 90 mins to pass through the system (half a day prior to modernisation).
Lots of today was spent on main roads, with fewer heavy lorries but many coaches, motorbikes and camper vans, one of which came very close to me and within a few yards had driven off the road onto the verge for a few moments. Narrow escape!
As such, few birds, but I saw Mimulus, mixed with buttercups, in its typical damp ditch location, as often found by the Shropshire Union Canal. I was surprised to find it here. Also broom mixed with gorse, our first heather (small patch), and ridiculous huge fields of buttercups and orchids! Together! Just there by the road!
The Great Glen was the original training ground for the Commandos. This is a moving memorial to these men, and I will not trivialise it by attempting to précis the information. As we near John o Groats, and as routes along the glens become limited, the paths of the LeJoggers are converging. We met today Lorenzo, a classroom support worker from Varese 40 Miles north of Milan, on the Swiss border. He brought his bike to Dover and has cycled from there. After JoG he is going to Ireland, but from Glasgow, not Edinburgh like our US friends. Sensible man.
Lorenzo walked his bike down the hills when it was particularly windy yesterday. I’m not such a Wuss after all.
Fort Augustus is, of course, as a beautiful village by Loch Ness, a great tourist attraction. I liked this piper on the boat going through the lock however:
Along the Great Glen Way we saw: a a line of Caterham Sevens, what looked like a boat preparing to row the Atlantic, a capsule complete with solar panels and sleeping area, and what to, our now very strange minds, looked like miles of Miniature railway track! Ridiculous thought.
And to our accommodation : all purple and grey, nine cats, a ring through the owner’s nose (she has three big motorbikes) and absolutely lovely attention to caring for people. This is her bike mudguard:
In fact it’s so lovely here, people obviously don’t need to communicate with the outside world: Mileage: 54.5 (cumulative 853)
Tantrums: I wasn’t having a tantrum, was trying to sort things out!
Sounds – a mixture of traffic, Keith swearing at Yet another hill – and those bagpipes
Smells: mainly wet pine.
Mechanical issues: 0