Thursday, June 16, 2005

Great Glen Way Day 2: Gairlochy to Lagan

I woke many hours after dawn i.e. about 7am, had a hearty Scottish breakfast, but skipped the offer of haggis or black pudding. Give me time. One of my hosts drove us back to Gairlochy, and we started the second leg of our journey at 8.30am, crossing the canal onto a forest road and following it up and around Loch Lochy. Bondi is in surprisingly good form this morning, and picks up even more after a few dips in the water. This section of the walk is very beautiful, crossed many times by mountain streams about to empty into the loch. Again, no walkers on the path, but we are passed by cyclists many times. More often, while lost in thought, I'm interrupted by fighter jets tearing along the Great Glen in far less time than is conducive for enjoying the local sights. These are probably rehearsing for patrol duties during the imminent Edinburgh G8 conference.

While yesterday's journey was on fairly level ground, today's path undulated, with seemingly endless upward segments. I gained sight of the Laggan Locks much sooner than expected, and we got in just after 12.30. Bondi wandered up the short flight of stairs to the lock controller's tower to have a look around. He turned around and plonked himself down on the platform outside it as if that were our final destination. I tried to pursuade him away from the tower to wash off in the loch - "walkies!" - but he looked at me as if that were the funniest thing he's ever heard.

Nevertheless I eventually got him down and he had a last swim. After stopping for these few minutes, my feet started to seize up, and we still had a mile to get to tonight's rest. That was found along a canal path (past the Eagle, the floating Inn on the Waters) and then doubling back along the A82, which was a slightly precarious venture since the verge is about a foot wide at most along there.

Tonight's small B&B had a booklet with lists of amenities and the stories behind local place names. Each page was footnoted Scottish Hospitality at its best! I was particularly taken by the story of the Well of Seven Heads (a site to the north, but across the loch from the GGW), a bloody tale of clan revenge with an obvious conclusion, but again footnoted by Scottish Hospitality at its best! Hmmm.

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