Friday, June 17, 2005

Great Glen Way Day 3: Lagan to Fort Augustus

Last night I went out to dinner with my fellow guests at the B&B, Emily & Matt, a young couple from Wisconsin. They're also doing the GGW but their days are longer as they're carrying all their own bags. Dinner is marked by the waitress bringing out a serving tray of Heinz sauces extruded (probably in Wigan) into a rainbow assortment of coloured sachets.

Had my first black pudding for breakfast - can take it or leave it really. We were back on the trail at 9.15am and made quick progress, reaching Fort Augustus 10.5 miles along the trail at 12.30pm. The initial promise of sunshine was withheld for a while, but by the time we had traversed half of Loch Oich through the Lelterfearn Forest Nature Reserve it was warm enough to strip off my shirt for the remaining loch and canal walk. The River Oich follows noisily, to our left while the canal is only marked by occasional boats or even canoes. I took less photos today as the countryside, while attractive, is not distinctive. We're both into the rhythm of the walk, pausing occasionally to appreciate small gems of beauty or to take refreshment. Bondi negotiates a tall stile with ease, a huge improvement from the little one he saw at Tatton Park two weeks earlier, which he looked at as if I'd offered him a Rubik's cube.

Midges tend to descend quickly as soon as you stop, and even Bondi gets their unwelcome attentions. I'd left him outside for a period the previous evening, but he soon knocked on the door and looked for some assistance with muzzle and ear scratching. They also seemed to have attached an old hairless gland area on his tail. I'm still scratching bites from two days ago.

Many smaller items catch the eye. Yesterday, it was the Monarch of the Underglen, the black slug, seen every step of the way, usually on the path itself, but sometimes wrapped around thistle stems. Today there were small blue dragonflies, segments flashing into focus like messages from the TV-like white noise of the canal path lime.

Bondi had frequent refreshment dips along the way,but crashlanded at the junction of canal and A82 in Fort Augustus, much to the amusement of passers-by who watched my attempts to cadge into completing the last 1/4 mile to our B&B. He's out to the world soon after we're ushered into our room. Luckily tomorrow's walk is relatively short - 8 miles - and because of a shortage of accommodation at the other end, we'll actually be staying two nights in Fort Augustus.

We're right at the southern tip of Loch Ness, so it's the beginning of Nessie Tourist Traps, culminating in museums galore in Drumnadochit, two nights hence.

Kytra Lock

My dragonfly

eye has one facet

aye and many

times to see

My one canal

threads the sea

yet with time

finds all waters

run beside

my dragonfly river.

My many locks

collect and sieve

inspect and store

all my dragonfly


sees at


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