Saturday, June 18, 2005

Great Glen Way Day 4: Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

With a short walk anticipated (8 miles) and the possibility of high temperatures, we set out at about 9. I had only just noticed that despite the great length of Loch Ness, the Great Glen Way rarely passed close to its edge. Today we were mainly confined to stony, steep forest roads or hard bitumen. We ascended quickly for a great view south over the lake and edge of Fort Augustus, but the picturesque scenery quickly dwindled to occasional glimpses of natural undergrowth as plantation trees took over. There are a couple more places along the way where you can look out over the vast tracts of evergreens, lacustrine monsters and hill tops that typify this part of the world, but there's not much to distinguish one such view from the next.

In truth, today was very hard going: I had sore shins that had not recovered from yesterday's exertions and the constantly rising road, unrelieved by variation made it hard to distract myself from the pain of my left shin and right knee. My MP3 player's shuffle mode threw up sublime moments of Arvo Part's Orient & Occident married with natural birdsong, while an awful William Shatner rendition of Rocket Man momentarily took the pain from my legs to my ears (and how did that piece end up on my MP3 player?). - A moment of meaningful synchronicity: as I type this, a BBC document on the 1985 Live Aid concert plays back a snippet of the Star Trek theme.

The constant ascent was ended by a very rapid, very painful descent to a bitumen road leading into Invermoriston. After walking all day with my feet constantly flexing upwards, they didn't like flexing downwards suddenly for the path downhill.

Bondi is doing pretty well, despite no opportunity for a swim in the narrow streams that run under the forest roads. I'm sure he's keeping a blog with all sorts of dark thoughts that underpin his apparent stoicism.

I'm a bit mystified by the route planner's choice for this section. I can only conclude it was some expediency in obtaining a right of way through this part of the Great Glen, although the main road does hug the loch pretty closely. At Invermoriston, I make a pre-arranged call to Jenny, a taxi-driver who will collect me from the Post Office and return us to Fort Augustus. While I wait for her, I comb Bondi's fur for ticks: many more found than yesterday. It's a bad time for the small ticks as the bracken unfurls for summer.

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