Monday, October 01, 2007

Loch Ness

Mist hanging low over the south of the loch

Spent today gently idling beside the shore of Loch Ness, starting with a walk from our Dores B&B along the pebbly beach and then around the forested area of Tor Point, about 7km in all. The mould and spores in the woods got to me a bit, producing a gagging allergic reaction for about 15 minutes, but I pressed along following a kayaking family that I'd been talking to on the beach.

Bondi renewed his acquaintance with the cold water of the loch, 2 years and 3 months since we first walked in the Great Glen. I had a torrent of aural cold water running through my ears while I listened to a podcast of Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens pontificating on blasphemy at the 2005 Hay Festival. It's great to hear 78 minutes of dialog, digressions and all, rather than the soundbites of TV.

10 miles back down towards Fort Augustus, Foyes villages (Upper and Lower) sit at opposite extremes of the waterway that presents itself as the Falls of Foyes. Rather bland lunch (withered paninis are all the rage everywhere: hey everyone, we've made toasted sandwiches longer!) and fake (instant) espresso before tackling the stairs with Bondi's supercanine downward lurch on the leash.

I made a few phone-calls through the day to find accommodation along the north coast tomorrow night. Getting B&B proprietors in the UK to return phone-calls or emails is a thankless task: if they've figured out how to use the answering machine or PC to get the enquiries, then that seems to satisfy them for the day. Actually replying seems to be an optional step. If you reach them again by telephone, you'll often get the quietly proud response "yes I got your message".

After a few attempts today I reached the proprietors of another outpost of the Crun & Bannister B&B Empire, more trembling uncertainty as to whether they have a vacancy and if so, should they tell the stranger on the telephone. It reminded me of the story of a London barrister being asked by a cabbie "Where to today guv?", which garnered an icy "Do you think I'm going to tell the likes of you where I live?".

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