Our Walk of The Great Glen Way, with Meall na Teanga and Sron a' Choire Ghairbh
- Fort William to Gairlochy
- Gairlochy to Kilfinnan and then Cam Bhealach
- Meall na Teanga and Sron a' Choire Ghairbh (Munros beside Great Glen Way)
- Kilfinnan to Loch Oich
- Loch Oich to 4 miles past Fort Augustus
- 4 miles past Fort Augustus to Grotaig
- Grotaig to Abriachan
- Abriachan to Inverness
Saturday 7th January:
Grotaig to Abriachan
|Looking back to the farmyard buildings near Grotaig.||Loch ness tourist centre of Drumnadrochit has lots of Nessie related attractions.||Looking across to Urquart castle as we leave Drumnadrochit behind.|
We follow the minor road from Grotaig (which is about as attractive as it sounds) for about 2 miles, using the roadside footpath where available. We pass by some farmyard buildings and see a couple of cats in the garden of one of them. We later pass a few farmers who are herding sheep. The way eventually turns off the road and onto bridle paths, which drop down from the road to the river Coiltie. The bridle paths pass through Clunebeg Wood, with signs indicating which way horseriders should go. On reaching the river, we follow it for a short while a gravel road, before joining the busy A82 near West Lewiston. The next few miles of the Great Glen Way are unfortunately all on the busy A82 road, as it passes over the river Coiltie, out of Lewiston and almost immediately into Drumnadrochit.
Drumnadrochit is regarded as the capital of the Nessie industry, and there are lots of Nessie-related attractions here as one would expect. There are two Loch Ness Visitor Centres here, the one which we pass has a large fibreglass Nessie monster in front of it, and there are also plenty of advertisements for Loch cruises, including Nessie hunting ones. Alan shows interest in the monsters, but with daylight hours short, we must press on, and we continue along this particularly busy and fast stretch of road past Lower Drumbuie. With its narrow pavement the road is actually a little intimidating, but we are stuck on it for just under 2 miles. Some big lorries beeped at us with our large packs which scared us to death.
|Views across the loch as we once again climb up the hillside. Urquart castle is over there.||We suddenly enter coniferous forest on a narrow path.||Some sections are very steep, though they don't look it in the photo.|
It is a great relief to finally leave the road. As the path rises, we get better views across the bay of Drumnadrochit to Urquart Castle and the rest of the loch. We stop for some food and gaze over the fields at the magnificent view. Unfortunately we know it's all going to be uphill from here as we will be mounting the highest point of the GGW today which is at Corryfoyness, a moorland farm, near to Abriachan. Our spirits are improved by the sudden entry into dense coniferous forest, which winds up the hillside for ages before emerging into a large clearing with chunky gravel stones, which later turns into a track.
|Last views of the loch, almost at the highest point on the way.||Not so smart now eh?||Alan finds that shallow pools of water are completely frozen solid up here. He also finds that they are rather slippy to walk on.|
The track gradually climbs all the way up to Corryfoyness the highest point of the GGW at 1250' (380m). Here we phone ahead to Abriachan campsite and say we're coming, they prefer some advance notice according to adverts for them on the web. It takes ages to get to top. High above Loch Ness, we turn away from the Loch for the last time and head over onto the ridge and slightly down the other side. Although absolutely deserted, we find there are other signposted forest trails up here, interrtwined with the GGW, which can make the GGW difficult to follow. We descend slightly over the top of the ridge and down into the adjacent valley, and encounter some frozen bodies of water! A little naughtily, we throw big rocks from the road onto this, but cannot break the ice! On closer inspection, it's over 2 inches thick - enough to support a human, or even a stag! Alan ventures onto it, to the scorn of Jo, who gets a good laugh as he tumbles onto his back end. The track enters woodland before passing a small building marked Achpopuli on our map. We see new mountain biking trails, which cross our track, with signposts warning that they are still setting and so not to be ridden on! The perfectly straight track soon reachs the road to Abriachan which we cross.
We spy a large orange bearded man on a quad bike waiting by the road on a farm track. We have a suspician he's from the campsite and has come to pick us up, and it turns out that he has. On arriving at the campsite we recieve a warm welcome, and are greeted by no less than 5 large alsation dogs. It turns out that we are the first campers of year, and are offered the opportunity to be the firet to try out their new camping spot in the woods round the back. The main campsite is out the front, near a curling pond. The campsite has limited facilities, which include an outdoor shower (over a cold stream) and dry toilets (you just do your buisness and sprinkle sawdust over it). We were encouraged to build our own fire, and hot water was provided for washing, as the pipes for the shower had burst in the cold weather.
The campsite proved to be really comfy comfy ground covered in moss, and the warmest we'd had despite being the highest campsite yet. The owners are a lovely, chatty couple, who are trying to become self sufficient. They bought land and were now putting their own log cabin on it. They charged us £10 for the night, and we would recommend this campsite to anyone with a sense of adventure.< Previous Next >