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
Thursday 5th January:
Loch Oich to 4 miles past Fort Augustus
|The path is wedged between the hillside and the shore of Loch oich.||Old railway tunnel, now appears to have a river running through it.||Old railway bridge towards the end of Loch Oich.|
The path beside Loch Oich is a narrow forest track squeezed between hillside and water. There are two tracks along this section, the dismantled railway line which you start off on, and General Wades Military road, which you quickly turn onto. While walking on the military road, we happened to turn and see what may have been an old railway tunnel. It crosses under the path which you follow, is very overgrown, and appears to have a stream running through it. Walking beside Loch Oich is very pleasent, and gradually the track opens out more, giving better views over the loch, where we glimpse the ruins of Inveragarry castle. Nearing the end of Loch Oich, the path rejoins the dismantled railway line as you come to a long flat bridge of metal construction which looks like an old railway bridge. It certainly is not part of the military road. While walking the length of Loch Oich we saw plenty of protrusions of forested land into water which would have made great campsite. It was unfortunate that on the previous night, we had been unsure of path in dark and were so tired as it would have been easy to improve on the campsite we chose.
From the old railway bridge, the way cuts across the top of Loch Oich along a beach and through gorse on a narrow path. We join the next section of Caledonian canal at a place called Aberchalder. On the other side of the canal we glimpse the Bridge of Oich, an old bridge designed by James Dredge in 1850, and a notice by the locks tells us that this is where the royal family disembarked in 1958. Several old bits of canal equipment are on display here as well making the place feel a bit like an outdoor museum. It is here that we meet our first and only other Great Glen way hiker, who coming from Fort Augustus was obviously not camping. We cross the canal and continue on the other side, the towpath wedged between the canal and River Oich, which we can hear to our right, but do not see much of due to the trees. This long, winding section of canal is beautiful but completely deserted. The walk changes very little during its length, and as we get bored of the surroundings, we start to play a game of 'I spy'. Jo comments on the lack of any wildlife, and is suprised their are no swans to be seen.
|A wier crosses the path, and we see one of few boats.||Lunch on the jetty, looking back to Kytra loch and the cottages to the right.|
We reach Kytra loch, a beautiful set of locks with
side cottages among some pine trees, with benches and picnic tables. A
weir crosses the path just before the loch, which you have to wade
through. Luckily its shallow enough that you don't get your feet wet if
you're wearing boots. We decide to lay on the jetty for lunch
rather than sitting at the picnic tables, as our feet are sore from all
the towpath walking. The place is almost completely deserted except for
a boat passing through and a British Waterways man in a van.
We continue on towards Fort Augustus past a widened part of the canal, and coincedently see some swans! This widened part of the canal seems be a small pond conected to the canal through a narrow chanel, and the swans seem to have made this place their home. Between Kyrta Loch and Fort Augustus, we see many frozen sections of canal, which we bombard with stones to see if the ice will break. The stones cause a shochwave to spread through the thin ice sheet, making it lots of fun. The River Oich continues it's journey to our left behind pine trees and out of sight.
We reach Fort Augustus, with the canal coming down into the town through a series of locks. We stop here and visit several shops, for food, postcards and flu remidies. Alan has a terrible cold which is worsened by his ongoing recently started smoking. Postcards are mostly poor and very general ones of scotland, with very few of the great glen. They even have postcards with Edinburgh castle on them, which is ironic as we are from Edinburgh. The way follows the main road through Fort Augustus, past a petrol station with toilets - a much needed luxury - and onto a more minor road before leaving the town. A path leaves the road and climbs steeply up through mixed woodland of birch and pine, beside a small stream, before finally reaching a forest track. We follow this forest track which runs parallel with Loch Ness, and has great views over the loch due to its high elevation. Loch Ness seems to have moving shadows and ripples in it, probably due to its depth in places. This could make it seem like something was moving below the surface, but we are sceptical. After an hour of walking along the track, it starts to get dark again, and we search for a campsite in the failing light. We find a grassy layby with a patch of blackened ground, hinting that this spot has previously been used as a campsite with a fire. A gap in the trees in front of the layby give glorious views of the loch, and we decide this is the perfect location to camp. Leaving our stuff in the layby, we walk a little further along the track to try and find some water, as we are almost out. We find a small stream close by, and manage to fill up and return to set up camp.< Previous Next >