As I checked out of the Clansman the receptionist advised me that there was a connecting trail to the Great Glen Way at the end of the coach park, which satisfied my curiosity if I’d have to endure more traffic until I could rejoin it. But she said with a grimace, “It is very steep, mind”.
STEEP? It was like scaling the frickin’ Empire State Building. Straight the way up the hill, and then another, and another. The sign at the bottom said it was enjoyable 25 minute steep climb! More like 40 minutes! Somebody needs shooting for such sadism!
Anyway, I made it, and the views from the top were well worth it. I’d have to start getting used to all this climbing if I was to succeed on the West Highland Way. Remarkably my body did soon get accustomed to it, especially with the help of my walking poles, which I hadn’t touched until now. I had never actually used walking poles before today. If you can imagine a new born baby giraffe standing up for the first time, well that’s pretty much how I started, but by day’s end I was like a landstrider from the Dark Crystal.
Hopelessly tra-la-lahing through the woods I again missed the blue Great Glen turnpost and ended up at the bottom of a farmer’s field. Thankfully my GPS came in handy and showed me a connecting trail, but it went ‘up’ again, the same kind of ‘up’ I had experienced getting to the main trail to begin with. By the time I rejoined I had to have a little lie down.
Since my feet were back in prime working order I was keen to press on. I ran into a sign that gave up the high road or low road option for the trail. The low option apparently had lots of rises and falls and rose 300 ft, and the high option rose 480 ft with steep climbs, but the views were meant to be stunning. My body was raring to go so my gut said take the high road.
Wow, I was so glad I did. The views kept getting better and better and there wasn’t a soul on the track after 6pm except for a German guy who asked me how long it was to (incomprehensible speech). Since I couldn’t quite understand him I said, “Oh about 2 hours”, much to his chagrin. When I walked abit further I realised he was asking how far it was to Balbeg, which was 20 minutes away. Bad….bad, Ruh! I did feel somewhat guilty, but hey, the worse thing would be that he thinks I was a complete idiot.
When I reached the summit, there was a manmade rock wall with a bench built into it’s side to admire the view Loch Ness from up high. As the spot wasn’t quite up to the tree line I decided to get the tent out and wild camp for the night.