Monday 14 July 2014

TGOC 2014 - Day 4: Inchlaggan to Fort Augustus

Monday 12th May 2014 

A low level day's walk along forest tracks, the A82 and the Great Glen Way  

Distance: 28km; Ascent: 540m; Dry; Solo in morning, followed by afternoon with Alan, Phil & Andy

After a good night's sleep, I enjoyed a leisurely start to the day at my B&B.  I finally set off walking again at around quarter to ten this morning and headed east along the minor road along the north side of Loch Garry for a couple of kilometres, with good views over to Ben Tee and Meall a'Choire Ghlais.  Soon I reached the metal bridge over the narrowing of the loch and headed south past Torr na Carraidh along forest tracks.

Ben Tee and Meall a'Choire Ghlais across Loch Garry
Looking up Loch Garry from the bridge
Soon I caught up with David Brown, a first time challenger from Baltimore and I chatted to him for a while as we walked along the forest tracks before we stopped to chat to Jim Taylor in Greenfield Wood.  Aware that time was getting on and I still had a lot of distance to cover, I left them enjoying their cups of tea and continued eastwards through the Laddie Wood.

Hairy Coos ahead!
And here are the hairy coos
The Forestry Commission have now started to have highland cattle roaming these woods, and today they seemed particularly keen on lying down in the middle of the track!  After a bit more plodding along the track, I reached the Laddie shelter at the track junction for Ben Tee; I had originally planned to come this way back in 2010 but ended up on the north shore of Loch Arkaig instead.

The Laddie shelter
As I continued eastwards along the forest track from the Laddie shelter, the views opened up and I could make out my original planned hill for the day: Meall Dubh.  The forest track made for reasonably swift walking and after a while I decided to leave it for a parallel looking newish footpath through the woods alongside the Allt na Cailliche.  In fact it was just as well I did as the forest track no longer connects with the Wester Mandally road, and instead I crossed the burn at a new looking footbridge and made my way up to the road.  (Unfortunately my phone chose not to track this section very well, so I can't be 100% certain exactly where the new bridge was!).

Wind farm on Meall Dubh from forest track
Forest track, heading for Invergarry
The new footbridge over the Allt na Cailliche
River Garry near Wester Mandally
River Garry at Invergarry
After stopping for a quick lunch break near the western end of the road, I continued east to cross the River Garry by way of the A82 road bridge.  I was drawn to the nearby Invergarry Hotel, where I found Alan, Phil and Andy enjoying a drink.  I joined them for a refreshing pint of ale before we all set off for an afternoon stroll along the Great Glen, although the first few kilometres were unfortunately along the side of the very busy A82!

The Bridge of Oich
Bridge of Oich swing bridge
Boat passing through the Bridge of Oich swing bridge
At the Bridge of Oich we picked up the more relaxed surroundings of the Great Glen Way along the Caledonian Canal.  We stopped for a few minutes to watch the Bridge of Oich swing bridge opening to let a boat through, whilst queues of traffic built up on both sides of the A82.

Looking north along the Caledonian Canal from Cullochy lock
Alan & Phil on the Great Glen Way
Tree felling at the new Beauly to Denny power line
It was pleasant to have company for a change and I chatted to Andy, Alan & Phil as we continued northeastwards along the good track.  However after a while I realised that I was going to be late for my promised Skype video call with my three year old daughter, so I zoomed off ahead to get to Fort Augustus on time!

Approaching Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus
I headed through the centre of town and on up to my booked accommodation for the evening at Morag's Lodge on the northern side of town, where I arrived at around 6pm.  It was good to chat to Lynsey and my daughters, even though it was via a poor quality Skype video call over the hostel's busy WiFi.

That evening I headed back into town to meet a whole host of challengers at the Lock Inn, where I enjoyed a tasty plate of fish & chips washed down with a couple of fine pints of ale.  The pub was busy that evening, and I remember meeting John B, Alan, Andy, Phil, Humphrey, Vicky and Toby there amongst many others.  It was nice to enjoy my first proper sociable evening of this year's TGOC :-)


  1. I keep meaning to tell someone at TGO Challenge Control about that missing bridge (or to be more correct, the missing road bridge and the new footbridge). It caused us and quite a few others a head-scratching moment.

    1. Agreed, I was a little bit confused about the bridge changes too! I wonder how recent the change is? The online OS maps still show the old road bridge. The only map I've found since the TGOC that appears to reflect the situation on the ground is OpenStreetMap.

      I'll drop a quick email to Sue & Ali to let them know about the confusing nature of these bridges in case they don't already know.