Day 14: Drumnadrochit
I can’t believe how quickly the end of our vacation is closing in! The rain of the last couple of days seems to have passed on, although this morning is was still drizzly. The walkers left Glenmoriston Arms after breakfast, ready for a great day. Although the rain was lessening, the cold was remaining and the wind was quite chilly. The cyclists left an hour or so after the walkers, and I rode along with Adrian today.
After the cyclists left us, we made our way down the back roads to meet up with everyone at their 8 mile point. One our way their, we started seeing signs for a pottery, following the signs we finally came upon a very small house at the end of a very narrow lane. The gentleman there ran a small “tea-room” serving hot and cold drinks and simple meals for passing walkers. His wife was the potter and they had some beautiful pieces available. I would have loved to have gotten something, but I don’t think I have room in my suitcase!
Adrian and I found the 8 mile point and settled in to wait for the walkers and cyclists. We began to have some concerns as it got later and later. Finally they showed up and we found out they had had miles of climbing! Once everyone was gathered back together, the walkers continued on to the B&B and we gathered up the cyclists and headed to Urquhart Castle.
Urquhart Castle was initially a Pictish village in the 500s AD, and grew over the years before it was finally destroyed by the people who lived there in the 1680s. The owners of the castle destroyed it rather than letting it be taken by their enemy. It is on the edge of Loch Ness, and still quite beautiful. We spent over an hour walking the grounds before returning to the B&B. When some of the walkers wanted to go see the castle as well, I returned with them to look around the grounds some more! Even then, I found some nooks and cranny’s that I have overlooked before! I am sure that even if I visited several days in a row, I would still be finding new things!
We had dinner at a local restaurant, and then turned in for the night. Tomorrow would be the last day of the walk!
Day 15: Inverness
After breakfast, Adrian shuttled the walkers to the other side of Drumnadrochit to begin their walk. I went with them, not to walk, but to visit the Loch Ness Visitors Center. The Visitors Center put on a very informative look at the Legend of the Loch Ness Monster and presented the myths, the pictures and the scientific evidence gathered during the search for the monster.
Leaving Drumnadrochit by bus, I headed to Inverness. Once in Inverness, I found the visitors center, got my bearings and headed out to Colloden Battlefield. While I waited for the bus to get there, I had time to walk through the Victorian Market in Inverness – an indoor mall filled with lots of little shops.
Once out at the battlefield, I walked through the center where they had the story of Colloden from both the Government and the Jacobite sides. Once becoming more familiar to the story, I headed out to the battlefield. This battle, that ended the Jacobite rising was very short and very bloody. Seven hundred men died within the first three minutes of the battle. In the 15 minutes that the battle lasted, over 1500 men died. The grounds of the battlefield are not just a battlefield, but also a graveyard and memorial.
I spent over an hour at the Colloden Battlefield, then took the bus back into Inverness and located the B&B. The walkers arrived about an hour later, after a 20 mile day! I walked with them the last couple hundred meters to the end of the Great Glen Way! Congratulations to all who walked the walk!
It is hard to believe that our journey has ended. Although I am very proud of the walking I was able to accomplish, I am a little disappointed that I was unable to continue to the end. I have learned a lot of what I need to do if I am going to continue to do long distance walking. I certainly have a new appreciation for what my parents do and I really look forward to walking more!