Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

LETJOG – Day 49: Monday 5 July – CLUNES to FORT AUGUSTUS (18 miles)

A natural ‘green wall’!

After breakfast in my room, I left Bank Street Lodge, my home for two consecutive nights(!), and took a taxi back the 14 miles to the remote hamlet of Clunes where my walk ended yesterday. From this minor road the Great Glen Way turns straightaway onto a forestry track, some metres above Loch Lochy down to the right. This undulating path, through dense conifers, is infamously known at this point as the ‘Black Mile’ for its lack of light, although in actual fact the track continues similarly for about seven miles, almost to Laggan. Moss covers everything under the trees, disappearing into the darkness upslope and forming a carpet of green down to the rocky loch-side.

Looking back at Ben Nevis from Clunes – no change in the weather on the top!
The forestry track, just beyond the ‘Black Mile’ out of Clunes
A carpet of green across the forest floor

It was on the short descent, out of the forest and into Laggan at the end of the loch, that the rain started. I couldn’t really complain, as I had enjoyed a dozen dry days since entering Scotland, and so on went the waterproofs. Rain though, in some ways, is less detrimental to a day’s hike than was the heat of last week, and for the most part the remainder of today’s walk suffered no more than a refreshing light drizzle, with just an hour or so of intermittent heavier downpours.

Waiting to exit Laggan Locks into Loch Lochy

After crossing the lock-gates of the Caledonian Canal at Laggan the Way took a beautiful path through mixed woodland for the two miles to Loch Oich. Here the route takes a small lane to the former Invergarry Station, then along the attractive tree-lined course of the old railway for a very straight four miles to Oich Bridge, all the while with views across the loch. Rejoining the canal-side path once more at Oich Bridge, the rain stopped briefly for my final few miles into Fort Augustus, just in time for the next downpour as I reached my B&B!

A view from the wonderful two-mile woodland walk between Loch Lochy and Loch Oich
The swing bridge across the Caledonian Canal at North Laggan
A restoration project is in process on the old railway line, and at Invergarry Station that was closed in 1947
Through the arch window – a view of Loch Oich whilst taking cover from the rain for a water break

So I can now say that I’ve experienced the full range of Scottish weather, at least so far as is likely at this time of year. The forecast is mixed for tomorrow too, with some rain, on what promises to be a full day’s walk through the forested slopes along the north-west side of Loch Ness, the fiftieth day of my LETJOG challenge!

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