LETJOG – Day 51: Wednesday 7 July – DRUMNADROCHIT to MUIR OF ORD (17 miles)
Lots of road walking today, and indeed in prospect tomorrow, as the route that I have scheduled turns unerringly, and reassuringly, northwards, linking the parts of the Great Glen Way I have walked with those of the John O’Groats Trail that will take me, eventually, to my destination. Using the OS App, I have planned, for these two days, so far as I am able, to walk on footpaths and minor roads, even if this means a significant diversion, but there are stretches, like this morning’s walk over the top from Glen Urquhart to Glen Convinth, where walking on a main road, in this case the A833, is required. Fortunately the traffic on this road today has been light and many minutes can pass without a vehicle, but such walking is less fun when the need for visibility and vigilance is ever-present.
So, it has been a ‘link section’ of LETJOG today, but nonetheless there were highlights that include the views from the lane coming down the lower part of Glen Convinth, past the grazing pastures of cattle, sheep and, in one case, alpacas, and the distant views beyond to the west and to the north of many ‘new’ mountains, some of which I will be acquainting myself with over the next few days.
I completed most of my day’s walk before reaching Beauly for a sandwich lunch, in the sunshine! Beauly is a pleasant town; its town sign still celebrates the 1995 ‘Britain In Bloom’ Award, and with attractive bouquets adorning every available piece of street furniture, Beauly’s future in this competition seems assured. The town clearly has much life around its shops and cafes, although I was disappointed to find the Priory closed, as indeed, later this afternoon, was the distillery in Muir of Ord.
With an early arrival at my overnight, The Ord Arms, I was able to do some accommodation booking for the days ahead, and to make some tweaks to my route planning. From tomorrow afternoon my path takes me along the John O’Groats Trail, but a reading of the entry on Wikipedia is not very encouraging:
“Work began in March 2015 – the trail is in use but is still a work in progress. The walk presents some obstacles that an established trail normally would not. In a few places the trail requires crossing of barbed wire fences, river fording, boulder scrambling, and strenuous walking through summer vegetation. These can be dangerous or difficult activities if not done with care by a fit, experienced walker.”
A reminder indeed that it’s not over ‘til it’s over! And as a related postscript – Euro 2020 has been a backdrop to the last month of my walk. I have followed the competition, along with the tennis from Wimbledon, as far as possible during the evenings. Most of my overnight accommodation has a TV, and with England’s win in the semi-final tonight, I will certainly have to make sure that I have access to a screen in Berriedale on Sunday evening! It’s coming home – several days before I do!