I’ve been looking forward to this post as I would like to introduce you to somebody very personal to me LOL
So before I do my usual daily charity hike journal I would like to introduce…Luna.
This is Luna my pet Highland Cow. I might have mentioned to Eve and Sarah, that Ella needs a friend. I might have mentioned in jest, that I feel left out not having a hiking companion.
So… Sarah surprised me after we completed the West Highland Way with a small package that turned out to be Luna, Ella’s new friend and my hiking companion.
Now, Luna (that’s what I named her) is named after Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, as she is one of my favourite characters. Eve has also decided that Luna is the adopted sister to Ella, which they are both ecstatic about.
So, there you have it, another member of the Alderman adventure crew. Just need to get Sarah a travel companion now!
Back to today… and our first day on the wonderful (and flat) Great Glen Way.
Eve and I slept well and warm in our guest house before leaving to try and find our way to the Tesco Express on Fort William high street before walking the short distance to the official start of the trail.
We popped to Tesco to grab some lunch for the day. We opted for a meal deal and some additional plum tomatoes to snack on as we walked. Eve chose a ham and cheese sandwich, sushi and apple juice whilst I selected a cheese sandwich, carrot sticks and hummus and a cold coffee.
I didn’t put our lunch in my backpack as I was struggling for room today because I am carrying both summer clothes and winter(ish) clothes as well as extra layers for overnight for both of us, as it’s still dipping below freezing most evenings. On top of that I’m also carrying about 4 days worth of food for both of us, so we are not pressured to hit specific mileage, giving us more flexibility.
The main issue that I am experiencing is in the backpack that we use. We use an Osprey Exos 58 that I don’t think is handling the weight that I’m carrying very well. It’s slipping down at the waist, forcing the weight into my shoulders. It hurts. The slipping also affects my back that I have had issues with for years.
On the West Highland Way I had some stomach issues. I’m starting to think it’s because I’m having to tighten up the hip belt so tight that it’s having a very negative effect.
So, we carried our lunch in a bag so I wasn’t loading the bag up even more.
Anyway… enough of my personal issues…
We left Tesco, going through the underpass and over to the Morrison’s car park to cross the road to the start of the Great Glen Way.
When we reached the start (that is located at the old Fort William fort) we met with a couple of German walkers who asked if we could take their pictures. We obviously did, and I asked if we (Eve and I) could also get one together. Thank you
The weather was wonderful today. A slight breeze with a few clouds in the sky and no rain forecast. For the first time this year I felt confident enough for Eve to hike with her hair down and not in her usual princess (it’s the only style that I can do).
Leaving Fort William I thought it was going to be all urban and dare I say, boring, but I was wrong.
All but a short section of road walking and the rest was on smaller paths and even a small promenade along the water. It was lovely.
However the best thing was, as we were hiking we had the Jacobite steam train come passed us. We both felt very lucky and Eve tried to run to keep up with it.
All morning Eve’s enthusiasm far outstripped my physical ability. She was running (literally running) rings around me. She didn’t stop. Eve did slow down as the day progressed and the miles clocked up but she was always smiling and happy with an energy I could only look at in wonder and ore.
Reaching the Caledonian Canal it was flat and easy to follow. The Great Glen Way follows the canal all the way to Inverness, except for a few optional ‘high route’ sections.
This isn’t your standard canal, it was originally built for big ships such as Royal Navy ships so it is not your narrow boat type of canal.
The Caledonian canal is wide and deep and absolutely beautiful.
The biggest climb we had all day was up the set of locks called Neptune's Staircase but even that was barely noticeable. Once at the top it was about midday so we stopped for lunch, sitting on the grass overlooking the canal.
It was splendid and felt lovely to just there. We only started walking again as Eve was getting restless and dancing!!!
We walked on and didn’t stop again until we reached Moy Bridge where we had a break, oh except for a brief moment to sort a foot issue of for Eve. A blister that we popped a blister plaster on.
Again at Moy bridge we only walked on as Eve was restless and dancing. I was concerned she would end up in the canal so walking was the safer option.
We met a lovely couple who gave us a £10 donation and even said to get Eve an ice cream! Thank you!!!
This evening we are camping with a load of other hikers at Gairlochy Lochs informal campsite.
Basically it’s wild camping at a location that has been set aside for camping because camping along the canal is not allowed due to it being a ‘monument’ which is fair enough!
We got to Gairlochy, set up the tent and had a hot drink and some dinner. It feels absolutely fantastic being back out again and we are looking forward to a peaceful nights sleep.
Ian, Eve, Ella and Luna