Day 6 – Drumnadrochit to Creag Dhearg
Hello people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here again reporting on day 6 of our Great Glen Way hike. We had spent the previous night in the comfort of the Bridge Suite in Invermoriston after being brought back from Drumnadrochit by Tom and Pat, the owners. The plan for the day was for Tom to drive us back to Drum so that we could pick up the trail where we had left of it yesterday. My dad met up with Tom and agreed for us to spend our final night of the trip in their accommodation again. We would hike from Drumnadrochit to somewhere seven, or so, miles from Inverness and to wild camp overnight. This would leave us with a short walk to Inverness Castle on the last morning. We would then be returning to Invermoriston by Great Glen Travel. This would give us time to complete the chunk of trail between Invermoriston back to the point that we left the path near Fort Augustus. Seems complicated but, my dad wanted to complete the journey. We left the car outside of the accommodation with a box of our gear that we didn’t need while we were hiking. So, a plan was hatched.
Tom drove us back to Drum and dropped us off outside of the Information Centre. We said our goodbyes and I thanked Tom for his help. We headed off along the A82, through the quiet village, passing ‘Nessieland’ and the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. My dad kept telling me to keep an eye out for the Loch Ness Monster. I kept glancing at the loch but, I couldn’t see Nessie. All I could see was the odd tourist sightseeing boat. I think that he was playing a joke on me but, I kept looking, just in case. I am not sure how I could have told him if I did see it anyway.
The trail took us along a pavement at the side of the busy and fast A82. It wasn’t particularly pleasant as the noisy lorries zoomed past us. I had to walk to heel so I didn’t really enjoy this part of the walk. When we passed Urquhart Bay Harbour my dad told me about John Cobb who had died after leaving there in attempting the world water speed record. We turned off the road, thankfully, heading up a track towards Temple House. After climbing slightly through a wooded area we rounded a building and then followed the path close to the road again, this time shielded by a hedgerow. The path took us uphill through more forest and over a burn that my dad crossed by using the stepping stones. I chose to walk through the water and to have a good slurp of the peaty liquid.
We crossed some moorland before we entered the Abriachan Forest. The forest has a myriad of walking and cycling trails prepared by the local people who funded the project in the nineties. We were back in the snow at this point and I had a great time playing in it again. It was also stick heaven and I was spoilt for choice with which one to pick up and carry. My dad calls me a barmpot for doing this but, he wouldn’t understand, it’s a dog thing! We had a short rest on a log by a frozen pond. It was cold but there was no wind so we loved the hiking. After following the wide forest track for a while we passed a forest visitor centre before leaving the track and joining a narrow path.
This is where the signs for the Abriachan Eco Café and Campsite started to appear. Rough hand painted signs led us along the path enticing us with a promise of Hot Chocolate, Fresh Coffee and Grannies Famous Lemon Cake. After what seemed an age we arrived at the café in the trees. We walked towards the wooden house, passing picnic benches and a ramshackle shelter with seating. My dad rang the ship’s bell on the gate and the lady appeared and asked what we would like. Mr. Piggy asked for carrot and coriander soup with bread and butter, a pot of fresh coffee and a piece of her famous lemon cake. He asked for a bottle of water for me. Wow! We were asked to find somewhere to sit and so we sat in the shed area. When the food arrived, delivered by the man who lived there, my dad was gobsmacked! The soup had fresh coriander in it. The roll was fresh with slices of cheese and cherry tomatoes. The fresh coffee cafetiere was huge. The cake was massive with dark chocolate pieces, grapes and a large pot of fresh cream. It was superb quality. The man said that they had opened their café every day since 1999! Not surprisingly, my dad devoured every morsel of the food. OK, he did feed me with my regular food and some cooked chicken so, I can’t complain.
Suitably refreshed, we packed up again and set off on the next leg of our journey. It wasn’t long before we joined a minor road, passing the odd cottage or two along the way. The views opened up toward Ben Wyvis as we left the trees. The road was a bit of a slog and the weather was starting to deteriorate. It was windy and the black clouds were gathering behind us. My dad was keen to move along quickly to find the nights camping spot. I was allowed to run off-lead as the road was deserted and fenced off with stone markers lining the way.
On leaving the road we entered established forestry dominated by large pines. We followed this old drove road in and out of sections of forest. It took a while but, we finally found our camping spot for the night. He had been told by a YouTuber that there was a sheltered wild camping spot where somebody had built a bushcraft style shelter. We found it and decided that it would be an ideal spot to protect us from the strong wind that was forecast for the night. The area was flattish and dry so, it was ideal for our last night in the open.
My dad set the tent up for the night so that we would be cosy and warm. He cooked himself a Chilli con Carne with rice followed by custard. He looks after himself. OK, he looks after me too. Sure enough, the wind did pick up during the evening and it did rain on and off but, we had a comfortable night’s sleep. We were only about seven miles from Inverness, the end of our journey. So, tomorrow should be an easy day assuming that we got up early.