Day 16 - Laggan Locks to Fort Augustus

Date: 9/22/2016 

Location: From: Laggan Locks To: Fort Augustus 

Mileage:10.7 Mi. 

Weather: Beautiful blue skies very few clouds and cool to warm temperatures 

Temperature:57°F 

Lodging and Cost: The Lovat Hotel 

GPS Location: 57°837” N and 4°4056” W 

Highlights: Walking along the canal of Loch Lochy, seeing the Invergarry station project (restoration of a railway system from 1911), walking along Loch Oich and seeing the scenery along it including the ruins of Invergarry Castle. Seeing the big boats on the loch and going through the locks. Visiting the small town of Fort Augustus on Loch Ness (home of the Loch Ness Monster). 

Summary of the Day:  

I got up at 7:15 this morning and quietly started to pack up before going down for breakfast. The B&B was really nice, but the walls were pretty thin and I didn't want to disturb Hawk and Little Pony in the next room. About 8:00 we all went down and had a good breakfast. After breakfast, we were driven back up to the Great Glen water park and let out on the trail. Within about five minutes I came upon a sign that said that there was a new project being started, the Invergarry station Project. This is going to be is a restoration of the railway system that ran from Invergarry to Fort Augustus, but was abandoned in 1911. Right now there is a nice old train engine and the station platform.

It wasn't long before off in the distance across the canal that I saw the ruins of the Invergarry Castle. This castle was once the seat of the MacDonells that hosted the Jacobite cause and hosted Bonne Prince Charlie. The castle was later burned down. Shortly after, I came to the Bridge of Oich on the Loch of Oich and I saw a lot of boats coming up and down the canal. There were several locks along the way. It was interesting to see the boats come into the lock and the lock tender would start filling the lock or draining the water out to help people move up and down the canal. I noticed in the distance that the mountains had started to change and weren't as steep as the ones back to the South along the West Highland and that the soil had also started to change as well. We walked for several hours and then we noticed that we were getting close to the little town Fort Augustus. This is really a quant little town and right in the center of town is the canal and two locks. I talked to the lock keeper and she said that people come there just to see the boats be raised and lowered in the locks. There is a restaurant between the second and third lock and they have a sign that says the patio is for customers only and if you don't buy something that it will cost you £10 to sit there.

I had a pot of tea and a bowl of potato and leek soup and watched the boats come down through the locks. A man came up and wanted to know if he could sit at the large picnic table with us. He was coming down the canal from Fort Williams and going to Inverness over the next two days. He was interesting to talk to. He was on holiday for a week with several friends for one of their birthday celebrations. We ask if he was enjoying his holiday, but come to find out his real job is a sea captain on a ship. He said that he was enjoying the trip but that was more like work. It turns out that he has sailed pretty much all over the world. He once picked up a large sailing boat in Savanna Ga. and took it up the intercostal to Norfolk, Va.

After I finished my tea I went off to look through some little shops and see what I could see. There aren't too many shops in this town, mostly B&B’s and restaurants, and not a lot of trinket shops especially considered it is getting close to the end of the season and they are starting to sell off all of their inventory, although it was still fun to look. We are at the headwaters of Loch Ness, and there is Loch Ness monster stuff everywhere. I asked the sea captain about the monster and he had little to say about it, but that he didn't believe too much in it. I spent about an hour looking through all the shops and didn't see much of anything that I would want. 

I headed back up to my room to clean up and get ready for dinner at 6:30. We had a reservation at that time. If you don't have reservations you might not get seated to eat. We ate at the hotel restaurant where we were staying. It was supposed to be a 5 Star while it as real good the only thing that I saw  5 Star was the price. I don't mind paying a little more for a meal but when you pay £16.95 for a venison burger and chips, (fries), and £6.95 for a small glass of wine I think that is a little too much, and that's before the conversion to the dollar, which is at least $1.35 to £1.00. The food was good and plentiful, so no complaints here and I only have a few days left and then back home. After dinner Hawk, Little Pony and I went our separate ways until in the morning at 8:00. Tomorrow we have about a 9 mile day and it shouldn't be too hard, so the journey will continue…. 

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