Despite a less than early start, a few minutes walking brought me level with a small encampment of Trailstars across the valley below. One was bright yellow so I knew this was Lee, with fellow walkers Peter, and Gareth from the bothy the night before.
A little further on a figure jumped up onto the track in front of me, another Trailstar man just breaking camp Paul Atkinson told me of the challenges following the muddy low-level route over from Maol-Bhuidhe bothy.
The small town of Cannich is the gateway to ‘the beautiful Glen Affric’. For me the campsite provide a welcome respite from the 6 or 7 hours slog marching down the track from the upper reaches of the Glen. A store provides some essentials, there is a pub with a variable reputation, and a wreck of a hotel which at this time is available for sale. The campsite has an attractive cafe – unfortunately the 9-5 opening hours did not match my schedule.Download file for GPS
Moving on the next morning, roads were avoided by taking a cross country route to Corrimony. The open fell above Cannich provides vistas across to the mountains bordering Glen Affric and although partly pathless the way is not too hard underfoot and the route finding not difficult.
The small community of Corrimony is attractive in the spring sunlight, the enclosed graveyard suggesting a more auspicious past. A little to the east beside the road is a fine example of a pre-historic chambered burial cairn. The minor road leads to a signed path just before White Bridge.
The woodland tracks which makes up the route to Drumnadrochit is easy and pleasant walking with only a little confusion on the outskirts of the destination where the path signs get mixed in with some for local circular walks.
On the map Drum seemed a major town after the wild West Highlands. On the ground, however, it is small and spread out – with the supermarket at one end of town with a garage some half a kilometer further which sells gas. In the other direction a visitors centre and a few shops and cafes.
Walking on the TGO Challenge we had an arrangement with local boat owner Gordon Menzies to ferry us across Loch Ness which presents a bit of a barrier to our path eastwards. Gordon has been doing this since the early days of the TGOC and, in between time, he probably has a good business Nessie hunting with tourists. His most recent boat is equipped with sonar and video system for showing useful tourist information. This is one of the ‘pinch-points’ on the walk where individuals on their different routes meet briefly for a shared experience before heading off on their separate ways again.
Here was Sandy, Shap, Nigel & Michael, and Chris Peart.
One local couple have become good friends of the TGOC and welcome campers to their field. On some evenings, for those that book in advance, an evening meal can be had in their living room overlooking the hills of the Monoliadth.