DAY 11: Beauly to Drumnadrochit – 14 miles
I’d deliberately asked for an early breakfast at 7:30am hoping it would get me up and out quicker. It didn’t. I finally set off at 10am, although for once I actually had a definite destination to head for – Drumnadrochit (which thanks to mum, I can finally pronounce) on the banks of Loch Ness. It was only after I started walking that I remembered someone recently had been talking about the road leading up to Drumnadrochit, about how hilly it was so it could be touch going. Oh well, nothing I could do about that now. Perfect walking conditions (cool, dry and mainly overcast) and the stunning scenery – from wooded valley to open moorland stretching out for miles and miles around me – more than made up for any incline that I suddenly found myself having to make.
With nowhere to stop and buy refreshments on route, I kicked myself for not stocking up in the delicious deli in Beauly before I set off, however I managed to rustle up a quick lunch from my emergency porridge rations and crushed up ginger biscuit (courtesy of Faulty Towers) which was actually rather tasty. I was also chuffed with myself for coping so well with all the inclines I was having to do today, I must be fitter than I thought. It was in fact only the downs that seemed to be bothering me, with gravity pushing my extra load straight down my body, making my legs feel like lead and my poor (not so little any more) calves feel like they could explode any minute.
After the day walking through such rural, sometimes dramatic but always peaceful surroundings, I was unprepared for the entrance to Drumnadrochit, which was totally dominated by signposts and advertising for “Nessieland” complete with bagpipe music coming from the Nessie Cafe opposite. Really? I didn’t go looking, but I bet you can also find a Loch Ness snow globe for sale somewhere around here. Crazy that this whole tourist town is built up out of nowhere on something that doesn’t even exist, genius marketing I suppose! Away from the tacky entrance, the picturesque village centre consisted of one post office/shop, two cafes, two pubs, a large tourist information, probably about half a dozen B&Bs (all with no vacancy signs) and one hostel, which after calling them I found out was also full. The guy on the phone however, suggested I try the Loch Ness backpackers about a mile out of town, so I continued on. And as luck would have it, they had one bed left which I gladly took… in a 6 bed-dorm, where I immediately met Gise, from Argentina.
It was turning into a beautiful afternoon so I decided to take a very slow walk back to the village to grab some food; meeting up with Gise on the way. Sitting in the sun eating haggis quiche, chips and salad whilst chatting to a new friend, was definitely a good way to round off another successful day.