Trails and trials of the writer who walks
Another day obstructed by fallen trees – I counted eight – but the light snowfall interspersed by breakthroughs of sunshine made it a delightful walk to Fort Augustus. Carried away by the magic of snowflakes and Scots Pine, I began to sing Christmas songs rather loudly, making up words to fill the gaps and confident that no one else was within earshot. In the 84 miles, I met just two people going in the opposite direction (if you don’t count the odd dog-walker).
The hostel at Fort Augustus was one of the few to escape power cuts. Here I had my first experience of a mixed dorm, sharing my room, and an en-suite bathroom, with a young lad from Mexico. Should I take the top bunk as a safety precaution? Or should he?
Fort Augustus is where lock meets loch and eastbound ships are lifted a great height from the Caledonian Canal up to Loch Ness. Further west, the canal also links Loch Oichy and Loch Lochy. I can’t help thinking they were named by someone who was actually just clearing his throat.
Inspired by the view of this engineering achievement from the fireside of The Bothy Inn, I did some lifting of my own – pint-wise – and made some difficult choices: Loch Ness Brewery, Cairngorm Brewery, Black Isle were all there, but I had eyes only for my very favourite Scottish tastebud teaser, Orkney Brewery’s 4.7% Blizzard. Appropriately named.