The Great Glen running roughly south-west to north-east lies on a major fault line. About 400 million years ago the land became displaced some 65 miles along the fault which was then considerably enlargedand deepened during the last Ice Age by the glaciers. This huge gash in the earth became filled with water (Loch Ness, Loch Kyta, Loch Oich, and Loch Lochy – with Loch Linnhe (a sea loch) joining
this gash to the sea at Fort William. The result for us of all this
happening in geological time, has been that we have spent most of
this week walking by water of amazing depth with mountains along the length of the valley either side. In historical times the making of military roads by General Wade’s army in order to ‘tame’ the area, then the Caledonian canal linking the lochs for barge and boat traffic by Telford, plus a short railway for part of the way opened in 1905 (and closed in 1946) and finally the long distance footpath and cycle way means that there are now several Great Glen ‘ways’. You can view it either on foot, on a bike , on a boat or on the bus. We have to admit that probably walking is not the best way of enjoying the Glen. Views across the lochs are limited and there is quite a bit of similarity between one forest trail and another.
However we were treated to spectacular noisy waterfalls (on account of the wet weather), interesting bridges (which move from time to time to allow the boats through) and a very cosmopolitan type of walker and cyclist as there
seemed to be many visitors from Europe taking in the sights.
The Great Glen also has witnessed a considerable amount of warfare
history. We saw the memorial to the Commandoes near Spean Bridge. We read about the battle of the Red Comyns and the Black Comyns in the time of Robert the Bruce; the Macdonalds and the Stuarts in the
fifteenth century, the Stuarts and the Covenanters in the seventeenth, and in the fourteenth century, the ‘battle of the shirts’ (so called because of the warm weather causing the battling soldiers to strip to their shirts. This battle resulted in only four out of 300 Frasers and eight out of 600 Camerons and Macdonalds left standing at the end. It all began as a result of insulted pride over hospitality. It seems somewhat ironic to read about this long ago tragedy in a week of rioting and destruction in our major cities! The Cameron Museum is just off the route near Loch Lochy describing the clan as ‘doughty and fearless’. Perhaps David has been inspired.
We have again met some very encouraging people on our walk, so ‘Hello’ to Corinne the cyclist at Moy, John and Anne at Gairlochy, Richard and Carol near the Memorial, Fr Tom, Anne and all the congregation of St Finnan’s RC church in Invergarry (most welcoming and was impressed by Fr Tom’s command of the French language), Charlie the ranger at Clunes, Bill and Cathy also doing LEJOG – thank you for the helpful website address, Mark and Tony the Bridge Keepers, Colin and Daniella most helpful owners of LundieView B&B, Paul at the Canal centre in Fort Augustus and Jack from Coverack walking the Great Glen Way.
Week 19 Statistics
Scrabble: Nancy 4 John 3
Trig Points 0
Kissing Gates 5
En route donations £51
Mileage 67 miles
Nessie’s Monster Mash premium beer 500 ml
Monster Munch (eaten by Loch Ness) 2 Packets
Haggis (again) 1 portion