05/07/14, 22km Avimore → InverglassFine weather, the trail much more interesting than the Speyside Way from the offset. Passing alongside lochs with hills in sight. Passed a bothy, another one on the map – perhaps tomorrow night. Got a pint at Loch Insh water sports centre, overlooking the loch. Met a couple (American guy, Canadian girl) who said their car was stuck. I couldn’t believe the track, not much wider than a footpath that they had driven rental Mercedes along! After I helped them out, along with a couple of other hikers, they made me dinner to say thank you. Found a camping spot nearby.
06/07/14, 21km Inverglass → Glen Banchor BothyWalked into Kingaussie via ruined Ruthven Barracks. Got some supplies and had a burger & beers at a pub. Had to push on after a very late start if I wanted to made the Bothy! Blew through Newtonmore and into the hills. The trail came and went and got quite tough in the bogs. Arrived at Bothy, quite homely and surrounded by hills. Very secluded. Made a fire and had dinner. Slept on sofa.
07/07/14, 20km Glen Banchor Bothy → ArdverikieDidn’t sleep too well last night on the sofa. Plus mice! Nice walk in the morning. Realised looking at the map that no shop for two and a half days, but I only have one day’s worth of food. Started to get a little concerned but almost immediately ran into my first East Highland Way hikers coming the other way. They said there was a tiny shop, the last for days, just around the corner in Laggan! Stocked up on supplies. Found a camp spot next to Loch Laggan, unbelievable amount of midges. So many they sound like rain on outside of the tent. Let a few in too. Grrr!
08/07/14, 30km! Ardverikie → AchluachrachWoke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. Midges like crazy so had to cover every inch of skin in other to take the tent down. Midges all day, couldn’t even stop for ten seconds. Very upset stomach all of a sudden. Not much for it though so I kept going. Sore feet from my boots so I switched to walking in my flip flops and just got my head down. I kept chipping away at the miles, not being able to stop but stomach getting a bit better. Raining hard. Slipped fording a river near the end, my first fall. Needed to find a bridge to cross the river to bunkhouse but not forthcoming. Absolutely knackered and losing ability to gauge distances, feeling slightly delirious. The bunkhouse ended up being full but they managed to squeeze me in due to a cancellation. Amazing to have a shower. Went over the road for pie, chips and beer. Whilst checking my emails found out that I have another visa for Canada. An epic day with an epic finish.
09/07/14, 22km Achluachrach → Fort WilliamSun-rain-sun all day. Pretty straight forward route. Stopped at Spean Bridge for a pint and food. Made good progress, quicker than expected. Did go off trail accidentally at one point and came across a mass sheep grave. Everywhere fully booked in Fort William. I see a pattern emerging. I still had my curry before heading back in to the woods.