Day 185: Fort William to Stronchreggan
Distance: 26.45 miles
Ascent: 1474 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells
Accommodation: Wild camp Stronchreggan
Today was scheduled to be quite a long day and as Becky and Ed were joining I headed of as early as possible so we could chill later. I left about 7am, leaving them sleeping in their tent. The weather had changed quite a bit with thick grey clouds and Ben Nevis was not even visible, though it was still dry even though there had been a small amount of rain overnight.
The first part of the day took me back into Fort William where I joined the Great Glen Way, which took me over the locks at Corpach which are the start of the Caledonian Canal, a canal that takes you all away across to the east coast ending up at Inverness.
In Corpach I was passing my last shop for about 4 days which meant I had to be very tactical, buying food for lunch today, breakfast and lunch tomorrow, lunch/dinner for me and my dad in 2 days time and breakfast for us in 3 days time. This was slightly simpler due to the fact that Ed & Becky were bringing dinner tonight and also due to a kind offer for 2 nights time in Kingairloch but my bag was still significantly heavier after this shop.
I had not been looking forward to the next part of the walk which would be following the fairly busy A830 for approximately 2 and a half hours. Fortunately, there was a well cut verge which made the walking simpler and safe though still very mundane. Finally, almost exactly two and a half hours later I reached the turn off for the single-track road that would take me down the other side of the loch.
This road was much nicer for walking but I soon saw a very unusual site. I saw a dumper truck that was obviously too high to get under the railway bridge heading towards it and at first I thought it was going to hit it. But just short of the bridge it stopped and then lowered the giant skip onto the ground and just dragged it under (see photo below) this obviously damages the road and it was clear to see he was not the only one to have done it.
Just after this bridge I found a lovely spot for a lunch break beside the river and was very happy for the rest after the long schlep along the busy road. After lunch I made good progress along the south side of Loch Eil and the sun was now very strong again. I spotted Becky and Ed in their Canadian kayak a bit further up at the loch and finally caught up with them where they had landed on a little island called Rubha Dearg, they paddled over to the mainland and we had a break together.
We arranged to meet at Stronchreggan where we would be wild pitching nearby. It became clear due to the breeze down Loch Linnhe that my walking would be quicker than their kayaking and after passing Camusnagual I made quick progress down the road and soon reached Stronchreggan. There were a few houses along the road and some farmland that obviously restricted wildcamping but I found a good little spot just after Stonchreggan. Ed and Becky arrived a bit later and we pulled their Kayak up the beach. We had a washed-up tree trunk to use as a bench, a nice tree for a shade, a couple of beers cooling in the loch and enough driftwood to make a good fire. After Ed had cooked a nice dinner we had a chilled evening which was really nice.
A great scenic day, apart from the A830, and all the logistics with walking and meeting the kayaking couple went very smoothly.