Friday 19th August, 2011
I woke feeling much better. It was a beautiful day and the sun had driven all the midges away. I sat at a picnic table for a while having breakfast and just enjoyed sitting in such a lovely place. I couldn’t stay too long though and had to rouse myself to get packed away. I appreciated why the guys I’d met yesterday had enjoyed taking so long. If I wasn’t on a restricted timetable I would have loved to be able to spend a few hours, if not the whole day, here.
I hoisted my backpack up onto the picnic bench and disaster struck. One of the straps that holds the pack closed caught on the bench and the buckle broke. It was unfixable and wouldn’t stay fastened with only half the buckle. Luckily I always have a stash of duct tape wrapped round my walking poles so I was able to use some of this to wrap round the buckle and keep the pack closed. It worked really well, but did mean that to open my pack I had to carefully unwrap the duct tape, stick it on the side of my pack and then carefully peel it off to wrap it round the strap again when it was time to refasten my pack. A whole lot of faffing, but at least I’d fixed it.
I hoisted my backpack up onto my shoulders and disaster struck. (Didn’t I write this already?) The waist strap caught on the picnic bench and the buckle broke. I couldn’t carry my pack all day without the support of the waist strap so I had to fix it. Duct tape wasn’t an option here as it would be too difficult to get the pack on and off. I managed to figure out a way of tying one end of the strap to the other and it held quite well. Maybe it’s time I got myself a new backpack.
Finally, I was able to set off. The path headed away from the loch on the north side. It climbed up into a thickly wooded area which seems to have been converted in to a fairy glen. A very large area was filled with glittery and shiny baubles. There were trees that seemed to be fruiting teddy bears or wellington boots. Umbrellas were arranged over fairy tea parties and plastic flowers bloomed. The conservative part of me thought it was an eyesore in such a nice place, but the fun part of me loved it. I don’t know who has done this here, or why, but it’s certainly different.
The path continued on the north side of Loch Lochy all day. I finished the day at South Laggan locks which are at the far end of the loch and where the path joins the canal again. The walk took me through woods all day and although I did get to walk alongside the loch for a couple of miles after the fairy wood, most of the time I was higher than the loch and only got glimpses of it through the trees.
Towards the end of the day it began to rain. It started off quite light, but got heavier and so I had to stop and put wet weather gear on for the first time. It was still raining heavily when I reached South Laggan and had to put my tent up. Luckily it doesn’t take long to get the bulk of it up and I could chuck my gear inside whilst I finished pegging it out properly.
There were a lot of boats moored up for the night and a few other campers too, but the area wasn’t as nice as Gairlochy locks. Nice enough I suppose, but not the sort of place I’d want to linger even if I did have the time.
Distance walked = 13 miles