Well I hope you’re all prepared for this. Today’s going to be a grueller! The Jogler and Jogleress are about to embark on their longest leg of the journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End so far. Day 11 of The Jogle could be make or break day on Steve’s charity walk for Macmillan Cancer Support – see his link here http://bit.ly/2Tzmjwi
You may recall that they strolled into Invergarry on the afternoon of Day 10, conserving their energy. Day 11 was going to be tough – and they knew it! Steve had planned to walk 26 miles on their journey to Fort William and so they set out earlier than normal at 08:20 via pathways alongside the River Oich, Loch Oich and the Caledonian Canal. Due to not staying where they planned the night previously however this meant the trek was nearly 30 miles instead. The panorama stretched ahead of them, reminding our walkers with each step just how much further there was to go. Grasses, heathers, the mighty Scots pine (no, let’s not go there, eh?) tranquil waters and pale skies with clouds which would do the opening credits of ‘The Simpsons’ proud.
Our intrepid pair though are still prepared to fire off some photos as they breathlessly traverse the countryside, each step after endless step getting them agonisingly slowly toward their long, interminable day’s goal of collapsing exhausted into bed and not caring if that bed were a bed of nails!
Today’s wildlife of choice – a cow. (Honestly I was expecting so much more – otters perhaps, or maybe a wild sporran!)
Gairlochy and the surrounding area was where Commandos trained during World War II, hence the memorial at Spean Bridge just up the road. Believe it or not, whilst training for beach landings these brave men were shot at with live ammunition by their instructors who were trained to miss – but not by much.
How are you holding up? Yes, me too – I’ll be glad when we can take a rest, my calf muscles are cramping up just writing this. My breathing’s getting a little ragged and I think my pulse is racing, but don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.
We’re now passing Exhaustion Point and heading out along the Glen of Despair, passing by Loch Knackered for mile upon mile, yard upon yard, inch upon torturous inch and in the distance, Ben Nevis, taunting them, so near and yet so far as they strain sinew and muscle toward their base camp for the assault on its summit in two days time. Will they recover in time? Thankfully the troublesome, Bertie Blister is totally overwhelmed by the magnitude of the days mammoth task and Steve is now aching in places he never knew that he had, rendering that sore point an unpleasant memory at best.
Neptune’s staircase at Banavie is home to two swing bridges across the Caledonian Canal. The rail bridge opened in 1901 and carries locomotives from the West Highland Line and is operated by hand from the south side. The road bridge allows traffic from the A830 to cross the waterway, unless vessels are passing through as they were today. Hang on, do you think we could thumb a lift?
How you doing? Could I just have a sip from your water bottle please? Thanks! Hang on while I just roll my socks down to my ankles. Gosh if it weren’t for writing about the idyllic scenery I think I’d have gone mad, mad I tell you!
Finally they reach the end of The Great Glenn Way and although it’s not the final destination it is a chance to rest up under the sign. If you recall the start point of that pathway was at the photogenic Inverness Castle. This end is marked by McDonalds, Morrison’s and an badly parked mini digger, a sure sign we’re getting toward civilisation. Nice hanging baskets though. My word, that hard wooden bench looks comfortable!
More wildlife as Sue befriends a mutt. How can she bend her back like that? Mine’s in bits and I’m only writing about this. Is it far now? No, leave me here, I’m only slowing you all down. Leave me a gun and I’ll hold all the Apaches off – don’t worry, I’ll save the last bullet for myself. Sorry, I think I’m delirious. Just carry on without me – I’ll catch up tomorrow.
In the meantime here’s a snap of an old wreck, the walkers first view of Fort William and the days stats. Well done guys, well done indeed. No, just prop me over there against Ronald McDonald’s drive through menu board. I’ll be fine, don’t worry!
Mileage for Day 11 an astonishing 29.9 in 59,162 steps. The walk was 10 hours 20 minutes and 37 seconds in duration. The totals for the Jogle so far are: 211.23 miles, 421,035 steps.