The campsite stirs early, sounds of birdsong mixing with the roar of gas stoves for early morning brews. I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself as I’m all but packed for 7:30 when the cafe opens for breakfast. Even so the Belgians have already scarpered. Mike, Darren and Scott join me, reprising our meal in Dornie the night before the start. Thankfully, Scott seems to be much improved by a night’s sleep, a fried breakfast and the lightening of his pack that is underway.
Despite my early preparation, it’s 9:30 before I’m away: a lingering breakfast and then a nip to the shops delaying me significantly. There’d been a lot of moaning last night about the first part of today’s walk – 4 miles uphill along an A road. I’m not one of those moaning though, and my feet devour these miles. The gradient of the road is such that it barely affects my pace, and I’m soon passing several people. By the time I reach the start of the track through the woods, our route has merged with that of those coming from Tomich. Sue, John and (again) Tony Ten Tents are briefly walking with me before I leave them. Gill and Pat, who I’d overtaken on the road, pass me when I take a break. I catch and pass them again later on in the afternoon. There’s really only one main obvious route between Cannich and Drumnadrochit.
There’s not much to see apart from stony track and trees, although at one point I do catch a welcome glimpse of Loch Meiklie to add a bit of variety. A diverted path around a logging area provides a bit of momentary excitement – at least until I ignore it and continue on the track anyway.
Finally, I descend from the viewpoint and undulate around the hillside before reaching the road into Drumnadrochit. My hostel room is ready, although at £45 it’s a bit of a stretch to call it budget accommodation. Soon the room is festooned with my laundry while I head out to secure supplies and see what the pub has to offer.
The pub is a lonely affair, as I’m probably too early for the rest of the crowd, so it’s not a long stay. On the way back to the hostel, I see Darren and Scott coming towards me. Scott is yet again not looking like a happy bunny. I suspect this may be the end of his Crossing. We are out of sync so I leave them to find their campsite and recover from the day’s exertions. Tonight, for me, this will be a quiet evening in.