Sunday, 17 June 2012

Great Glen Why?

During my long run on Friday, I was once again reminded of how poor a route the Great Glen Way is.
Anybody coming from a distance to do this route must be sorely disappointed at the mixutre of tarmac, fire track and commercial forestry they have to trog through. Add to this the almost total lack of views of the Loch and it must be quite a let down. The earlier parts are not much better - Fort Augustus to Drum is the same mix of commercial forestry and B roads.
If you are doing the GGW after completing the West Highland Way it will be the sublime to the ridiculous.  The West Highland Way is a natural line stringing together some beautiful areas in a fine route of continual interest. Add in some great wee pubs and it is a fine way to spend a week.
In contrast, the GGW is a lost opportunity. Had it been taken up the south side of the Loch it would have been far superior covering areas like the pass of the fair haired lads and the river side routes mentioned in previous blogs.
But, as with so much in the outdoor arena in Scotland it appears that the actual route is  a compromise between vested interests - landowners limiting access forcing the route into the publicly owned forest and ensuring that walkers have plenty of exposure to Nessie tat even if they rarely see the loch.
The way has some redeeming features such as the lovely section from Invergarry to Fort Augustus but for the walker who wants to really experience the Glen I would suggest the following. Follow the GGW from Fort William to Fort Augustus to get the best of it but then  get the bus to Whitebridge and complete the walk to Inverness using the lightly trod paths of the South Loch Ness Trail,
It also has its limitations but it tries much harder.

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