This was the stretch of my walk that I was most looking forward to.
I had a reasonable lie-in this morning, a decent breakfast in Tongue and then set off mid-morning under cloudy sky with a cool breeze. Joining the route to Altnaharra was up a long, fairly steep hill so the cooler weather was welcome at the start.
From the top of this road, the view of Ben Loyal is absolutely breathtaking. The sun was starting to break through the clouds more and lit up sides of the mountain and the valley below spectacularly. What a start to the day.
I continued along the path and soon another wonderful view came up. This was where Loch Craggie and Loch Loyal meet.
The walk took me along the side of each loch for a few miles, eventually tailing off and following a bit of an unwelcome 200m climb. The wind by this point had picked up considerably and was actually pretty cool.
The fairly straight walk onwards to Altaharra was a bit of a contemplative one. I was planning to continue south tomorrow, eventually passing through Lairg, and seeing where this walk takes me over a few days. But there are some wonderful changes happening soon that I am not happy delaying. What’s more, after 13 months of being away from home due to work, I just want to spend an extra few days with the creature comforts. So tomorrow I will be heading to Lairg – albeit in a car, with someone I managed to agree a lift from – and then I’ll be jumping on a train back to Glasgow via Inverness.
Although slightly shorter than expected, this has been a fantastic few days of walking and has given me a chance to see parts of Scotland I hadn’t seen before, and some memorable scenery. What’s more, I’ve shown myself that I can put in a shift walking, with consecutive days of 21, 22 and 16 miles. I feel generally fine after that but my feet may tell a different story.
In all, John O’Groats to Altnaharra was 87 miles, 185,000 steps, 11 swatted horse flies, no midges, and two offers of a lift along the way.
That wraps it up. Until the next walk.