Monday 26th September 2011
We awoke to sunshine today so drawing the curtains to the view from our cottage window was a treat… the sky still looked pretty scary around the pockets of blue but we were optimistic. We look straight on to Loch Linnhe with a huge hill directly behind of which I can’t for the life of me find out the name. There are boats on the loch and I had presumed it would be fresh-water, however I noticed today as I was cycling along that there was seaweed and a definite tidal wash. Looking at the map the Loch is open to the sea so surely it’s an inlet? I must look up what the definition of a Loch actually is…
After grabbing a quick breakfast we were out on our bikes heading up the cycle path towards Corpach to find the West coast end of the Caledonian Canal. The route took us over Soldiers Bridge from which the views over the River Lochy were quite scary. It looked incredibly deep, wide and strong even though it seemed to split three ways and I was glad to cross the bridge to firmer footing. At the other side we hit a busy road but there was a cycle lane (the Scots seem to be pretty good at them!) and at the bottom of the road a turn on to a track lead us to the canal.
Joining the canal path we turned right and it wasn’t long before we arrived at Neptune’s Staircase – a ladder of eight locks that raises vessels to a height of 70 feet above sea level over a distance of 500 yards. An impressive sight indeed and we were lucky to hit just right as a cruiser moved from gate to gate methodically and to be honest very slowly. The deep dark water and high canal walls reminded me of how it’s not a holiday I would embrace, still, it was interesting to see.
Heading further along the canal path we were lucky again to get a break in the scary grey sky to a pocket of sunshine and looking up and left we caught glimpses of Ben Nevis through the trees. This time with less cloud so we stopped to take some pictures… we could see so much more than yesterday but still the top eluded us due to the cloud on the top.
At this point we turned and headed back as we hit a turn from the canal path winding down to the North West end of Fort William and a direct route home to the cottage. We chose to cycle through the pedestrianised town centre and I happened to spot a shop called The Whisky Shop. I stopped to take a photo for a Scottish friend Gareth, who I know likes a ‘wee dram’ and at the same time noticed that some of the bottles of said liquor in the window were priced at £369.99!!!