It was close to noon by the time I get off the boat at Loch Ness and back onto the Great Glen Way. This is the latest that I have ever started a hike, but I wasn’t nervous about reaching my destination on time. Today’s route was only 7 1/2 miles.

It only takes a few minutes before I’m out of Fort Augustus and back into the woods. It’s another day where something special, dare I say even magical, is in the air.

I come to a sign that shows a split in the Great Glen Way trail. One can stick closer to the shoreline of Loch Ness on a fairly flat path, or you can climb up the mountain and hike along the peaks. This was called the High Route and was the path I chose.

The creeks are flowing and gurgling throughout these woods as I trek upward. The start of the high route was a brutal climb, but thankfully it was relatively short. As I emerge from the woods I get my first glimpse of the area from this elevation, and am dumbfounded by the beauty before me.

The trail is clear as it snakes its way across these mountains, the forest to my right and the scrub brush to my left. I’m the only person up here today, although I can feel stags are watching me. In true highlander fashion, I grab a tree branch as a makeshift walking stick, and hum a happy scottish tune as I go.

This is easily my favorite section of the Great Glen Way so far. Having the mighty Loch Ness below me as I go, with the wild open around me as clouds dart to and fro across the sky. Eventually I come to the point of the trail where I must descend quickly as I see the village of Invermoriston in the far off distance. The trail does not zig zag but is pretty much a straight drop downward….

Just as I start my descent I hear a rustling in the brush next to me. At the same time a couple of gals with their dogs barking start coming up the trail. This spooks the stag in the woods as it darts out of my sight and into the forest. It’s my closest encounter with wildlife yet on this journey.

I find the most gorgeous butterfly with intense markings on its wings, the mark of Angel Eyes. I take it as a sign that some otherworldly force is watching over me.

I arrive into the village and am greeted with a stunning gorge.

The Glenmoriston Arms Hotel has all of the old world charm I love, from creaky staircases to stuffed pheasants and pictures of Scotland’s storied past, from Highlanders to Traders and hunters of this rich land.

A satisfying dinner here does wonders for my body as well does the ale and atmosphere. I can only hope tomorrow’s journey is just as unexpectedly wonderful and adventurous.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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