Friday, 13 July 2012

We left you in the Waiting Room at Tarbet Railway station where we had decided to jump the Train for Fort William  as traversing the mountains in the Wind and Rain was not very enticing.  (It's called "Creative Navigation')
Trains are not plentiful in this part of the world and the first one that came did not have room for our bikes ( boo hoo)  but a kindly conductor rang and booked the bikes for the next train - 6 1/2  hours later!!
So we had a cold and long wait for the next train - lots of reading - Thanks for the Kindles boys!!
We finally arrived in Fort William at 10pm and rode to the camping park at the foot of Ben Nevis where we put our tent up at about 11.15pm and it was still light enough to see!!!
This area was so beautiful that we decided to have a rest day and rode back into Fort William for a look around. On the way we passed a mob of people arriving at a big field not far from the park to embark on a rather long walk over the mountains.  Some in costume and a lot of pretty serious looking walkers.  There are just so many that climb these mountains every day, but we were just happy to watch them from the base!!!
The weather continued cold and wet but we were still enjoying ourselves!
After our rest day we set off in actual sunshine!!! and the first thing that caught our attention was the locks.  Called Neptune's staircase, this is the start of the waterway the passes all the way to Inverness.
There are quite a few locks in a very short space and the level between the first and last is pretty impressive.  This is the view from the top looking down.
All along the way we had beautiful scenery to look at while we were riding.

And some unusual signage...

We arrived at the Caledonian Canal near Ft Augustus.
and the ever present locks.. Just after this was taken the heaven's opened up  and the last hour riding to Ft Agustus was in the wet and cold!  We were becoming ever used to this horrible weather!

After a night a Ft Augustus we set off on the 2nd day of our trek along the Lochs to Inverness.
The first mission was to climb up  and up and up......I think the fresh air was getting to Dave as he started dancing a Jig!!!

We passed by some lovely sights along the way, Lochs in the mountain tops.


The trails are pretty well posted along the way......

The roads were not very wide but there were periodical passing places, and we found the vehicles to be pretty considerate.

for 5 miles we pushed our bikes and eventually arrived at the top 2 1/2 hours later - at an elevation of 400 metres.
The views were awesome all the way along the trail which kept up the morale.

And of course the ever present views were always worth waiting for:

The best part was that after that it was downhill for the next bit and for 3 miles we did not pedal once and it only took 10 minutes!!!!!
Some of the areas we passed through were absolutely beautiful with the mountain streams:

And Enchanted forests: It just felt as if some mythical creature could have ventured out and it would not have seemed at all out of place!!

I am surprised that we ever actually get anywhere as it seems that every 5 minutesone of us says "hold up, you just have to see this!".  Don;t know how many waterfalls we stopped at but they were all beautiful and Dave filled his water bottle at one and said it was the best water he'd tasted!
We finally arrived at Loch Ness and think we were both secretly hoping that we would spot the elusive "Nessie"
But don;t think we had much of a chance when these guy's can't even find her and they are at it full time!!!!
As we neared Inverness we approached the final leg of the Calendonian Canal with the last set of Lochs before reaching the open water.

After a night camping here we decided to take a day and look around so here are the stars of the show just hanging out while we play tourist!!

We checked out the Castle

and some of the beautiful old churches

It was extra special for me as I was able to see a lot of the places where my Mother spent a great deal of her childhood, places that I had heard about in stories, so that now they had substance.
Apart from that it was a really nice old city:
and even though the weather was getting rapidly worse, we couldn't help but enjoy our time spent here!


  1. Love the photos, especially the forest shots. And did you seriously put a Gold Coast City Council sticker on the "Passing Place" sign??

  2. That's not the only one we have enhanced mate. Lol.