Jun 11, 2019 - Lord of the Glens
Our day started on the shore of Loch Ness with a strong northeasterly blowing across the loch. Our onward progress was further delayed by traffic coming downstream through the Fort Augustus flight of locks, but this afforded an opportunity for a quick stroll into the village for those who wanted to stretch their legs after breakfast. Our passage up the locks took about an hour and a half with the outer decks crowded for a regal view of this small canal-side settlement. From the top of the locks our passage through the canal was smooth and timely, and we heard two presentations from staff as we traversed Lochs Oich and Lochy before lunch. Loich Oich is the highest point of the canal at 160 feet.
Our afternoon activities were centered on Glenfinnan, where a National Trust for Scotland visitor center was established to commemorate the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie first raised his standard on the Scottish mainland at the start of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Today the site has been rebranded to celebrate Harry Potter, for the railway viaduct behind the center is the one over which the Hogwarts Express travels in the movies.
One group took a long hike that approached the viaduct from above before passing beneath it to return to the visitor center. A gentler walk left from the center itself and continued over a boardwalk for viewing wetland flora: birch, willow, alder, and a variety of ferns. Still another group—the first of our party to enter Atlantic waters—kayaked Loch Eil.
After dinner, moored beneath a brooding Ben Nevis, we heard a presentation from Alasdair Gibson, the Glenfinnan estate manager, who enthralled with his accounts of deer stalking on the grounds.
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