I get up and get packing. I put the essentials in the bag and
then think how I’m going to get it zipped up with all the extras in it.
Packed i leave the room tidy and
head down stairs. I ponder when Alan and Zoe will be joining me. I’m shown to a table for one and then advise there will be two more. She explains in the greatest detail the breakfasts on offer and how to obtain them. Whilst I wait I get the tea ready for us.
However for some reason Alan doesn’t want breakfast. was it all those chips he ate yesterday?
Only Zoe knew that answer.
And that she was only going to share with Alan. So me and Zoe went for a healthy breakfast followed by 20 crumpets so that ruined that then.
There was one thing certain at this point. we weren’t going to need to eat for a while. Alan and Zoe had brought down their bags to breakfast me however had not. I paid the breakfast bill and ten headed upstairs, got my bags and checked out.
We crossed that river once more via the road bridge
seeing in the distance the bouncy footbridge we had crossed so many times prior.
through the town centre, stopping only to get some wonga, no quick visit to Blacks today.
And to the bus station. Alan seemed to know where we were going, he is so organised.
and there was the City Link bus to Fort William.
We showed our tickets boarded and got comfortable.
We pass the famou Kenneth street
and then head down the Great glen valley road, part way stopping for some road works.
i have zoom moment, what is 64?
We are off and it is lovely to sit back and enjoy the view.
I get a shot of it here
and there although some pictures are best left in the head.
There was wonderous hills
wicked cloud formations
tempting snow capped moutains
memorials to battles
and lots of road side trees and bushes. I remember none of it from 2003.
We nip in and out of the travel center come railway station
under he subway
and into the High street
“Wow Nack this isn’t how your Rough Guide Book describe it – Its quiet nice” and I agree it is nice.
Alan get some bearings.
And we find the Travelodge at the far end of the pedestrian High street. Now this i a useful location. We check in, well they do, pay the early fee to get the room made up for 4. I wait until later to obtain my room and we leave our bags.
We head down the High Street, stopping at the backers to get a packed lunch each and
then head back under the subway, across Morrison's car park
to a grassy area full of grass and daisies.
This is the only remains of the original Fort William, which came up right along the water side. Now buried under the station and duel carriage way.
Well they would have had a nice view from here.
in both directions, you can see why they lived here.
in the distanc one of the signs advises to look behind you and see the mountain range. Where tere was a battle it has been marked by a painted area of the Sctotish Flag. Can you see. it.
Let me zooooom in for you.
The afternoon stroll begins, we are heading to the Neptune Staircase.
As we walk by the air s clean and the views magnificent.
Which seems to go to Alan's head.
Worryingly he seems to be following the Great Glen walk. This is going to take us back to Inverness!
They are off into the woods again should I follow?
the walk follows the Loch side, so we get to take in the impressive views.
the darkness of the woods and wildlife.
and in some places the nothingness.
Luckily there are always the mountains to stare at.
After crossing the hydropower water shoot we find a castle. Did Alan’s even know it was here. And to me he now seems to be going the wrong way in. I open a gate and start strolling across a field.
Alan come on its this way for sure.
And here we are
All alone and so go exploring
“You know What Nack?” says Zoe. “I know” says Nack
“Its very tempting to go up there”
and Zoe posses
and Alan posses.
And for some reason neither of them saw it. Alan and Zoe disappear. and a Chinese / Japanese looking girl comes in and wonders what is going on in here, I see her wander up to where we have just been. She has no idea.
In the center Alan and Zoe are
putting their feet up.
“Nack you have got to come and see this at he front” says Alan. “Alan its a stone wall.” “But look at the quality Nack it’s like new.”
I read the sign and ponder where have all these tourists come from, and we are talking large amounts.
I examine the wall more closely.
Which seems to make Alan happy.
And then we follow the mass of tourists to the riverside.
Where are they all going? What have we missed?
They are looking at the bridge with their cameras handy.
We leave through the gate we have come through and head up a wooden bridge.
“You know I think I know what they’re waiting for.” I say. “I bet its the Jacobit Steam Train is due”.
We hang around from our better vantage point that the tourists.
You can hear something in the background but can’t see it.
and we wait.
and there it is.
there nothing quiet like a steam train.
“wow Nack that was great” exclaimed Alan.
“Or the smell of the base of insole of my shoe. This thing keeps moving and is becoming a right pain.”
And for some reason Nack is trying the splits
oh he’s trying to take a selfie with Ben Nevis in the background
We continue our walk, which heads into a housing estate and then past a sewage treatment works and then
rejoins the Lochside.
Wow this place is nice. We walk past a play ground.
Admire the Loch side
And then it starts to rain. It look like there many be a toilet block near those shops so we venture over. Well it once was we find. I nip into the post office buy some glue and a bag of what I would call penny sweets. But they’re no loner a penny each obviously.
We continue the walk down the Loch side, across the sandy beach.
ah the beauty of the moment.
in the distance I can zoom into a strand /moored up boat. My legs are tired now, Alan how much further?
“Its getting wetter and those clouds look, well full of wetness”
Alan has the answer to everything of course and wanders off without me.
a bit latter we reach that boat.
and when I say boat, close up I’m not sure it would float.
We enter the bushes. and when i say wee I mean me and Zoe. not together mind but to wee.
I take the moment and ponder, how am I going to convince them it will be sunny enough to go up Ben Nevis tomorrow. I take this picture and then facebook Darren Shepherd to tell him there’s snow at the top of Ben Nevis. No doubt there is smudgings of urine all over my telephone touch screen from this moment on.
We reach the canal. This sign still worries me.
“I bet you wish you had an umbrella” smirks Alan.
We wander to where the canal meets the Loch.
This is it then. We have made it to both ends! The excitement overwhelms Alan.
And then we start the walk toward Inverness!
Sometime later the three of us make it to the Neptune Staircase.
and if you take away the people it becomes much more obvious.
It tells you on the sign over there.
we walk up the Locks sides and watch some boats slowly rise.
And when i say boats I mean yachts. Really nice yachts. Like the type you would love to have.
Alan dreams, or is he looking at Ben Nevis and complitating?
I look in the same direction.
That doesn’t look to tricky does it?
following a wander around it is discussed that we should get the bus back, which should give us time for a relax and drink in the pub.
at first we are going to have tea.
but something comes over us all and we have beer instead. Alan shows me how to play “Ticket To Ride” on his telephone, and I to Alans dismay got the glue out I brought earlier and start gluing the insole of my walking boot to the base. “Are you sure that's a good thing to do now and here?” he exclaims.
By the time we leave the glue is dry I think, but I keep waggling my toes just in case.
As we reach the bus stop we notice a big colourful rainbow in the foreground of Ben Nevis. Doesn’t it look nice.
A bus eventually comes, thankgod, and to be honest i was willing to wait a lot longer for it!
and as a bonus it took us round the more desirable areas of Fort William the tourist often doesn’t get to see.
The bus drops us off at Morrison's and we head in to get some food for the big adventure tomorrow – should the weather be okay. we head back down the high street and to the Travelodge.
At the Travelodge I go to reception with Zoë and I check in. “It is a double room booked for one?” she says looking at Zoe and me. Zoe is quick to say she is not staying, which makes it sound worse. Then adds “I’ve got my own room”. I get my bags from Alan and Zoe’s room and settle into my own pad.
the outlook from the window is grim. What I didn’t realise a this point is behind that fence is the pubs beer garden.
My feet are wiry and tired but not glued to either the boots or the socks!
I give them a wiggle have a shower and before you know it Alan and Zoe are at the door whilst I’m naked again. I answer and I’ll meet them in a minute.
I leave the Travelodge, head down the street and enter the Ben Nevis bar where they are located.
It is packed here and they have booked a table for 30 minutes time. We settle in the balcony area until it is cold, which isn’t long, but luckily enough the 30 minutes isn’t 30 minutes long to wait and we are seated up stairs in the dinner area.
The feast is ordered and soon begins.
Half a pint of prawns, and some bread an d butter yummy.
All he food looks nice and tastes it too.
and after all those chips Alan ate the other night I went for a refreshing salad to compensate for him.
I can see Alan can’t take her anywhere.
we quieten down for a moment and gobble it all up.
And whilst Zoe is full, Alan and myself have pudding. Oh yeah and then Zoe wishes she had too when it came.
Once finished I went downstairs and in the bar they were playing Mad world. I entered and watched the singer for a while doing a couple of songs, before Alan and Zoe asked we wandered where you had got to. Come its time to get some sleep.
Ah it is so nice here with Alan and Zoë.
“So Nack what do you think about doing Ben Nevis tomorrow if the weathers good then?” they ask.
“are you up for it?” I look down and then up again.
and they had gone to bed……...