Day 2 – After an early start, passing through Fort Augustus before it opened, I found a post office and village store at Invermoriston, which was open in the early morning. Time to stock up on the pork pies and Coke. After a road climb and the ‘rocky beach’ walk along Loch na Stac, I met up with (was caught up by) Nik and another guy who soon pressed on into the distance. We met up somewhere en route to Cannich, and so stopped in the campsite for a pile of food for lunch. We rode together for a while, through some atrocious conditions and with a bothy stop for a snack, finally splitting up when we approached Contin. It is useful to have two riders approaching Contin as the deer fence below the dam is impossible to get through with a bike, so they need to go over the top.
Contin was the site of last year’s scratch (albeit a couple of hundred yards before the village), so it was a relief to finally see that sign and to keep going through it – the second good omen. I was about six hours ahead of last year when I arrived there, so I took advantage of the great filling station to stock up on all manner of cakes and other delights. I later discovered that Contin was the stopping point for a lot of the riders – more than half of the field had scratched by this point, 150 miles in.
I pressed on, aiming for Inchbae Hotel for my overnight. The trail was a combination of forest road, some singletrack, and some road miles. Arriving at Inchbae, the lights were on, but nobody was home. It didn’t look the nicest of places, but I would have taken anything (the dirtbag mentality in full force). Disappointed with the lack of accommodation for the night, I decided to press on and see what the trail held. My pace was slow, so once again Nik caught up with me and we rode together for a while. We rode efficiently, climbing into remote parts of the route, miles away from any civilization or any other people. At almost the same time, the sun went down, a light rain started, and I made out the shape of the abandoned cottage of Lubachlaggan looming ahead. (Photo taken in 2017)
That’ll be tonight’s accommodation then, so Nik and I parted ways, Nik deciding to press on. The cottage itself had a roof but no windows, and luckily the doorway had been blocked over, so there were no livestock visitors inside, just a dirt floor. I climbed inside and found some wooden slats atop feed buckets as rudimentary benches, so dismantled them to make my bed for the night. A wonderful place to stay, nobody around for miles – this would make for a great bothy. More food, more sleep…