It was late in the day again, but I was in good spirits to walk on into the late afternoon/evening, arriving at Tomatin as it got dark. There was little in the way flat areas off the road, so I chose a place directly under the street lamp at the corner of the road leading to the local primary school. I figured that as it was Saturday tomorrow nobody would mind me being so close to a school. The sleep was welcome and deep.
I had never heard of Tomatin to be fair, but it would seem that it was once one of the largest producers of malt whiskey in Scotland, and even now still houses stock for several other manufacturers. I liked the product, but unfortunately can't carry the bottle... I cried all the way to Inverness.....woohoo....
Seriously, after the crying, I walked on to find a place close to Daviot where the path descended into the valley and then across a suspension bridge for walkers. Phew that would save me a long walk to the bridge along the valley, and it took me all the way up to the Village of Daviot, though they had no public house for refreshments or food. I saw a sign by the church that showed a map of the local area and apparently the nearest place to eat was the Culloden Moor Inn some 4+ miles away.
To be fair I was starving, and the thought of walking for another hour and a half was painful, but it was a lifeline. I began my hike at a stong gait and narrowly avoided the selfish people racing past me along the back roads, before I saw the lights burning in the village ahead. God was I worn out. By the time I arrived I had decided that cost was not going to be an issue, and heartily tucked into Broccoli soup and a jacket Potato with chilli con carne..... Amongst the beautifully dressed clientelle and staff I must have looked a sorry sight. Windswept and tired and eating for Great Britain as if my life depended on it.....
I later found a spot to camp at the fringes of the famous battlefield of Culloden Moor. I was so tired I welcomed the noises of the night and haunting ghosts that roamed these moorlands for eternity, as a distraction from the road traffic.
Someone had told me not to bother with the expensive tour of the site and museum, though it possibly would have given me a more factual basis for my discoveries, and just walk the fields which is free. The place is enormous and you could easily put yourself in the days of that battle, where the soldiers and clansmen gathered for the slaughtering to come. Some 1500 Jacobites, clansmen and hired soldiers died here alongside an indeterminate number of English soldiers under the Duke of Cumberland. Bonny Prince Charlie left defeated it would seem, though to see the place, you could see why it was a fated attempt. The owners of the site are attempting to return the moorland to its original state at the time of the battle, after centuries of deforestation and farming have changed the terrain somewhat. I was actually surprised (and pleased) that the site is open to the public to walk across from several access points. Of course you are expected to show respect for the site, and the monuments as is correct, but usually sites like this are fenced off completely.
I also got into conversation with a couple, Ian and Audrey from Manchester and Dundee respectively, who made a wonderful donation to the cause and shared a while with me telling me all about life here in Inverness, and helped me to navigate my way towards the Eco campsite that I had been told about by Phil from Kent.
I enjoyed the trek out of the city and into the hills as the day drew on towards evening. A huge building, all the lights burning stood at the top of the nearby hillside. I wondered what was going on there, but received no answer, other than it was possibly a government run establishment. And what need have they for economizing with our tax payers money by turning the lights off in an empty building....!!!