There was still a climb I had to do to get onto the mountain path through the forests above which would see me well on my way into the Great Glen way. I met a few walkers coming towards me that had left Drumnadrochit this morning to walk all the way into Inverness. As I had been putting the tent away, it had rained so I needed to find a spot to dry it. Almost at the top of the trail I found a place and opened the tent up and pegged it, but just as it was almost dry it began to rain once more. Heavens above, I raced to get it scrolled up and into the bag but then it was hailstorms, and I nearly wet myself laughing at this scenario. The tent might be dry...ish and the bag certainly isn't but I was gladly fully kitted for the surprise turn of events. For a while I stood hunkered down over the tent and backpack hoping to save it all from getting wet and covered with hail, but couldn't stop laughing.....
Later chilled and sweating I managed to make it out of the forest an onto an open stretch of road, where I met a lady called Barbara and her Daughter Susan who were just leaving her home for a brisk walk. They knew of the Eco Campsite and said that they would walk me to the gate, and also to pass on their regards to Sandra and Howie the owners of the cafe/campsite, heralded as an alternative experience. Again that familiar welcome from complete strangers was evident as they accompanied me to the spot were the track fell back into a small forest of new sapling trees. I thanked my escorts for their kindness as they returned the way we had come.
For example, she was from the Orkney Islands. Apparently there, they thought that the Rowan was a tree to ward off the witches, rather than my idea that they were tools of the witches of old. Oddly enough and with good reason, they say that if the tree hangs heavy with berries, it will be a very cold winter or a very hot summer. As winter is due, I thought it made sense, that the birds and animals that would live on these berries would have a decent supply to stock up with, if a harsh winter came. And every tree I have seen this last few months are hanging very heavy indeed.
As if by magic, after a few minutes of being there, in walked three men and a mid-life crisis. The cyclists asked me where I was going with such a huge bag and so I told them. Before you could say Tom Robinson they had asked to sit with me and asked me all about my journey. I likewise asked about their epic trip so far from Lands end by bicycle and only a day and a half to go until John O Groats. They were such fun, and oozed a warmth as they joked with everyone.
We basically took over a corner of the Corner cafe with out bags and helmets and cameras and requests for pictures to be taken. Sean asked one of the staff to take our pictures on his I Tablet. When it was taken she asked if it was ok.
They threatened to walk with me as I get around to Manchester, and I sincerely look forward to putting my tent up in their gardens... (Hope it isn't Mosside)