Scotland during the festive season 2019, Day Five of our adventure.

A relaxed day exploring the Great Glen, Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, Commando Memorial and staying in Fort William for the evening.

On day Five of the adventure we had a much more relaxed initary. You can catch up with previous days here. This part of the adventure takes us away from the NC500, we are doing our own thing.

After a leisurely start from the travelodge and a brief drive around Inverness, we drove to the tip of Loch Ness and visited Dochgarroch Lock where Jacobite cruises are based.

Dochgarroch Lock

We have stayed in the area a number of times. I have also worked in the area. It never ceases to impress me with its charm.

On Day Five we are basically driving in a straight line.

Day Five route.

Following the shores of Loch Ness we arrive at Drumnadrochit where the Loch Ness visitor centre is based. It takes visitors through seven themed areas exploring Loch Ness from its beginnings to the third millennium.

Thinking about it, was the whole Nessie thing a precursor to the NC500?

A fantastic way of attracting tourists to an area. The benefits are clear to see.

Leaving Drumnadrochit we drive to Fort Augustus, it was busy here. I love the Lock (not Loch) chambers on the Caledonian canal. On this trip however I was to be surprised!

The locks were drained for vital repairs. This added yet another level of interest for me, to marvel at the level of engineering involved. In the original work nearly 200 years ago. Plus the methods being used today to make the repairs and improvements.

More great engineering on Day Five at The Bridge of Oich.

History
After flooding destroyed the old stone bridge over the River Oich in 1849, a new bridge was needed. It needed a single wide span to avoid further flooding, so a stone bridge was out of the question.

English brewer-turned-engineer James Dredge used an innovative double-cantilever design for the new bridge. It differed from a normal suspension bridge in two ways:

It was lighter, since the chains got thinner towards the centre.
More stable – if the bridge broke in the middle, the two separate cantilevered sections would, in theory, stay standing.

The Bridge of Oich was completed in 1854. It comprises three parts:

Arched granite pylons set on granite piers with earthen embankments

A wrought-iron structure which took support over the pylons and was anchored into the embankments behind a timber deck.

The result is a remarkably elegant and pleasing piece of engineering.

Bridges designed by Dredge were built in Jamaica and India, though none now survive there. The Bridge of Oich is one of seven to survive out of 30 built in the British Isles.

The above quoted text from Historic Environment Scotland the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment.

The Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge.

A Category A listed monument in Lochaber. Dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II.

Situated around a mile from Spean Bridge, it overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot established in 1942 at Achnacarry Castle.

Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother, it is one of Scotland’s best-known monuments, both as a war memorial and as a tourist attraction offering views of Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr.

We had planned to visit the memorial, the visit was made more poignant, after a request from a friend to pay respects on his behalf whilst we were there.

Something we were extremely pleased and honoured to do.

Fort William.

After such a great day it was a relatively early arrival in Fort William. We found time to do a bit of shopping and taste a local delicacy – a Scotch pie.

A Scotch pie or mutton pie is a small, double-crust meat pie filled with minced mutton or other meat.

The shops were really busy on the eve of hogmanay eve 🙂

Scotch Pie.
Mmmm Scotch Pie.

When we arrived at the Premier Inn, we found it was massive. As I booked in I mentioned Jayne’s mobility. Instantly the moved us to a room closer to the entrance. Another example of the fantastic Scottish hospitality we experienced.

Time for a few drinks and a meal.

The Loch Iall Brewers Fayre offered a good deal on meals with 2 for £8.99p if ordered before 6pm which really hit the spot.

I am not one for posting pictures of food on social media, but on this occasion I feel like it is only fair to give credit where it is due.