We got up at a decent hour with breakfast & checking out behind us by 9:45am, then did a bit of driving exploration of the roads around Torridon before we left completely. Ben went into photojournalist mode when a few sheep stopped us in the road, and I found the cutest little stone house on the beach of Loch Torridon that was actually built into the rock!
Tiny cottage built INTO the rock!
After getting stuck behind roadworks for a bit on the single-lane road through Glen Torridon, we were cruising well to the Dingwall 24-hour Tesco outside Inverness. Ben was looking for walking sticks to buy to help his knees, and we needed breakfast & lunch provisions if we thought of attempting Ben Nevis on Thursday. I found not only my beloved Archer peach schnapps, but they even had Blavod black vodka there! One stop shopping - hooray!
After a bit of a wild goose chase through the industrial part of Inverness looking for an outdoor supply store, we ended up parking at the "shopping centre" (=mall) right by the High St, where Ben succeeded in the walking stick mission at a mall store. We strolled down High St, looked at the small Victorian-built castle, which I had only before seen at night back in 1997, grabbed a bite that included a Scotch Pie each (might have haggis inside but we're not sure?), then headed back on the road, down Loch Ness, through Fort William to Kinlochleven.
We did stop at Drumnadrochit with the Loch Ness Exhibition, where I got some touristy but cool souvenirs, including for myself the cutest lavender fitted tee with a rhinestone thistle on the front! (The thistle is the national symbol of Scotland.) We stopped in the town of Fort Augustus, where I remembered the abbey was cool, but it's under construction now, so we just got a couple photos down at the dock, since that is the southern tip of Loch Ness. It rained just about all day today, which made for strikingly similar Loch Ness photos to what I got back in 1997, so I think that's normal. ;) I hate driving in the rain (especially on windy roads with no shoulder, on the wrong side of the road, plus wild British drivers encroaching into my lane!), but I wanted Ben to see as much of Loch Ness as possible, so I drove the entire way from Torridon to Kinlochleven.
Ben & Britta on the shores of Loch Ness
Another delicious meal at our hotel, this time the MacDonald Hotel in Kinlochleven, so still no culinary disappointments yet this trip, but another disappointment that no phone in our room AGAIN so no internet! How can TVs be so routine without a phone? *shrug* At this point we're pretty much not expecting a phone at the Snooty Fox either, so we are greatly looking forward to getting to London, where we KNOW there is a TMobile wifi hotspot in our very own hotel! ;)
We are tackling Ben Nevis tomorrow, but planning for a 12-hour hike when it says 6-8 hours, so we'll leave the hotel at 7:15am for the 45-minute drive to the trail head back outside Fort William. When I called him today to quiz him, Andy reassured us that the Ben Nevis trail isn't nearly as steep as Beinn Alligin, just a longer walk, so we'll do our best! Wish us luck!