Pumping my bilges

The flattest, most serene and straightforward 10 miles I could imagine. The Great Glen Way is also very well waymarked and it is (so far at least) almost impossible to lose your way.

After a mile or two through woods and passing around my old friend, Caol, the path follows the Caledonian Canal. On the way, there is Neptune’s Staircase, a set of eight locks that rise or fall 64 feet over a distance of about 450 yards. I made absolutely sure to not to pump my bilges, or pimp my bulges, since that would seem to be a cardinal sin in these parts. Someone more boaty than me can probably explain in words of one syllable what that operation entails.


Moving on swiftly, I dawdled and ambled up the Canal, had a light lunch, and then dawdled and ambled a bit more. I had had a very relaxed early morning, barely starting walking before 11, knowing that the arrival time due at my b&b in Gairlochy was 4pm. Wikipedia give the population of the hamlet as 100, so getting there too early wouldn’t be likely to spawn lots of opportunities to pass the time. In the end, I arrived at about 3:45 and it was no problem.

It was a beautiful walk, moreover. Never more than about 10 yards from water!


So, 10 miles, as I said. Total of 834, and I reckon around 181 to go. Getting closer to the end, and now moving consistently in a north easterly direction. Lovely that the day was dry, not too hot, not too cold and a very slight breeze behind. Long may that last!

9 thoughts on “Pumping my bilges

  1. If you really must know (and I’m sure all your followers in Spiceboyland are waiting expectantly) it means emptying the mucky, oily water that accumulates at the bottom of your boat over the side: not a polite thing to do in the locks – or even lochs, come to think of it. Best stick to walking…

  2. Pimping the bilges is still a capital offence in at least six US states, so exercise extreme caution! Now that you’re a household figure from the launderette advert remake you would be easily recognised too. Enjoy the pleasant walking and keep an eye out for Nessie for me (though it could be a renegade U-Boat that has gone native). All best, Chris

  3. Keith I was going to reply say you are talking bilge.! But thought better of it. Seriously keep up all the hard effort – Brian Green and I from NISRA are reading about your progress with great respect. Only a few more days to go. All the best David Marshall

  4. Keith, after completing the West Highland Way you’ve certainly earned a day like this. Is the route like this all the way to Inverness? What a contrast!
    While reading one of your earlier postings, something possessed me to wonder if ‘coof’ was a word; why not look it up, if you haven’t already.
    Hey, you’ll soon have reached Loch Ness where it’s said they filmed the moon landings, apparently.

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