The village was quite an attractive little place although there was nothing much to it; just a handful of shops and cafes, a petrol station, supermarket/delicatessen, a couple of restaurants and a takeaway, with the main attraction being the loch cruises. This was the other end of the Caledonian Canal, with another set of staircase locks linking it to Loch Ness, and there was no shortage of passengers on the trip boats. The area around the locks was very pleasant and I spent quite some time there, watching some private yachts come through then walking up one side and along the canal for a distance before coming back down the other side.
By the time I'd finished wandering around I was feeling more than a little peckish; my breakfast had long since worn off and I was ready for a brew and something to eat. It was far too warm to leave the dogs in the van for any length of time so I found a place where I could eat outside and ordered a large coffee and a slice of carrot cake; the dogs sat looking at me expectantly but they didn't get so much as a crumb, though I did give them a treat each when I finally got back to the van.
On my way back to the car park I noticed a sign on a wall for a rare breeds croft, with an arrow pointing down a path along the riverside; it said dogs on leads were welcome so I thought I may as well take a look. The path took me to an entrance gate and a wooden shed with a board outside displaying the fees and a lady inside sitting knitting; handing over my £2 I went in and was quite surprised to find I had the place to myself. And what a strange place it was; there were several large fenced enclosures housing a rather motley collection of sheep, goats, pigs and highland cattle, with a central pond where various ducks and geese quacked and honked as I walked past with the dogs.
A sign on one of the fences which actually had a sign - not many of them did - said that particular enclosure contained red deer but there were none in evidence; a couple of the sheep were shedding their fleece and had bits hanging off all over the place, which made them look rather like woolly jumpers coming unravelled at an alarming rate. There were some cute little black lambs who turned their backs on me when I tried to take a photo, and several rabbits in another pen. The cutest of all though was a little young roe deer named Bracken; according to the sign it had been found at the roadside somewhere by a passer-by who took it to the croft, where it had been cared for ever since. It was very tame and came right up to the fence so I could scratch its head, and it was so inquisitive that every time I tried to take a photo it would walk too close to the camera. Of all the time I was in there I never saw a single person working there, and when I finally made my way out I found the shed at the entrance closed up and the knitting lady gone.
Back at the van I gave the dogs a drink and their treats and finally set off back to Invercaimbe; I'd been out well over six hours and I still had an hour and a half's drive ahead of me. The dogs slept all the way back so they must have been tired from all the wandering about; it had been a good day and it was finished off nicely by a couple of hours chill-out outside the tent in the evening sun, then as the sky began to turn red with the sunset we took our late stroll along the beach before snuggling into our beds for the rest of the night.