Loch Mullardoch to Cannich
We had agreed to this, which means I had agreed to this, so Al has a fair point!
I am awake at 7 and lying in my bag desperate for a pee.
It is still a bit wet and rainy outside and I am holding out as long as possible.
I can hear movement, and breakfast stuff going on outside, and Al has rattled my tent to tell me to get up.
I have acknowledged this, and I have the best of intentions, once I can get my body to get out of the sleeping bag.
Well eventually I did crawl out and I get MOST of my stuff sorted out inside the tent.
At last I pop my head out.
All I need to do now, is pack the last few bits away, and get them into the rucksack, and put the tent down, and the most important thing of all that I have just discovered must be done and really NOW!
Is have a jolly good $&1T.
So I crawls out of my tent, and there are Al and Robert, all packed and tents away and standing in under the trees, in the cold ready for the off.
There are reasons for this.
It is now 8.05
He is ready
He is getting Cold
AND… I am not ready, not packed, tent is still up and ….
If I have just a shirt on top, Al has a base layer and a fleece and maybe something else.
Just one more river crossing (we hope not) and then the end of the loch, and then it’s going to get a bit roady!
Rob has a case on the front were he carries stuff that he needs to be accessible.
Actually, a casual glance round Robs rucksack where all the other things he needs to be accessible are attached, or dangling, or stuffed in pockets, would make you wonder if he needed to pack anything inside it at all.
Don’t get me wrong here I am not having a dig. Rob is a good bloke. I walked with him quite a bit this year, and also funnily enough quite a bit last year with Roger and Nigel, and we had a good time.
But this year he brought these tension straps that hold on this pouch thing that always lose their tension.
On a bad day, this is approximately 4 minutes after they have been tensioned up.
On a good day, about 5 minutes after.
We’d have got to Cannich about 2 hours earlier without Robs tension straps.
I exaggerate. Quite a lot really, but that is poetic licence.
As luck would have it, we did cure them at Cannich with some micropore tape.
Well I think we did, because I did not bump into Rob again until the Larig Ghru, and I should point out that the straps were not the reason.
A look back to the Dam from near Mullardoch House
We stopped on route a couple of times just to take the tarmac ache from our feet and also to re-hydrate (water ok) and of course there were Robs $%^&^ tension straps.
I had been walking in gortex socks for much of the shore line (it was quite wet under foot) but now that we were on tarmac they actually made your feet worse and sore, and a switched back to my old faithful X Socks (brilliant they are).
More about kit later. Much later actually. In fact right at the end. You’ll have to wait a bit!
Pretty little pond, just off the road.
Quite a long way up, near Craskie (a bit after the sock and coat change), we caught up with Ed(whose name cannot be spelt). He had been with Jack, but had gone off to do some higher stuff, and they were meeting up again in Cannich.
We also bumped into a herd of cows being led down the road.
Mainly mums and young ones.
Last time I was here back in 2006, I met the same herd (well not the same herd to be honest, but a similar one none the less), although some of them may have been babies at the time.
None of them recognised me though
Here Ed headed off to the campsite, and Al, Rob and myself sought out hydration materials.
The first and later better pub was closed so went on up the road to the Slater’s Arms.
I sorted out a few things on my rucksack whilst Al and Rob went in.
I followed a bit later and brought a pint at the bar, and had a chat with the barman. He seemed ok, but apparently they had not been so welcoming to Rob and Al.
Later we were to hear that this was a bit of a theme with Challengers. Considering the amount of custom in Cannich, you’d think they’d bend over backwards to make you welcome. Oh well.
As we sat there, familiar faces came by with bags of litter.
This happened to be Bill Howden and David Albon. They also came in for sustenance, and I believe a similar welcome.
But it was good to catch and and we had a bit of a chin wag and stuff, and then headed off to the shop next door for a few supplies before going to set up at the camp site.
Bill Howden helped the nice shop people to take out a Slow Worm that had somehow found its way in (shame I had no camera with me),
and Al bought heaps of stuff (cos it was on offer), which included 3 Nan breads, and assorted pies. It would help him get to the camp site.
They are really nice at Cannich Campsite and are extra helpful if they can be.
They also have a lot of great facilities, and electricity for charging stuff, and a cafe and coffee room, and drying room, and washing machines and showers and ….. It was great.
Wanda and Wendy all set up
Like do you mean it isn’t Akto Green? He’d probably consider my old Competition dreadful too, because that was Red.
Just joking Ed. You are of course entitled to your opinion, regardless of how dreadfully wrong it is!
I should also at this point like to thank Bernie Roberts, for letting me dry my towel and pants in his washing, (cos I had forgotten to do them when I did mine earlier).
What a Gent!
A lot of Challengers arrived over the next few hours (including Pete who we had left earlier the previous day). There are too many to name. but you know who you were.
Here we bumped into Brian Shepherd again, who had at last arrived.
He said he was going to withdraw the next day.
We tried to tell him it was fine, and he should sleep on it, before making a decision.
We had a chat, and he did sleep on it, although we later heard that he did withdraw.
There is No shame in that. Just starting it is good. There’s always another time.
Al, Brian, Bernie, Carl, Pete and some others whose names I am afraid I have forgotten.
|Al and I (I must do something about my hair next time!)|
Anyway, suffice it to say, we had a jolly good night, and eventually all returned to the camp site, for a midnight Whiskey and Sloe Gin.
I had forgotten about the Sloe Gin. Al had brought some of Phil’s and I had a bottle that my Mum had made. We had started in on it on the first night at the bothy, and bloody good stuff it was.
Smooth with a light kick. Not the Wumph of Al’s rocket fuel.
We would be up early the next day to get to Drum for the early ferry.
The wonderful people at the camp site, agreeing to open up at 6.30 so we could have breakfast.
Three days in now, the initial shock of lugging that pack had subsided, and fitness was settling in.