TGOC 2012 Day 7 – Bridge of Gaur to not quite Loch Bhac

Day 7 Thu 17th May 2012 – Bridge of Gaur to a wet boggy forest near Loch Bhac

I suppose I better get this written up.
Sloman has overtaken me again, and JJ has finished his completely and gone out for a walk.

We woke at a time that may have been around 7.00 but could have been later.
My world was soft and fluffy and comfortable and dry, and there was a nice shower and bath and a cooked breakfast waiting.

After that there was to be a lot of road (at least this was going to be East), so motivation was low.
At least it was not raining much, but there was a bit of drizzle going on outside.
It did not look excessively inviting, but on a plus note we would not be trudging through bog and grunge (yet).

We went downstairs having sorted out much of our stuff to a fine breakfast.
Eddie stayed for a chat, whilst little Tom toddled in and out adjusting the very important knob at the side of the wood burning stove (which I hasten to add was not on, lest any health and safety or social services nutters read this).

Al had a lot of English breakfasty stuff, and I had a scrambled egg with some extras.
Much coffee as well, it was eventually time to get our kit together.
Al went off whilst I was sorting my stuff out for a visit to the toilet.
I would need this visit also, but needed to leave a suitable time interval before I ventured that way.

Sadly it was time to go.
All kit packed.
I am not sure why rucksack’s get heavier overnight, but they do.

I now had 3 extra meals.
I had packed one extra in case of emergency or being marooned somewhere.
But I now also had the one from Tue night (not needed at Cheese and Wine), and the one for last night, because we had a hearty meal.

We paid up, and sadly had to wave au revoir to Eddie,  Heather and Tom.
Definitely going to visit there again.

Up to the road, and then the long hall.
Today was going to be road, and then probably road, followed by road.
I had meant to put the softer inners in my shoes, but had forgotten.
I did get round to it at some point.
I cannot remember for the life of me where and when.
Assume it happened.

We decided on the North shore of the loch, which as it turns out had very few vehicles on it, and also was actually quite scenic, with a lot of interesting buildings.
The previous day, we had not been sure about camping by the loch, but as it happens there were loads of spots, and signs saying that wild camping was welcomed as long as you were responsible.
Compare that to some other places, and England, where wild camping is so hard to do.
Too much ‘Not on moi land zir’

The rather splendid Hydro building at the bottom of the hill.
There is another equally splendid one at the top.
Eilean nam Faoilleag

Destination one now 8 ¼ miles.
What a lovely sign

Destination one was Kinnloch Rannoch, where I was promised a rather fine Coffee shop.
I had been disappointed before, but I remember stuff on the board about this, so I was very hopeful.

There were lots of interesting houses to look at along here.
No wonder there were so many builders vans travelling up and down the road.
There were some lovely new ones as well.
There was obviously a pretty good local architect, because they all looked rather fine.

Weather was a bit intermittent, and also quite overcast, but at least it was not hosing it down all day.

View up the loch.
Still a long way to go

There are very few photo’s today.
It was dull and overcast much of the time, and also nothing stunning to take a photo of.

We walked on, with conversations of an intermittent nature, and the occasional rest for the old feet.
You can really trash feet on a long road walk.
Stopping every now and again even if just for a few minutes can prevent long term damage.
The pictures above where taken at just such a spot, just past the bridge at Aulich.

Then it was on into Kinnloch Rannoch to the Coffee shop for a good rest, and a spot of lunch.
Here there were already a few Challengers.

Geoff, Frank & Bert were there when we arrived. We sat down with them and Al had soup, while I had Coffee and a scone, some of which I later discovered smeared all over my rucksack and trousers. And they didn’t normally do take away.
Shortly after we sat down, Bert & Suus arrived.
We had a nice long break and a rest.
Just as we were leaving, William from Barbados arrived as well.

Eventually, it was time to go.
Water was a bit more spartan by the Loch, so we popped round to the shop.
Al wanted some tape (which they did not have), and I bought a couple of bottles of Irn Bru and a chocolate bar, because I did not have enough to carry still.

As we started up the road, it started to rain more heavily, so for a while it was on with the waterproofs again. A story of the rest of the day really.

Al was having blister issues today.
He had a rather fine developing blister, right under the joint of his middle toe.
I cannot remember which foot, but he will tell you.
Al does not do blisters.
Al has not had a blister for x years (that may have been 15).
Al no longer remembers blisters (UNTIL NOW).
So Al may at some point discuss this blister with you.
Just nod and smile and look concerned.

I reckon this developed through silt in socks after the great Invermallie non rescue mission.
Silt in wet socks is not the best.
It is like wearing abrasive socks.
It is not meant to be.

So Al was favouring the other leg whilst walking at time a bit gingerly, and that is not good either.
Anyway, foot, blister, tarmac, miles and miles is not a good combination.
I will leave the rest to Al to expand on.
It is going to get worse, before it gets better.
Trust me.

A long road trudge ensued, with a couple of rest stops to ease the aching tarmac battered feet.

Eventually it was time to turn left up the road about 1km past Dalraich to then head off into the forest.
A bit of a sting in the tale this hill.
Al had warned me, but it still hurt.
Finally, we were off into the woods.
Our goal was Loch Bhac, which wee would fail to reach today.
It was tempting to stop near the first pretty little cottage, but we needed to get on a bit.
There were two streams crossing the track, and water was important.
The first one about 2 km in and the next after about 4km.
There was nothing at the first stream, and so we carried on.
It was uphill and the new forestry track was like walking through 3″ deep potters slip.
Just a nasty gungy gloop that stuck to your shoes.  Hard work.
There was a lot of forestry clearance down the hill towards Tummel Bridge.

View down to the power station.
Lot’s of clearance

View to the Loch
from Bohally Wood a few km before we stopped.

We trudged on.
The path became a bit better.
As we got to the next stream we looked about for a spot to camp.
It was all rather tufty and wet.

I had a look on a flattish bit where they had taken out at some point, some rock and gravel for the road. It was now overgrown with tufty wet stuff, and a bit twiggy.
Al declared that this was it.
He was going NO FURTHER. IT WOULD DO!.
I was not overly enamoured of the spot, but Al looked done in, and after kicking a few hundred slugs off my spot, I found a flattish enough bit for the Oooknest to sit on.
The rest was not important.

Al, was halfway up with Wanda by now, so this was it.
This was the spot.

Tents up, and stuff unpacked.

Roger Boston turned up about 10 minutes later.
He joined us on our site.
Roger could probably gone on a bit more I reckon, but there is always the social side to the Challenge.

Just after he got his tent up, it began to rain again.
It proceeded to rain all night from then on in, and it also turned quite cold.
Not as cold as the Monadhliath where they had snow, but it was chilly.

I cooked up something that may have been Mountain House Salmon Potato and Dill, but overfilled it, and ended up with a big bag of fishy soup.
It did the job, but I am not overly impressed this year with Mountain House.
We will come back to that when I do the kit and gear thing at the end.

I gave Al a big slug of the Sloe Gin, (not a real slug) and then we all crashed out.
There was not a lot of socialising that night.
It was cold and wet and inhospitable.
I plugged in the music and drifted off to sleep.

Sometime about 3.30, I had a battle with my bladder.
I really did NOT want to venture outside, but the bladder won, and since I do not and probably never will, carry a bottle to pee into, into was a rush job outside, kicking slugs off the outer groundsheet and a pee in the drizzle.
At least this time I did not drag my silk sleeping bag liner out with me like I had at Ingleborough.

Back to sleep.

Tomorrow we had another long day.
Intended finish was Waters Of Tarf.
Al had already decided that Blair Atholl for lunch and then crack on up the Tilt.

Sarah Jarosz – The Tourist

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