TGOC 2013 Day 03 Caolasnacon to Meanach Bothy

Sun 12th Day 3

In which we go mainly NORTH for another day.

The meaning of this song will become apparent by the end of the write up.

But, here is the thing, you must read it all to find out see.

So we got up and the weather although IFFY, was not at this stage that bad.

I had managed a small amount of breakfast preparation and it was time for a toilet CALL.

Now, this may be trivial to you, but let me elaborate.

It was now the morning of Sunday 12th May.
I had left home on the evening of Wed 8th May.
I had last made a proper toilet visit in the early morning of wed 8th May,
and I can tell you that that was trivial, so for all intensive purposes we are really talking Tue 7th May

Let me count those days up for you ……………………..


That was 4 whole days with NOT a movement, and if you allow for TRIVIA, 4½ days

Things were getting awkward, nay critical

I was worried

Al and Phil were worried, because they had to walk with me.

As it happens they were already in the wash room on my arrival.

“Can’t stop for a chat lads….”
“Today is the day”
“I am going round this corner and I may be some time….”

And so with that I beat a hasty step towards one of the many cubicles…

TIME PASSES as does other things

All was good with the world (well, almost)

I returned to the washing room

Al and Phil were still there, and thankfully no one else


“What, you still haven’t been?”

NO…..that’s not what I mean.”
“Everything is good on that front”


“Well flush it again……..”

“I have, 4 times, it’s not even making an effort”
“I’m sure as hell not pushing it round the bend ………………. OK”

“OK, I will try a again”

And after 5 more flushes, and no need to dial Dynarod, it was gone.

A big sigh of relief (in many ways, and many parts).
I made my way, considerably lighter, back to my tent.

It was time to pack and leave.
Just in case it came back
AND, because we had another longish day.

Day 3 Map

We had decided, that what with the weather being a bit crap, that we would take a slight deviation of our route and use the FWA.
There were enough biggish hill opportunities, so missing this one out was fine.
So the route was planned to take the lower LRT via Loch Eilde Mor down to Luibeilt, rather than the higher path over Binnein Beag.

But first we had to get down to Kinnlochleven, and pick up a few supplies for the Cheese and Wine in 2 days time.

Remember that fact for later on.

It is not far to Kinnlocheven from the camp site, and we made good time.
The first bit was uneventful.
It is about a 5km road walk into Kinnlochleven.

You have to take care on some of the corners, because traffic wings down it at a goodly pace, but for the most part it is easy going, with only a few hills to remind you that you are in Scotland.
This is mainly because the road rises along the side of the Loch before dropping back into the town.

We could have headed to the COOP shop first since we passed it, but Al and Phil had a mind for an extended late breakfast, and so we made our way to the Pub instead.

I cannot remember off the top of my head which one.

BUT, they were doing breakfast and stuff, so we ordered TEA, and COFFEE, and I had some toast, and Al and Phil had a rather BIG breakfast each.


No turning back now.
Phil had re-discovered MEAT.

We lingered far too long here, but it was warm, and there was rain in the air (no kidding?), and we had quite a long way to go.
OK, we had a LONG way to go.

It was going to be another dismal day, so there will NOT be that many photo’s
BUT there will be stories to tell

So it was time to pop back to the Coop for supplies.

I did not need much because my parcel at Tulloch was going to contain wine, but Phil purchased some whisky I think and Al bought a bottle of red, which he decanted into the wine platypus.
Remember that……

We headed out of Kinnlochleven following the local directions to the waterfall initially.

You need to take care here, because there are loads of tracks going in all directions and they all look ok on the ground.
We followed the track round just below the river,
It seemed ok, but after a while we realised that we were dropping down again.
This was NOT right for two reasons

1. It was going down
2. It was going right, which was not right…see my drift

We took a check, and then doubled back, we had missed the point where we needed to cross the stream.
On the other side the path was a bit indistinct, which is probably why we missed it first time around, but we needed to go up to the top between two rivers.
Unfortunately both routes had had two rivers,

We should have crossed about the middle of the K of Kinnlochleven, but there were more tracks than shown on the ground and we ended up heading too far East.
It may have been that we were not used to East, since much of the time we were going North.

Second time around we had got it right, and only lost about 15 minutes so not that critical.

We slowly climbed up the track that heads up over the top.
The initial climb is quite steep, with a lot of criss-cross tracks all going to the same place.
I was feeling good and in no time flat had yomped off, leaving Phil and Al somewhere in the distance.

It was ok though, because at this point the weather was not bad, and the climb had made me too hot.
I needed to lose a few layers, and since I only had 2 layers on, that meant one.

Al and Phil on the way up.

I waited for them to catch up, and then we continued up to the top, where the ground evened out.
Looking off to the left, we could see the wide LRT that we would join.
It comes from the WHW, and there was a small band of people on it.
They appeared to be carrying reasonable size sacks. They might be Challengers, but even looking through my monocular, it was not possible to tell.

Wider shot looking back down to Kinnlochleven.
I was warm, but as you can see it was NOT exactly a clear day

We continued on up and over to join the wider LRT.
At this point we stopped for a rest, and a jelly baby or two.
The weather was suddenly turning colder, and it started to rain (again).
Time to stick on some waterproofs.
Now that we were no longer climbing, it was easy to get cold, especially when stopping.

As I had got to the top, a couple of motorcycles had roared past and off down the track

I know it is open access, and it takes all sorts, but these machines really do bugger up the tracks and trails.
Especially when there are whole herds of them on organised events.
They make some of the paths almost impassible, but churning up the peat.
We had the same problem last year, and we were going to encounter it again tomorrow, and later on today.

We trudged on along the LRT.

Approaching the start of the Loch

As we neared the start of the Loch, the group that had been ahead of us on the other path were down on the ground by the loch about NN 216 635.
They came up to the track, and we stopped for a chat.
In reality, they had much smaller packs and were just out for a day walk.
It looked like there was a guide in charge of them.
They were now heading back.
We bade farewell and carried on.

Visibility up on the tops was next to non existent, and so our higher route would have been a bit pointless.
We stuck to the FWA alternative and headed along the track besides Loch Eilde Mor.

By the time we got to the end of the Loch, it was time for another rest, and a bite to eat.
We had still not decided where we would stop tonight, much of that decision would depend upon the river at Luibeilt.

At the ruins at the end of the loch there were some lads who had passed us at our earlier rest time.
They had much smaller packs than us, and were also deciding what to do.
In the end they went round the end of the loch and headed off South East.
I am not sure they fancied the river crossing, and were probably making for the bothy by Loch Chiarain.

It was getting bloody cold, even in the shelter of the ruins.
The wind had picked up, and with it the rain was lashing in.
We headed off along Loch Eilde Beag hoping that the river would NOT be too high.

I believe that this might be the source of the water used in Speyside Whisky.
I think Phil told me that.
I may be wrong, it was bloody windy, and hoods were up.

Before too long, I had yomped off again.
It was not a problem.
Sometimes it is nice to walk a bit on your own.
And no one was going to get lost.

The further along we went, the worse the wind, and the track started to get cut up, where events from the previous weeks motorcycles had hammered it.

As we eventually neared Luibeilt, Al and Phil stopped for another rest.

Bugger that for a game of soldiers, I could see a building, so I told them I was going to crack on for some proper shelter and also to reccy the river crossing.
The idea of a night in a bothy rather than sticking up a tent was very appealing,
It just depended on the river.

When I got to the Luibeilt, the track was really mangled by motorbikes.
I made my way to the river, past the ruins.
There was a tent already there, battened down for the night in a small sheltered spot.
I could see Meanach  Bothy on the other side.

I walked up the river to the left looking for a safe(ish) way across.
In reality there wasn’t an easy way.
I wandered back down, by which time Al and Phil had arrived.

We headed right along the river, looking for the place where the bikes had crossed.
Eventually we found a bit that looked about right.
certainly it was a goer.
Phil and I took off boots and shoes and socks to wade across.

Al had seen the bothy, and just plunged in boots and all.

It was a good crossing point.
Maybe the only easy crossing point, and the water only came just above the knees.
I wouldn’t have fancied it without poles though, because some of the rocks were a bit slippery

Al was long gone across the boggy section by the time Phil and I had got our boots back on.
Although the water was bloody cold, my feet did appreciate the cooling down.

We made our way across to the bothy.

Al was by then in, had his stuff laid out on the sleeping platform, and had emptied his boots.

There was nothing really to burn, but then there never is at Meanach, so we made do, and put on lots of warm clothes.

Outside the wind had really picked up, and was gusting quite hard.
We looked over to the small tent and wondered how Stan? was getting on.

It doesn’t look that bad outside, but it was.

I have no idea what they were doing here.
It does look wrong though doesn’t it.
Ignore the blue patches, they were nowhere near us.

Al busy using the power of the WORD.
Al continues to
Because just after that, it looked like THIS

It was quite chilly inside, but Phil got the makings of a makeshift fire going, and we cooked up our food.
I got out the music player and the phone, and soon we had a mini party going on.

As it got darker, we found that if we used Phil’s reflective pot-cosy, the blue light from my music player, and Al and My head torches on White and Red flashing, we had a pretty good light show.

Soon we had golden oldies from the Moody Blues, and also The Beatles White Album playing.
And that is why the Little Piggies song was at the start.

Al had by this time found a tatty old book.
I cannot remember the tile, but it was a penguin classic.
Such is the power of literature, that Al begun with the appendices, stuffing his boots with page after page.

[Thanks to Phil for this, it was
 “Laughter in The Next Room” by Osbert Sitwell ]

Thankfully, there was no laughter in the next room, just ours.
And I am not surprised that someone had left such a monumentally boring tope behind.
The next lot can use it to light the fire
IF they can find any wood.

As the evening wore on, more and more of the book, became one with Al’s boots.

Such indeed is the power of the word, that over 400 pages eventually found their way, into the dark footwells of Al’s Scarpas.
He had digested the entire novel.

“Go on Pal, FILL YER BOOTS” had another interpretation.

We played more music.
Had some of Phil’s whisky and my Sloe Gin.

Al dug out the Wine.
The wine for the Wine and Cheese AFTER TULLOCH, in 2 days time.

“I think we ought to test this” he says

“Sounds like a great idea” we say “I mean it might be no good”

And test it we did, until there was about enough for a single glass left.

Never mind, at least we would be picking up some cheese at Tulloch!

And the evening wore on with music and literature and peanuts and oh yeas…. More wine 🙂

You too can join in.
Go get a glass of wine.
Find an old book
Fill your shoes with water
Go sit in your shed
Stuff the book into your boots
And sing along with the songs below……………..
Happiness is a Warm Gun
While my Guitar Gently Weeps

Dear Prudence
See how good you feel now. 

Eventually it was time for sleep.
We made sure everything was hanging up.
So we made our way to the sleeping platform, and attempted to get some sleep.

This was NOT helped by the never ending, chomping and scurrying of the bothy mouse/rat?

All you could hear whenever you woke, was the little/big bugger somewhere near the fireplace.

At some point in the middle of the night Phil woke.
Pointed his head torch down, and all he could see was too beady read eyes starring back.

If it could have spoken, it would have said.

“Come on then big man”
“Bring it ON”.

The next morning we discovered that it had been munching its way through some trail mix that had been left behind the fire.

Oh well, those are what BOTHY NIGHTS are all about.

Bad weather, painful feet

Can’t remember, but had some great times Yeah!

8 thoughts on “TGOC 2013 Day 03 Caolasnacon to Meanach Bothy

  1. Well.

    What can one say? Was Andrew really there? Answers on a postcard.
    I do remember the excellent White Album. The wine was okay too.
    I remember the rain, the cold, and the rain.
    Did I mention that it rained?

  2. I'm enjoying this – at times it's almost as if I was there.

    “Laughter in The Next Room” by Osbert Sitwell was the book. A fitting end for volume four of a tedious and self-indulgent memoir.

    And at least it stopped raining overnight …

    … and snowed instead.

  3. Meanach lacks wood but there is some down the glen. Take coal, or find bog wood and get it cut up. A fine stop for the night. Keep going. I want the good bits.

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