Tue 14th May
Oh BOG, Oh BOG Oh Glorious BOG
In which we walk through quite a bit of Bog (again) and err NORTHISH!
The next morning, refreshed and fit, and kitted out with clean laundered undies, we went down to breakfast.
I say down, but along really, because there is only one floor.
A fine breakfast inside us, it was time for the off.
Looking out, the weather looked quite good, but of course that wouldn’t last would it? Could it?
A revelation at the time though……..
Distance 17.7 km – Ascent 507.9 m
We departed from Tulloch, and headed up to the road, to walk round to the track
The path started well, but as with all local tracks it was soon overgrown with gorse.
Luckily not for far, and soon we were up at the road.
I was already hot, and it was time to remove coat.
We did the very short walk down the road to the left, and then headed UP again.
“What is it with all this UP in Scotland? Poor civil engineering if you ask me!”
|Two picture of Al and Phil as we headed past the end of the forest.|
|We had picked up the track by now.
The weather had gone back to RAIN.
IT HAD BEEN BOGGY
The track on the way up came and went.
At one point, we had to walk through bog, to climb over the fence to walk through bog for 300m and then climb back over again.
I have no idea WHY the path? went that way.
As we climbed back over, the rain was getting quite heavy AGAIN, and we had to put waterproofs back on.
Less to carry, but it would have been nice to get a bit of respite from the rain for a bit longer.
We continued along the track and headed out towards Tom Mor.
There is track on the map, but it is rather come and go when you are actually on the ground.
It was going to be another WET under foot day.
And although it seemed like not too far, being a bit shy of 18 km, the terrain dictated that it was going to feel like another LONG day.
And it did.
BUT on a plus note I would not have to spend the night in a tent.
|Phil collects water at a rest stop|
|In theory there is meant to be track along here, but in reality, there was nothing.
We just climbed up and up following the river.
|Al and Phil at a brief snack stop.|
The track was pretty indistinct, and also bloody wet underfoot, and rather hard going.
I was in shoes, which meant my feet were going to get wet (again).
I still wouldn’t change to Boots, but if you are wearing shoes, you will get wet feet, even if they are GTX versions.
The snack stop was a welcome break from the water soaked slog.
We were still not at the top yet, but at least we had a rather fine packed lunch from the bunkhouse.
I had eaten my apple earlier.
Al had had a banana I think.
he was NOT allowed bananas, because of the potassium content, but he ate it anyway.
Of course by now, he has had a successful kidney OP, and is allowed them again.
|Vivid coloured frog spawn in a pool just past the snack stop.
To be honest, much of the track appeared this wet.
Finally we arrived at the top, where the underfoot conditions became even more unclear, and considerably boggier.
However, there were some damned fine sink pools in the peat.
|Some fine boggy ground|
|Super views looking back though.
You can see that really, there is NO track here at all
|Al and I about to head down into more bog.
AND YES, I was having another BAD HAIR day.
|Super sink pool in the peat, with PHIL’s shadow shimmering|
|Looking across to the Window|
|Al on the way down,
This bit was really bloody wet underfoot
I had taken a slightly different route to here in order to try and keep my feet dry.
I had failed.
|Al and Phil followed the river.
I had taken to some higher ground to cut of some of the corners
The river was quite meandering (oh had I known that this was nothing).
I had yomped off by this point over to some higher heathery and drier ground.
Also to cut off some of the meander.
This picture was Phil and Al following along the river in the distance.
|Still a long way to go down, and also still no path.|
We carried on like this for quite a while as we slowly descended.
It had been tough going, and wet under foot going,
BUT it all became so worth while when we reached DOG FALLS.
There had been a lot of rain, and the falls were in fine, noisy and foamy form.
|Part of Dog Falls|
|Looking down the falls from a lovely flat rock|
|Arty Tree by the falls|
Just after I left this bit, I stumbled and then dropped down out of sight of the other two.
Phil had seen the stumble and then I had vanished from view.
I was just negotiating a slippery rocky bit, but I am sure that for a nasty moment he though I had gone over the edge.
We made our way down to the small bridge just below Dog Falls and had a rest stop.
The short drop down to the bridge is quite steep, especially in wet conditions
|Looking down from the bridge|
|AL does not like bridges|
Once across the other side, we contined to follow the river for a while, but eventually moved right and gained some ground to avoid being suckered into the Gorge.
Even here, there was no real distinct path on the ground, even though a track is shown on the map.
Indeed, there is really no path at all on the right of the river until you get right the way round to the bridge near Luib Chonnal.
|Heading down through quite a lot of roughty tufty|
As you walk across this and many other parts, you will find many old tree remains in the peat.
These I believe are not part of earlier forestry clearance, but remnants of old forests that were wiped out by climate changes a long time ago.
So all this modern Climate Change *****ks is most likely just a money spinner from the so called green brigade.
OK, that is just my opinion.
It seemed like forever, and a bit more of walking over tufty and boggy and heathery ground until we finally came to the crossing point.
We had been following the track on the other side for a while.
So near and yet so far.
Phil promised us a bridge, and for a while we were beginning to doubt him.
And then suddenly we saw it.
A brand new one that took us across the river
In fact, it was so brand new, that it had not even been painted yet.
There were cans of wood preservative (green I think) waiting underneat on th bank.
We were not exactly sure how long it had been up, but I reckon a few weeks earlier, and we may have arrived while the old one was down.
That would have been a total bummer.
So happy bunnies, we crossed and started on the last bit of the LRT along to the bothy.
|Having crossed the river, and looking over towards Creag Meagaidh|
|And and Phil on the track|
|Another tree stump|
We carried on.
It is actually further than you think to the bothy, and the last bit of the track to the bothy from where it leaves the LRT can be a bit wet.
It was not too bad as it happens, I have seen it wetter.
Eventually, we arrived at the bothy.
I had kind of shot off ahead again at this point.
Another Challenger, also called Andy, another really nice guy, who was off tomorrow to head over to the Window I think.
My feet were rather wet.
OK, bloody wet, but that would wait, while Al and Phil arrived
and then we proceeded to sort out gear, and where people were going to sweep.
Al took no time at all picking a spot and gettting all his stuff down.
I found a spot near the stairs, and then annoyed Al (to be honest, that is not that difficult), by sweeping all the crap and dust away from my area, and apparently into his.
Al felt I was getting it far to near to him, but really it wasn’t honest, so that was really that.
It was a nothing moment, and soon we were all settled.
I went and collected water.
Well, I think I did anyway.
There was NO sign of Alistair yet, but we settled in, and Phil lit the rather fine Wood burning stove so that later we would all be nice and cosy.
|Al and Andy (the other one).
Phil had already lit a fine fire
|Looking across from the bothy|
We got settled, and made food and a brew and stuff.
Hung some wet gear near the fire to dry.
Later I would accidentally cook one of my socks.
We were ready for a fine evening.
So, now all we had to do was to wait for the takeaway we had ordered to be delivered.
after heading up hills and stuff,
and then coming back down,
and then going shopping for us,
and then packing a bloody great rucksack,
and then driving to the end of the track,
and then walking all the way out to us.
Alistair Arrived !
The man is a true hero.
Well he is to us anyway.
A champion of good deeds.
Before long we had
and bottles of wine
and …….. PORT.
Oh, and whisky
He had even brought in some firewood, and fire lighters, although, as it happened, the estate had left a lot of old fence posts downstairs to be used as firewood.
At least looking back I do hope that that is what they were for.
That assumed, that you could actually get the bothy saw? to cut through them.
But hey…wood … don’t complain.
And, we had another cracking bothy party.
Listen, you can do the Challenge in a mad huge set of long days,
OR, you can do those and
Now, you choose which one eh….
Cos we know which one we prefer.
We took it in turns to cut wood.
I say we…….
I did cut quite a lot along with the other Andy.
Phil had a go, and managed to get the axe stuck in the wood.
Alistair was exempt
And Al doesn’t do wood cutting.
And we ate and drank and chatted.
As the evening wore on, Richard Flint arrived, after another one of his ludicrously long days.
Fair play, he talks the talk and walks the walk.
He got settled, and joined in festivities.
We dug out the whisky and other stuff
I turned my socks brown on the stove (hang stuff on th3 chimney not the stove).
But, hey, they were dry, and crisp.
And then, at some point we all went to sleep.
I mean, you have to really don’t you.
TOMORROW WAS A DAY WE HAD BEEN WAITING FOR
TOMORROW WE WERE GOING TO START HEADING …. EAST