TGOC 2016 – Ardrishaig to Tyndrum (Days 1 to 3)

TGOC 2016 – Ardrishaig to Tyndrum (Days 1 to 3)

Kingston Wall – Shine On Me

(And it did too for the 1st 5 days pretty much)

Day 1 – Ardrishaig to Near Inveraray

Well, this was number 11.
It was going to be a different sort of trip.
Sort of slightly hardcore
After the social events of last year, this time I was going to go with martin, and we were going to do a few tops.
If weather and plans permitted, that would mean 27 Munro or Corbett hills between coasts.
OK, in Scotland in may, that was unlikely with the potential weather, and as it works out it didn’t happen. But heh….21 ain’t half bad.

After a sedate trip up, that did not involve excess alcohol, what with Sloman and Lambert going on the earlier train, we had eventually arrived at Adrishaig, a pleasant town as far south as one can currently start, and on a clear day, with views of Aran.
Settled in Hotel, we went for a wander round and then whilst Martin snoozed, I went for a lie on the grass outside. It was a warmish day. I dozed off, and was awoken by the tide  splashing me with spray.
Time to move

A pleasant night in the pub, and a good meal, it was soon time to wake, sign out and head up the road.

The walk starts along the canal behind the town. I pleasant tow-path walk missing out a a chunk of road.
Back onto the road for a bit and then eventually off onto tracks

Dipping toes in the sea, and then off along the TOW Path out of town

Through Lochgilphead, the path then picks up the track NE out towards the rifle range. This was not in use obviously.

The track all the way is easy going, until you get to the small section just before the bothy.
At which point, the bloody tracks go everywhere, we went too low and had to cut back up by the clearing.
You then have to figure out where the track???? should go into the forest. Pretty much over a sodding great tree when we were there this year. Then, work out whether to walk through twigs, branches, gorse, spiky itchy shite and all manner of nasty things that look like they have escaped from a sleeping beauty cartoon, and I don’t mean the nice things, I mean the nasty wiggly things that fall down into your shirt, and make their way by some dubious and prolonged journey, into your underpants about a day later.
Or plunge your feet into nasty stinky forestry bog puddles.

So, we did both…
About 800 – 1000 m of nasty climbing shite

And then there was the bothy, and we stopped and had a break for lunch sort of.

Not much wind about then.

During the time at the bothy, I must have put my little Cuben bag (only a small one for bits and Bobs) onto something nasty.
How do I know.
Because later on that evening when I took it out of the rucksack, it had dissolved at the bottom.

Luckily, just this one bag.

Why lucky?

Because the inner of my rucksack is sodding Cuben.
And the outside is Cuben Hybrid

Dissolving your bloody Rucksack on day 1 would be a major bloody disaster

We carried on after the short break, past the fallen trees, not forestry, but blown down by wind.

After this the track carries on, and on, and on, via the views of the magnificent SNP supported pile of shite that is the Wind farm.

I took no pictures of them.

We carried on and on and on and on.

It goes on a bit, a lot, too much, until eventually you can drop down to the road and do the last few kms into Furnace.

Furnace has a small shop at which we got some drink because the one problem with this bit of the route is nowhere to get water, despite the crossing of small streams, the huge windfarm tracks means that the flow is next to poor, and anyway, they are all nasty and full of grot.
At least they were when we went.

And then there is the PUB, marked on the map with PH, which stands for Probably History since there is no pub 😦

Martin patched his feet up and I gave him tape for 2 blister that disturbingly were already forming before the end of day one. I suspect that this was the start of the rot that caused his problems by day 7, along with the wet, and the wrong footbeds or shoes.
So, saddened by what could have been a nice long cool beer, we headed off down past the cement works and along the track by the loch, looking for a place to camp.
A pretty little fairy grotto on the left just past the cement works,.

We walked on, and on, and on, looking for a place to hide two tents.

Bugger All.

Too steep, too wet, too overgrown

I have this mental capability to just suck it up and crack on, regardless of fatigue.
It can be helpful…
Today was day to crack on….
NOT the sort of thing you really ought to do on day 1 of the TGOC.
Definitely NOT if you haven’t done this madness before.

It was getting dusk.
The wind had died down
Bloody MIDGES were starting to come out.

We had a rest.
At one point Martin went to ask if we could use a small field behind a house.
It would have been OK, but the ground was crap and uneven, and anyway it wasn’t that late yet in my head.
Just the ****ing midges

We went on a bit further, almost at the end of the loch.
A few kms shy of  Inverary

As luck would have it, we found a small flat bit.
People had been there before.
A bit to close to civilisation than is ideal.
The previous two places had been too grotty with rubbish.

This one was bit twiggy, but moving the twigs, we got too pitches in hidden in the trees by the lock.
We had enough water
If it hadn’t been for the ****ING MIDGES, it would have been perfect.
Annoying bastards, I could feel them in y hair.
Just a small bit of breeze off the loch and they would hopefully bugger off.

But tents up and brew on it was time to get some rest.
It had been a long day.

Midges aside, the views were lovely.
Tomorrow we would start to get into some proper hills.
We were already half a day ahead of schedule

MLD Shelters Rule
I’m assuming Martin will still have the Duomid in 2017, but you can never tell with martin.
Everything may be different by 2017.
Dreadfully fickle with gear is Mr Rye!
Bugger all willpower.
He just can’t resist Shiny New things 😉
OK, that said, my kit for 2017 is pretty much the same except for changing the Solomid XL for a Cuben Duomid. I didn’t need it, I just wanted it, and sold a load of gear to get it.
The trousers will also be different, because they wore out after 4 years
And I will be taking a warmer fleece next time.

Could have maybe had a snifter or three, but martin was now inside his tent.
No socialising tonight.
Music and Book on the phone.

This years phone was a smaller Huawei P8 Lite.
Pretty good bit of kit for £79 + a 64GB Memory card

OK camera, but I was carrying the Fuji X20
Music, Kindle Books, Films, BBC I Player radio 4 Downloads, GPS, Viewranger & Maps (just in case), hey, it even made phone calls and texts.
I know imagine using it as a phone eh. Bonkers…

All that said, I missed my Note 2. Would have kept it if the bloody thing did 4G and had Android 6.

Cracked this year, and bought a refurbished Note 4 with 128GB card and spare battery.

That will be it for 2017 + a Gopro Hero 4 (not taking a big camera, I’ll leave that to Ian C)

Anyway… That’s enough of day 1 I have a film to watch and a snugly Enlightened Quilt to get into..

Oh.. I might have a small dram, be a shame not to.

Night Night…. See you in the morning 🙂

Day 2  Somewhere we didn’t mean to be to somewhere else we didn’t mean to be
            Near Inveraray to near Ben Lui

We rose reasonably early. The midges had buggered off early last night due to a welcome bit of breeze. Midges …. WTF are they for anyway other than to keep the Scots inside and the English AWAY?
But I digress…
It was a lovely morning, with a slight mist hanging on the loch
We broke camp quickly and headed the very short walk to Inveraray.
Breakfast beckoned, and Martin needed some meths and a new thingy to carry it in. His had sprung a leak. Hopefully his feet were feeling better this morning…

So, anyway we headed to Inveraray.
A location that 24 hrs earlier was planned to be our early evening meal spot.
We were early, and not in a rush, we fancied a decent breakfast, and we were likely to get there before the shops opened.
As luck would have it we went slowly and arrived as they did.
Martin bought some meths and a platypus thingy to keep it in, and then we headed to a café over the road to grab much needed caffeine, and a cooked breakfast.
Breakfast was mighty fine.
Even Martin’s after they took the cooked tomato off his plate.
Martin hates tomatoes.
No, I mean HATES TOMATOES, it’s almost phobic
Let me put this into perspective
About as much as he HATES JEREMY CORBYN….
YES… exactly, that ****ING MUCH!
I offered to eat it.
No… I did eat it, but …. it was a big issue
He is a well ‘ard rufty tufty mountain man.
But.. if you ever need to disarm him…
Put down the knife and attack him with a tomato.
He’ll roll over like our dog Zack and be submissive
No really..
OK, slight exaggeration, and I hope Martin will take that small write up with the humour it is intended.
We move on [more tomatoes later in the trip 😉 ]
Breakfast was fine, and we lingered far far too long, but heh, we were almost a day early.
It was time to go.
We headed out to the outside and Martin stopped to decant the meths into a platypus by the side of the loch. We looked like a couple of alcoholics the morning after.
We hooked up with John for the walk around the road to the cut off point into the hills.
Past the war cemetery
We walked on, going past the turn off and jabbering away (heh look, it happens OK)

Reverse route we headed back
John stopped off for a rest on route, or maybe we did, it was ages ago, I don’t even remember why I was there OK.
The day was hot.
Our route took us through the rifle range (not in use)
It was a bit tracky and a bit roady.
We stopped for lunch, or something.
If nothing else a foot rest.
TIP….. Rest your feet & they will love you.
More track, and more road.
The road had been resurfaced as we headed up towards the damn and the reservoir.
It was hot, and there was bugger all water available.
Even the tarmac was melting in places.
Weather can be unpredictable on the Challenge
We got past the reservoir it was time for a rather late lunch stop.
An extended one, and get some water from a feeder stream.
There was still a bloody long way to go, and much of it was going to be up hill.

Lunch over we headed along the loch and on and on.
This was day 2.
Plans had changed.
Now we intended to get as close to Ben Lui as we could.
Hit it early tomorrow, and then get to Tyndrum early, just after midday.
Actually seriously early.
1½ days early TBH.
We walked on.
It was hot.
But walking was reasonably easy and initially the track was good.
After the end of the loch it petered out into less distinct terrain.

Big Hills beckoned tomorrow………………….
Eventually we arrived at a suitable camp spot a bit short of the Allt Mhinn
Not easy initially finding a decent pitch, but when we did, it was BANG ON.
Tents up, we could look up and see tomorrow’s 1st adversary, Ben Lui.
We pondered on which way up, eventually deciding that although not on route exactly, heading left and up to Beinn Chleibh was the best way from our camp

Camp set up, Martin headed to tent to have food.
For some reason only I knew at the time and still don’t now, I cooked my meal and ate it on a rock in the middle of the stream 🙂

The weather was … Pretty much perfect as were the surroundings.
When the sun drops it goes quickly
I headed to my tent, to get some well earned ZZZZZZzzzzzzs and listen to some music
Tomorrow we had a Hill to climb
Day 3 – Here to Tyndrum and a meal with Mr Burrows
We woke reasonably early maybe.
Look, I have no ideas OK
Packed gear, and headed up a rather step slope.
OK. over some rough ground and then up a rather steep slope.
It was warm, but when we got to the top of Beinn Chleibh it was actually quite chilly.
OK it was also quite high.
We headed down for a chocolate treat at the bealach on the way to Ben Lui

Then it was time for the pull up to the summit of Ben Lui
If we’d asked for better weather, it would have been hard to get it.
What a mighty hill that is 🙂

We descended to the left over towards Ciochan Beinn Laoigh
Steep in places and hitting the odd unexpected snow field, luckily smally and ok with just trail shoes and poles.
It’s a long way down.
On route we stopped for water, and I phoned through to Challenge control to Ali, to see if she could book us in to Tyndrum a day earlier than my original booking.
As luck would have it, and also because Challenge control are pretty awesome, all was done, although we wouldn’t know until we got there, a bit later on.

At Tyndrum just as you arrive off the hill you past By the Way Bunkhouse

We were booked into a Hobbit hut.
There was discussion of heading straight into town.
But after a slipped on the kerb nearly turning my ankle after all that walking (yes, it happens when you don’t expect it), and because we really didn’t want to lug gear into town, we popped in to see if we could book in early. Actually, to see if we could book in at all, what with being a day early.

Well, as luck would have it, Ali had done us proud, and in no time flat we had a key and had dumped our stuff in the Hobbit house, met John, had a chat, and we were ready to head into town.

We need a drink, and some sun cream to name but two things

We headed to the Green Welly Shop, where we had caffeine and lunch, bought so bits and bobs, and then went next door to the Tyndrum Inn for a beer. It was still seriously warm, nay hot. I think it was only the one. Might have been two.

Eventually we made our way back to the hut for a good kit sort out.

Later that evening, heading back into town with Jeremy for a meal back at the pub.
And a mighty good fish supper it was too. Or something.
Long and good chinwag with Mr Burrows and all too soon it was time for bed.

Today had been a short day. The first.
Tomorrow we were back to another LONG day.
Maybe longer than we first thought, and some gnarly Corbett’s.

(more soonish ………………………………)

2 thoughts on “TGOC 2016 – Ardrishaig to Tyndrum (Days 1 to 3)

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