TGOC 2018 – Days 4 to 6 – Mon 14th to Wed 16th – Inchree to the Cheese and Wine

TGOC 2018 – Days 4 to 6 Inchree to the Cheese and Wine

The Sun Keeps Risin’ – Lissie
(And it did)

Day 04 – Mon 14th May 2018 – Inchree to Loch Eilde Mhor via the Corbett

Up and breakfast sorted, and Al and Phil still languishing and pondering a 9.30 start, I headed off with Sue, as we had the Corbett in mind, and Al and Phil were never going over that.

The start of the day took us out up and over the hill and down to the river to basically follow the Abhainn Righ out and through the forest, we saw someone ahead, but they headed off up the higher parallel track through the woods. This appears on the map to lead to nowhere, so we stayed on the lower track, almost going too far at the end as we went about 200m past our cut off point. Easy to do when chatting, but obvious once the track turned back on itself.
Back on track we stopped to grab some water at the small stream, and then headed off over a non track to Lundavra. A short way along we bumped into Lynsey again, and the three of us continued up past the lochan and through the farm to then head South for a few km along the WHW.
So many people, mainly carrying day packs in huge groups doing this route.
Mainly wearing great big boots, and for some reason, (as we were in T shirts), wearing great big coats ?????? 🤔🤔.

Note to self:…. Don’t bother with the WHW, and if you do, just never do it in tourist season.

Fortunately near Lairgmor, Sue and I were to head off up Mam Gualainn, and Lynsey was to head further along the WHW to Kinlochleven, and Cream Teas… This was tempting, very tempting, but the day was glorious, and the potential views too good to not go up this today.

Lynsey and Sue heading to Lundavra

Lochan at Lundavra

We stopped for a lunch break just past a gate, and then much to the dismay I suspect of the WHW conga, headed up the track to climb up the back of Mam Gualainn.

The route up to the top was hard work, and this was not helped by having to go a long way back, and also because of the churned up ground on the initial ascent caused by ****ing motorbikes.

I shall have a rant on this today, and then again tomorrow..

But, these are small hill tracks, and yes, I know the bikers will say they have the right to be there, but seriously, they go out on groups, and then churn the ground to shite. Not just here, all overt the bloody place, on small tracks making it a nightmare to walk on.
I am sure they have to be skilful, they just have no FUCKING consideration for where they are, the ground they are destroying, or anyone else. The hill moto for most (ok, there are a bunch of total fuckwits that camp, and leave all their shite behind because they are ignorant), but for most is “LEAVE NO TRACE”, well, we cannot say that about sodding motorbikes can we? Look at the pictures. Leave a fucking mess and ride on!

I rest my case, and it was like this quite a bit.
Wait until you see tomorrows carnage on an even smaller track 😠

There, now I can get back to the hill, and the utterly wondrous view…..
We climbed up and around the back.
Once you leave the main track, it is quite indistinct, even though it shows on the maps.

Well, TBH, paths shown on OS maps, and paths that actually exist ???
Don’t even get me started on that one.
I’m not even sure how OS work out where the paths are meant to be.
Maybe just sitting at a desk eating Pizza.
“Oh just mark in some dashes somewhere Gary”
“Ok, that’s a good idea , do you want some more Pizza” 😂

Heading Round the Back and then finally at the top..

At last the top …. 

We stopped briefly for fluid, and then headed along the ridge, trying to keep as much elevation as possible.

WOW… Such Views all around..
I took some pictures, but seriously, they cannot ever do the reality justice.

I waited for Sue on Bienn na Caillich. Her knees were giving her a bit of grief, and it was looking like a steep descent. In fact, until we got here, I wasn’t even sure we could actually get off this end, and we had made a contingency route off down the river.
As it happens, it was ok, and we headed down.
I say OK…..
It was steep and slippery, and there was a small snow field, and very wet track.
They appeared to have put some rock on the path in places.
Unfortunately, this was very loose and slippery knee and ankle mangling stuff, and Sue’s knees are not happy knees!

Looking back up to our snow patch.
It looks quite small from down here.

It was a long way back down, on hard going zig zag track and at times loose scrabbly rock.

Sue heading down

I had stayed just ahead of Sue all the way down.
This was not a place to have a slip and end up on your own.
Near the bottom, was a small stream.
I was out of liquid, and I knew Sue was too.
Just over the bridge, I dropped my pack and taking all the water carriers I had, climbed down and came back with 3 litres of water.
By then Sue had arrived, and I filled her water bottle.
We had a drink and some chocolate or something and then headed off back up to the main WHW track.
It had been a long day, and we still had at least 7½ km to go.

A final look back up to the top.
That seemed like a long way..
It was!

At Mamore Lodge we had to skirt off the original large track and round on a gritty muddy path, through a badly fitting gate , because the ESTATE had decided that they didn’t want anyone going through the old track and by the keepers cottage.
Had they made any real effort with the re-route? Had they F**K.

We carried on, and a bit further off, took the more direct route, down through a steep muddy track and through overgrown bushes to a small bridge. Hard on the knees.
Somehow, the top had come off my water bottle on the way down, and my back was now soaked in water and squash mixture. Hot and sticky as ****.
Sue  carried on slowly up, and I stopped and rinsed myself off in the water, luckily finding the top in the rucksack pocket.
I cracked on and caught up.
Sue was feeling a tad done in at this point, and was looking to stop.
I tried to get her to carry on, by saying we were nearly at the top of the climb out, and it wasn’t much further, honest, and we would meet up with Al and Phil and Lynsey and Robin.

I may have seriously lied about the distance…
But she was coming to the Loch with everyone else, if I had to pick her up and carry her!
Just sayin’ 😁

We carried on slowly, over the rise and began the descent, by the stream to the Loch…

Finally arriving I think around 19.30 to 20.00

I can say now, it had been a bloody tough day that.

Tents up, and food on the go, it was time to seriously hydrate, get some calories in, and maybe a BIG shot of whisky.
It was not going to be a highly sociable evening.
That was destined for tomorrow night at Loch Ossian, and the following night at the Cheese and Wine.

No sir, it was time to zone out in the tent with some headphones on and get some ZZZZzzzz 😴😴

We even found a small HENGE! 😂😂
That’s an old joke…..

Day 05 – Tue 15th May 2018 – Loch Eilde Mhor to Corrour and Loch Ossian YHA

Twas morning, and we were back to a group of 6, starting out of course at 08.00.

Me, Al, Phil, Robin, Sue and Lynsey.

There was a slow and gradual climb at the start over ground that had again been churned to shite by a bunch of bikers… Yep, LEAVE NO TRACE! 😠😠

Just normal wear and tear by bikes (NOT)

View back to the loch

More bike carnage

and More

and even more

Just Ground carnage 😦

Before long we had broken away from being a group.
Robin and I and Sue had covered quite a bit of ground.
Sue headed off over a Corbett.
Now, let me mention a conversation with Sue the previous day as we descended.
Sue: “Don’t let me do any more Corbett’s tomorrow” …. 🤔
Well, that one had failed immediately then…
Robin and I carried on chatting, and before long we could not even see the others.
Not really any point waiting.
It was quite breezy as we headed up over the bealach, and began the descent down and through Rannoch moor towards the bothy by Loch Chiarain
Looking at Blackwater Reservoir

This is a wonderfully desolate and open area, great walking even if not high, and we had fabulous weather, a very different navigation would be needed if it closed in.

Shoes and socks off and airing.
We stopped to make a brew.
Some other people arrived (they were not on the challenge).
The wind was picking up outside.
The route out was either across the river and up to the Corbett, which involved stepping stones, or a longer way round.
Al and Phil and Lynsey arrived and also John and Sue.
I decided that the river could be done, so headed off with Sue and John over the river and up.
Al, Phil, Lynsey and Robin stayed to do the lower river route.
As we climbed, the weather closed in.
Sue appeared somewhere left field as we were putting on waterproofs.
More for the wind at this stage as it was a tad chilly.
We cracked on towards the hill, which by now had totally vanished from view.
There were no tracks, although on the map we should find one when we got to the top.
There are therefore not many pictures of this bit
There be dinosaurs in these hills

We separated out slightly, you could hear voices, but TBH over 30m you couldn’t even see who was behind in the mist.
Eventually we got to the start of the track along the top.
It was decided that there was no point doing the extra 100m to find a top with bugger all visibility.
It was also blowing strongly, and we were in wet cloud with some lashings of rain.
We headed along the wide ridge.
On a fine day this would have been excellent vies, and also knocking off Beinn a Bhric and Leum Uilleim would have been a doddle. What happened to yesterday’s weather eh?

The rain continued intermittently as we headed along and then down the other side.
The path gradually becoming less distinct and more boggy.
However, we could see the distant track to Corrour station, and just before there, we met up with Al, Phil, Lynsey and Robin.
We all headed to the Station Inn, where we had parcels waiting and had planned a feed up and beer, before we headed up to the YHA (which we had booked very early to ensure a place).
As we arrived at the station, the army were showing off in a helicopter.
In the wind, impressive flying..

We headed inside, the place was full, although quite a few were catching the train.
Hung wet gear on the chairs and claimed parcels.
We had a cracking meal, the restaurant is brilliant, and the food excellent.
We may have had 3 bottles of beer as well.
They kindly let me leave my rubbish as well 👍😁
Al, Phil and Lynsey bought some wine for tomorrow, as I had sent stuff in my parcel.
The weather was looking better by now, and we all headed up to Loch Ossian YHA, to hopefully get a shower and clean up, and bung our things in a bunk.

The YHA was crowded.
OK, it is convenient and miles from anything really, but just too many people.
Dorms with too many beds and so not enough room to swing a cat.
They really need to take a couple of beds out of each dorm and make a bit of wiggle room.
Anyway, I luckily found a bottom bunk, and enough space to leave pack and some stuff.
This was NOT the place to empty the contents of your pack.
I just took out enough, got cleaned up, and went out to chill and have a chat.
We had eaten, so no need for meals, maybe just a brew and the odd whisky.
As luck would have it, there was a nice chap who offered me a large Talisker
No idea who he was, but a good bloke anyway.
It was a crowded hostel night.
We sat about and chatted, and wandered, and drank whisky, resisting the temptation to drink all the wine the night before the C&W, as we had done a few years before.
Things got slowly charged up, and I eventually went to bed with a potential headache.
I have no idea TBH were all the alcohol came from, but I’ll not argue.
It was to be a restless night in an over cramped dorm with the normal overture of nasal renditions.
Oh well………………………………………………………..
Day 06 – Wed 16th May 2018 – Loch Ossian YHA to the C&W at Ruighe Glass Ruins
Today’s route would take us perilously close to the 60 line (pink)
I was awoken at around 06.00 by the chap opposite who was NOT a challenger but had decided to get up and do all his packing in the dorm, rather than do what any normal intelligent person would do, which was to carry it all into the kitchen and FUCKING PACK IT THERE you arse!!! 🤔😠
So, by 7.00, I was wide bleeding awake, and decided to get up, and do and cook some breakfast, and have a brew, and SORT MY SHIT OUT IN THE KITCHEN.
Captain bleeding noisy was in there with a bunch of aged day walkers.
I made room on the table, taped up the toes (no problems, I just tape them to prevent problems), and made some tea and some porridge stuff I had that I really didn’t need.
Luckily, there was some spare coffee and milk lying about.
So, most of my stuff packed, and everyone up by now, it was time to go and risk the toilet.
So pluses and minuses…
Plus:       It was a sit down toilet, and someone had kindly warmed the seat about 10 min before.
               And I seriously needed a moment of quiet contemplation. No, really I did!
Minus :  Well, this was not a chemical toilet. It was a seat above a pit.
                A pit that was about 8′ deep and at the bottom of which was 
                the accumulated shit and piss and 😫😯… of everyone at the hostel, and not just
                The smell ???? How can I describe that smell ??? 🤔🤔😷😷😨😨
                May you never know…………….

Al had decided to wait until he was up the hill.
I wish I could have waited that long…………………..
So we headed out to meet up with Robin.
Remember Robin from yesterday.
I bet you wondered where he was ??
Robin had walked on to camp at the Corrour Old Lodge (with hindsight, such a wonderful thing, I wish we all had 😦  )
It was back to nice weather, and unlike the last time we were here, they had put an improved track in, which was due to the hydro scheme, so the walk up to Peter’s Rock, and down to the old Lodge, was a bloody joy.
Also, the estate (this is a good estate unlike some we shall mention later), had a policy of making the track blend back in once the hydro scheme was completed. 👍

Now, it was along this bit of track, that I began to get pain in my left foot.
Depending upon the angle it was quite bad.
In fact, I had to walk on one side of the track to stop the pain, because of the curvature of the track.
It was manageable JUST, but still hurt.
I bumbled on until we got to the old lodge to meet up with Robin.

We rested here for a while, got water on board, had a snack, and then it was time to move on over the hill and down to where we had to turn off so we didn’t go below the 60 line.
As we went along, my foot was getting worse, and the pain greater. There had been no sign of this the previous day, I had no idea what was wrong, but I was pretty sure, I couldn’t walk like this for another 9 days.

I ended up walking with Lynsey and Robin at a pace that was actually faster than Al and Phil, but caused me less pain (not no pain), just less.
It wasn’t getting any easier though.
By the time we reached the bridge, well ahead of Al and Phil, my foot was struggling big time.
I decided on a course of action and then see what happened when I set off.
  1. Take shoes and socks off, and soak the foot in the river for 5 min to cool it down.
    It didn’t appear to be swollen, but it hurt like ***K.
    I nearly fell in under the bridge doing this as the rocks were slippery.
  2. Rub some pain killer gel I had into it.
  3. Take some paracetamol.
  4. Strap the foot with some physio tape I had from the side over the arch to try and take some strain off it.
So, all this was done.
Al and Phil arrived and also rested.
Eventually we set off.
The foot still tweaked, and it wasn’t looking good at all.
I was walking ahead with Phil.
Al may have a photo, we nearly walked on over the 60, stopping just in time.
It was time to go off piste.
The others could do the track East, but we had to bog hop to the lochan to not infringe the rules.
Foot was slightly better off the track, but still not good.
I said I was definitely not going over Sron Smeur to take photo of them.
I wasn’t sure I was going much further anyway.

We stopped at the boat house by the loch for lunch.
Boots and socks off again, I burrowed into the rucksack, where I had some Superfeet Carbon inserts (more of these later), and swapped the inov8 ones out.
This was to be the final test.
If things didn’t improve by journey was done.

So, you are thinking.
His feet are in pain for an unknown reason.
Ligaments? Stress fracture?
He is thinking of walking on now into wilderness to test it out?????? 😨🤔
Yep…. When the going gets tough!!! 

Rested, watered, new inserts in, more tape, lunch done, we decided to head round the other side of the loch to the route shown on the map, then cross the stream again and head across by the woods or slightly higher to eventually cross the track west of Meall Liath.
I walked attempting to keep the weight off the side of the left foot.
The inserts, or the tape, or the pain killers appeared to be helping.
I carried on………..
Give UP?????? MOI?????
Al and Phil stopped briefly for matters that jointly required a comfort break.
Lynsey, Robin and I carried on to cross the river on the bridge.
Al and Phil caught up, and taking a bearing as there was no track, we headed up to reach the track, where we stopped for a rest.
I put some tape inside the shoes under the Superfeet, we’ll come back to the reason for this later.
Meaning in a couple of days time.
Then it was up over the 507 point, and down to the other side to find the path through the woods.
I was apparently feeling better.
My foot was seemingly ok (ish), and we were going up hill.
I really like up hill.
So I headed off ahead of the rest, looking back to check.
They appeared to be heading the wrong way, never mind, 
I cracked on up to the top of meal Liath na Doire Mhoir.
NOW, the more observant of you will of course have spotted that this is the wrong bleeding hill.
**Look at the fucking map Walker you arse**
I hit the top, and looked back to see them sitting on top of the 507 point, about 800m away.
Ohhh FFS, Sloman will remember this and give me grief.
OK, I could have turned back 200m sooner when I realised I had been a wanker not a Walker, but by the time I was there, it seemed rude not to go to the top.

I was heading up, and they were heading in the right direction :-O 😀

Back on track on top of the 507 point, and pretty magnificent views all round.
This was turning out to be a mighty route

We dropped down to encounter a high deer fence with no easy way over.
I went over first, and then as people climbed over the wobbly fence by the posts, I took the packs and poles over as Al passed them over.

We headed down, and through the forest, a track that was quite wide, once you found it, but very very wet underfoot in places.
Eventually, we came out to another wobbly high deer fence.

At least this had a ladder of sorts.
I climbed over with pack and poles and then we repeated the passing the packs thing until everyone was across, and we walked down to the Loch and the small dam.

Once over, it was just a matter of following the track out (it seemed to go on forever), until eventually we reached the ruin. We headed down.
There was just the one tent there, which was Craig. Vicky sadly had had a fall, and had withdrawn, but was meeting Craig the following day.
So, we put shelters up, got water.
I broke out a tiny bottle of the final splash of vintage Betty Walker (RIP, my Mum’s) Sloe Gin, and Al and Phil and I had a very small slug. It was a special occasion, I’d kept it until then, it was the final dribble of the 2012 bottle.
Then after a rest, the party plastic was spread out, and we had biscuits and beer and wine and fine cheeses and whisky and stuff.
About 19.30 Paul Southward turned up after having done a very long day, but having bought party stuff with him all that way.
So, that was it, a small party with Al, Phil, Me, Craig, Robin, Lynsey and Paul.
In an idyllic little spot in the middle of Sweet F*** All.
And, my foot appeared to be ok now.
At least enough to crack on over all manner of stuff and hill and bog and…………

Tomorrow would be a slightly shorter day, but a rather wonderful Corbett and some stunning views.
You’ll have to wait!

7 thoughts on “TGOC 2018 – Days 4 to 6 – Mon 14th to Wed 16th – Inchree to the Cheese and Wine

  1. Oh ffs, Andy. You have all this experience and you can't bullshit properly? If you go up the wrong hill you don't tell everyone it was a mistake. You say the planned route was looking a little easy and you needed more of a challenge.

  2. If you go to the USA most of the camp grounds have pit toilets, even with my poor sense of smell I have to hold my breath while using them. But then, as you well know Andy, needs must!

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