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..
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..
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 even more|
Just Ground carnage 😦
|Looking at Blackwater Reservoir|
|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?
|Today’s route would take us perilously close to the 60 line (pink)|
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.
Rub some pain killer gel I had into it.
Take some paracetamol.
Strap the foot with some physio tape I had from the side over the arch to try and take some strain off it.
Al and Phil arrived and also rested.
Eventually we set off.
The foot still tweaked, and it wasn’t looking good at all.
Al may have a photo, we nearly walked on over the 60, stopping just in time.
|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!