Walking 1004.9 miles from John O'Groats to Lands end in aid of Accommodation Concern! (starts august 3rd 2014)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Day-14 cheers Balfour Beatty!

After a long rainy night I get lucky while packing with a break in the rain! Away along the old military road to Allt Phocaichain (a stream) for the first of today's obstructions! Naturally overflowing with rain water I go through the now familiar process of beating my phobia of crossing fast running water by tentatively paddling across and filling my boots, as ever! Sloshing off over the top of the hill via the power line construction road passing all the usual no access signs! Tough I'm going this way!. Leaving the road to continue on the old military road into fort Augustus tiny town heaving with trekkers going this way and that.. All looking wet!, entering the first cafe I see I order a full breakfast... So needed today!
Then stocking up on provisions to keep me going for three day's making my pack bleeding heavy but that's unavoidable.
The trail for the Corrie Yairack pass is nicely marked, so uphill I go... Naturally in the rain, it's a long old slog up the first hill on a twisting and undulating track, feeling the weight of both my pack and my breakfast at this point! After a few kilometers I find Blackburn bothy right next to another overflowing stream that's about a foot deep in the track... Soggy feet once again!
The track continues past the fork in the valley to Glen Tarff and into the luxury of a bridge over the raging torrents of Allt Coire Uchdachan, the road now pushes steeply uphill for about 3km passing an old battered bothy where I rung my socks out, feet warmer now I continue up the hill still following the power line construction track though that now lies below me, into the clouds and the top foggily shows itself. This is the highest point on the trek and according to my gps tops out at 2700 feet (pic).
Finally downhill into the Corrie that gives the pass it's name, a great scoop of a valley, but that just means trouble in these conditions and so it proved with no end of streams /river's forging across the path, all sort of passable though occasionally risky.
With the corrie disappearing in the distance my path levels out as we head into the valley, then big trouble strikes, the Ford on the map is huge! No way I can cross this and the ruin of an ancient bridge to my right just rubs salt in the wound! Thinking about my surroundings the works on the power line bring an obvious solution to my trouble with the works track that's up the hill from me, bit of a scramble to reach it but the bridge over the torrent makes my day! Hence the title of this blog - it's also a bit of an apology to Balfour for all the ranting I've been doing about their health and safety signs doting the hillside today ;-)
Back downhill and on track we reach a little of nirvana in the shape of the Melgarve bothy. Tonight I'm sleeping on a warm albeit manky sofa in my toasty sleeping bag! Result.... Also my kit is hanging up and drying out.... Couldn't ask for more after today :-)

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