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

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Day-12 surpassed ourselves!

Waking in our wild camp it seems we've used the local dog walking woods! Happily clean woods!
Moving we enter the loose collection of homes called Dunmore with a few hellos as we go.. Always nice that!,  the twisting road carries us as we plod tiredly this morning, down eventually to a renovated chapel that is now the Kilmorack gallery we didn't enter but had look at a very tactile looking sea otter statue and a huge lizard fixed to the side of the building!
Passing over a bridge there's another hydro electric dam that blocks the river Beauly,onwards we plod slowly up and over a gentle hill really not on form this morning! This pleasant little road takes us to Hughton were we take a cheeky use of the bench in bus shelter for a quick break and jelly baby sugar fix!
This seems to help as we follow a very level road along the valley heading upstream with the Beauly river on our right, making a lot better time now we eventually stop for lunch with a view to the grave in the image! And there was me thinking Bambi was a cartoon character ;-)
Keeping level the path finally meets up with my planned route again at the beginning of Strath (valley?)Glass now this valley/Strath is really beautiful! And the road still so very level! With Mountains either side and gentle pasture on the valley floor with the river meandering along  its idyllic by 4.30 we'd reached my estimated end of day and decided to push on, by quarter to six we'd reached Cannich.... Which miraculously is the planned end of day! Not sure how we made all that distance up after yesterday's diversion but we have, that little dog rocks!!!

Day-11 Road blocks!

My A really nice night in the hotel with all the mod cons was great! everything is packed away and dry again and Bertha is finally going on her way!
One downside to hotel living is you never get away early so with a full stomach I head out at 9.30 with an hour and a half to make up, out of the pretty village of garve and into the woods again, first stop was to pick up a food and fuel cache that I'd hidden on the drive north, timing of this was perfect with my fuel for the stove low and down to one more use!
The trail takes us along the north east bank of Loch garve where the track is on a steep wooded hillside, Bertha had one last surprise for us (see pic) where her flood water had washed away the the track! After a few tentative checks of the depth and with dog under one arm and my walking pole for balance.we wade out, the strong flowing water made finding a footing treacherous, since the road surface was washed away and we were stumbling across hidden boulders, but make it across we did with boots full of water!
A familiar feeling squelching off again but the going underfoot was now easy, the track took us under a railway line and over a hill still in silver Birch woods towards Strathpeffer, a tiny loch just before town had a crannog in the middle (man made island!) not sure if I've seen one before? Still it was lunch and my stomach was calling again, and finding a reasonably priced steak baguette was just the job!
With provisions bought we headed back out of town the way we'd come to a hamlet called James town where passing a ruined church we find that the path marked on the map no longer exists! @#(§!!!!!!!
Finding a road route puts us further behind but gets us back on track and over the Moy bridge that crosses the river swollen river Conon.
Up into the woods and passed a comical robot letter box decked out in the pro independence 'yes campaign' stickers and flag (pic will follow). On to Aultgowrie and quick check of the river Allt Goibhre proves my suspicions of a further road block ahead to be very likely (we need to cross this river in the hills!).
So route change was in order taking us off the map and east towards conon bridge, turning south a few miles before town we aim for another 'path' that barely exists! (so many whinges could be put here!) onwards and around a hill with views of the Beuly firth and distant Inverness and the Kessock bridge we eventually find a pitch in woods for the night.
Though we now have about five extra miles to go and playing catch up with the plan will be a long term game.