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

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Day-17 fed and flying!

After yesterday's big feed up and rest I'm back to myself, though caution plays a big role at the start of today, so slowly I start walking out of the campsite and over a bridge that looked faintly nordic, then onto the main trail south and slightly west through Rannoch forest.
Following a ravine carved into the hill by Allt na Bogair (stream) uphill with steep drops into this impressive feature, made all the more so by the still constant rain and churning waters below.
Once out of the pleasant damp woods I'm walking amongst smoothly rounded hills etherically draped with wispy clouds and of course sheets of rain! This limits the view no end but I'm used to that here! Over the top of Lairig Ghallabhaich which with this title I assume this to be an old drove road which leads me down through more forestry commission wood's to Innerwick where I stop in the church porch to change maps without getting them soggy, glad I did as they proudly show off a bell here that's reputed to be 1200 years old, it certainly looks it.
With the weather improving I make a very welcome and unexpected find the Glenlyon post office and tea room!, hot tea and carrot cake on the solidly built wooden veranda was quickly shared with around ten cheeky chaffinches! A very amusing bunch!.
The weather holds on the way south up and out of the Glen all 7km of ascent on a steep smooth tarmac single track road (Alfie would have approved!) pretty waterfalls that I'd normally enjoy to my right and traffic coming from front and back, at one point a car pulls up next to me for a chat, heads of ten yards, stops then the driver gets out to give me some shortbread biscuits! Very nice :-)
Passing the shielings (livestock pens now no longer in evidence) that my original plan had been to stop at I head east with black clouds gathering over the rugged mountain ridges around me. Naturally and to form this meant more precipitation, straight down and heavy! Hey Ho!
With the road going south past lochan na Lairage with its forbidding dam looking like a grim granite castle, another car pulls over offering me a lift! Politely declined they gave me food instead!.... I must be looking really needy today!
With the dam receding in the distance and a stunning albeit cloudy mass of mountains ahead none of which I can name! I start the long decent into the valley of Loch Tay still getting rained on of course, passing a shepherd in just a fleece jacket I realise damp is the natural state for anyone in the hills hereabouts. I may be going local. The road along loch Tay is uneventful leading me to  High Creagan campsite charging £5 for the night and giving me a good finish time in fresh sunshine allowing me to dry last nights damp from the tent. Another great day! (quote JP)

Weds 20th the wall

Woke up tired, never a good start, but off I went, into Kinloch Rannoch to the shop, food for a day and a half purchased and a coffee for a boost.
Plodding out of town with loch Rannoch in all its beauty on my right I'm sitting back and enjoying the view, pace is at best ok. By ten I'd only clocked up three miles and I was exhausted. Looking at the food in my pack and the distance to walk at the pace I'm managing, well to say the least the numbers didn't add up!
So swallowing my pride and swearing at everything, while knowing I'm doing the right thing I turned around back to Kinloch Rannoch.
Which is where I am now making use of the WiFi in a cafe while eating a huge jacket spud with chilli the start of rebuilding my energy.
Point to note mobile coverage for O2 here is non existent and it seems that the WiFi in the cafe works along similar lines...... :-/
You know I said I'm stubborn? Well after getting in more provisions I wandered off again not to far I know I've got to rest, but far enough to know I won't be walking any track tomorrow that I'd walked today.
Had to get a positive start tomorrow ;-)

Day-16 sunshine again! Tues 19th

My first glance out of the tent was to a pure blue patch of sky! Think that was the only patch of blue as by the time I'd packed away the familiar grey was back!
Still the road goes on, and with a quick cup of garage coffee I march off south along the A9, this section has a good cycle track so no need for traffic dodging, just let the feet do  what they must and enjoy the view of the Drumochter pass, with its interestingly named mountains, Boar of Badenoch and The sow of Atholl amongst others!
Shortly before Dalnaspidal lodge I see more Balfour men at work using heavy machinery to break up the old pylons that I've seen laying in fields like old dinosaur skeletons since Strathpeffer. Turning south west at the lodge towards loch Garry I meet an old chap off fly fishing who donated £5 to the charity! and with this good fortune sunshine is also finally with me, and such timing! With sunlight twinkling on the loch it's a balm for my rain battered self! The loch is only about 4km long and about half way is building with plaque proclaiming the construction of the Garry tunnel....? Some research is required for this one as no tunnel is visible.
Passing a small waterfall, which in any other walk I'd have taken interest in, but I'm about done with cascading water for a bit! ;-). The track stops here and for once the black dotted line on the map corresponds with a visible path past Meall Doire, over a stream and a good track between two hills leads me through a herd of highland cattle and calf's, downhill the track splits with me heading south east as a heavy squall hits, quickly passing I met a game warden just off to pick up two fresh kills, at this point midges reappear after not being a problem since before Garve! That was a great break from them, but this is the Highlands and your never going to avoid them for long!.
Downhill and into tarmac I'm heading east to Kinloch Rannoch and upon the advice of the game warden the Mcdonald hotel... Extremely nice hotel just a bit out of my price range at £120 for the night! Still they did let me pitch at their marina.... Bit high class here innit! (mum!).
And that's where I'm writing this with a stunning view east along the loch towards the sharp peak of Schehallion, last seen on my trek north in 2010.