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Friday, 1 January 2010

The 2000 Challenge, Day 7: Dalwhinnie to .... Somewhere

This is a remarkable day. Some of it is wonderfully clear in my memory; but some of it is just a complete blur. I set out from Dalwhinnie and followed the aqueduct up beside the Alt Cuaich, passed Loch Cuaich and followed the all-too-obvious path up the south east shoulder of Meall Chuaich (it's a Munro, so you can be sure there will be a path up any obvious ascent route even if the map says there isn't). A fine but exposed top encouraged me not to linger, and as I descended carefully through the north-facing snow field on the upper slopes, I put up a mountain hare which fled down the hill ahead of me. That, I have to say, is one of the clearest memories I have of this crossing. It was a rather magical moment.

By contrast, I have no recollection whatever of the next few kilometres. I must have descended to Bhran Cott, crossed the Tromie and turned right, then taken the path up the Allt Bhran and made camp somewhere near the woods north of Allt na Cuilce. I remember my route vetter suggesting this as an alternative to my original suggestion, which was to cross Gaick Forest and make the punishing descent to Gaick Lodge, before turning north. But I have no actual recollection of anything between the arctic hare and the ridge walk on day 8.

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