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Thursday, 23 June 2011

The 2011 Challenge, day 4: Tomdoun to Laggan (6)

The forestry track is easy walking, and I changed out of my sodden shoes and into my sandals. Just before Kilfinnan I joined the Great Glen Way; then followed the road down to Laggan Locks. I crossed the lock gates and turned left onto the main road for the final kilometre to the Great Glen hostel. This was once a SYHA hostel, but a few years ago when they were "rationalising the estate" some numpty decided to sell it off. Fortunately it was snapped up by a private hostel operator, and continues to offer welcome accommodation to weary travellers.

The drying room was pretty full, but I found a few odd corners to hang up my wet gear; and the tent went out to the tent drying area in one of the sheds. Then I set about supper. I had collected my first resupply parcel of the crossing on signing in, and so I selected the best out of what I had provided to prepare myself a really enjoyable three courses ("Look What We Found" wild mushroom soup; "Look What We Found" rose veal stroganof; and dehydrated apple and custard. All accompanied by two cans of Irn Bru which I'd bought at the hostel shop, and of which for some reason I always have a great yearning when I'm walking in Scotland.)

The hostel was well stocked with Challengers, including Mike and Marion Parsons, the Italians (Biagio Pellegrini and Pierro Saibene), and a German first-time Challenger from Inverness called Nicole. Mike was in a bad way, suffering with some utterly unpronounceable condition which was clearly very painful. He wasn't sure if he could carry on, but said he'd sleep on it and take a view in the morning.

Several Challengers headed off to the pub on the barge at the locks. But after the previous night's heavy drinking, I decided that tonight I should just crawl into bed and have an early night. After all, the next morning I had to climb up and out of the Great Glen. I reckoned I was going to need a clear head for that!

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