Saturday, 25 June 2011
The 2011 Challenge, day 5: Laggan to Melgarve (7)
After walking for a while, we came to a path which left the main track to the left; and, taking it for the path to Luib Chonnal bothy (but without taking a bearing to confirm this impression) we followed it.
Perhaps if we'd looked more closely at the map, we'd have noticed that there is a little path which cuts up through the parallel roads to the Allt Chonnal ... and this, I take it, is the path we followed. We could soon see the Bothy (to delighted whoops of "Botty! Botty!" from the Italians), but it was clear that the path wasn't takign us there. However, it was realtively easy to follow the form line round and then drop down to the bothy from the North West (as shown in the photograph) and I think it is probably as well that we did, because this kept us on the high ground and out of the boggy lowland.
We stopped for a while at Luib-chonnal bothy. I had a drink and shared some of my trail mix (dried apple, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, raisins and pine kernels) with the Italians. They brewed some coffee. Before we left, I spent ten minutes or so with the axe, splitting logs and taking the split firewood upstairs. I hope the next people to overnight appreciated my efforts.
As we left the bothy, the Italians spotted a figure in a green waterproof picking her way through the low lying bog where the correct path. They surmised - correctly - that it was Nicole; and when she reached us, she told us how miserable a time she had had crossing that bog! So maybe we did better, after all, by veering off on the wrong path!
I had concluded that the next section of the path, to Shesgnan, was going to be too wet for walking in sandals, so had reverted to my approach shoes. They were still sodden, of course, but I find that when wearign good quality wollen socks (such as the Tekos I was wearing) it is not the end of the world to put a wet shoe on a dry foot.
We decided to wait a while longer, to let Nicole catch her breath a bit, and then walk in company with her. So while she rested, I took a good look at the Allt Chonnal and the way across. I concluded that there WAS a viable rock-hopping route that would get you all the way across with dry feet, and when Nicole was ready I led the way. And I'm glad to say that soon all four of us were safely across, and that nobody had slipped off the rocks and into the water.