Saturday, 25 June 2011
The 2011 Challenge, day 6: Melgarve to Newtonmore (1)
This was the day when I opted out of even my Foul Weather Alternative. There were various reasons for this, and I'll try to explain them as best I can.
The route shown on my route card for this day was to follow the road to Garva Bridge, then foollow the track up the Feith Talagain, ascend Geal Charn, do a bit of ridge walking in the Southern Monadhliath, and then drop down to make a wild camp on the shores of Loch Dubh. Or, alternatively, if the weather wasn't up to that, my FWA was to follow the road past Laggan to Cluny Castle, then follow the track North to the bothy in Glen Banchor. Either way, day 7 would then be a short day into Kingussie, where my second resupply parcel was waiting for me.
BUT, I was concerned for Nicole. I had persuaded her to stop 6 km short of Garva Bridge, where she had planned to camp for the night (I'd told her it was 5 ... but on looking at my map it measures up at 6) and she now had a very long day into Newtonmore ahead of her. I wanted to keep an eye out for her and be sure that she was OK.
Also, my own toes were not looking all that great. The soles of me feet were just fine, no blisters or anything to worry about. But the tops of my toes were a different matter. They were red and angry and itchy, and I wanted to give them a day with nothing rubbing against the top of my foot at the front if I possibly could. A day of road walking - spent entirely in my Teva sandals - would be ideal. And a day spent walking to Newtonmore with Nicole would be just that.
In any event, it was clear that the weather wasn't up to going high, so I should be going via Laggan in any event. I would keep an open mind to begin with - the decision didn't need to be taken until Cluny Castle - but I was getting it into my head that the day would end at Newtonmore, and once that sort of an idea has taken hold it's very difficult to displace it!
I took my time getting started in the morning, and Nicole had left some time before me (this, in itself, was something of a first - as she says she is always the last to set out!). So as I started out along the road to Garva Bridge (pictured) I had it all to myself.