Sunday, 3 July 2011
The 2011 Challenge, day 10: Tomintoul to Suie (6)
My route card said that I was going to continue on the track up the glen, fork right to Blackwater Lodge, cross the Blackwater on the bridge there and find somewhere to pitch my tent. But the weather really didn't make wild camping seem like an attractive option, and the following day was a short day (made necessary by the paucity of places which appeared - from the map - to be suitable for wild camping) so if I didn't do the full distance today I could easily make it up tomorrow.
So I decided that I should stay the night right here at Suie bothy. There was plenty of firewood, so I got a nice fire burning to make the place nice and toasty. I looked for a bothy book, but couldn't find one. There was a notice on the wall giving the grid reference of the bothy, but I reckoned that they had got this wrong and given the reference of one of the other buildings in the Suie area instead. So I fetched out my GPS, which confirmed my reading of the map, and I wrote a little comment on the notice suggesting the correct grid reference.
There was enough mobile reception here to send a text, so I texted Challenge Control to let them know that I was holing up for the night at Suie bothy. Then I went through my gear and hung all my wet waterproofs to dry, and placed my shoes where they might benefit from the heat of the fire.
After supper I settled down on the sofa in my sleeping bag. It was only about 7, but I felt just about all in and in need of a good restorative sleep. I watched the fire until it had burned right down, and then turned over and was asleep in next to no time. I had half expected some companions for the night, but I had the bothy to myself. As I drifted off to sleep I listened to the wind howling outside, and was glad that I was not under canvas.
You need to be flexible over your route on the Challenge ... and to sieze whatever opportunities present themselves to save yourself from the worst of the weather.