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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 2: All Dressed Up And No Place To Go (2)

By 2pm I was back at Oban bothy. I made a further entry in the bothy book, recording my inability to get through to Glen Pean and my intention to return to Meoble if the river Taodhail remained fordable. I figured that if I got to Meoble tonight then on Monday I could return to the road and reach Glenfinnan (from where I ought to be able to telephone Challenge control - albeit a whole day late) and then on Tuesday I should be able to get myself to either Spean Bridge or Fort William, even if it meant walking on the roads the whole way. That would enable me to make the sleeper - albeit there may be an excess fare to pay - and I'd worry about its consequences for my route after the Union AGM. So I left a note in the bothy book recording that this was what I was now going to attempt, and I wrote a note on the back of my Cona Glen map sheet (as I use A3 photocopied maps during the crossing) which I could stick through the letterbox at the Meoble farmhouse if nobody answered when I knocked. I have it here beside me as I write this entry. It reads:

Hello. Nobody was at home when I called, so I have taken shelter in your tractor shed. If you find this note on 13 May then you will find me in the tractor shed. If not then I shall have set off back to Lochailort. If you are able to offer me a bed for the night then this would be very much appreciated; but even more important, I should appreciate the chance to use a telephone if you have one which works from here, as I have no mobile signal. I have been unable to follow my intended route due to the state of the watercourses, and the TGO Challenge organisers are expecting me to call them from Corran tonight. If I do not manage to alert them to my safety and whereabouts, then they may initiate a Mountain Rescue search which is (a) unnecessary and (b) in altogether the wrong place. We need to try to prevent this if we possibly can. Kind regards, Jeremy Burrows

By 3 o'clock, however, as I approached the Taodhail River, it began to look pretty obvious that I was not going to be using this note after all, as the river was unlikely to be fordable.

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