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Thursday, 31 May 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 4: Off Map and On Road (3)

Well, it's a long old walk along Loch Arkaig, but eventually the end arrived. I very much wanted to continue to the Eas Chia-aig waterfalls, as I imagined they would be well stocked with water and looking at their most photogenic. However, I knew that it was quicker to cut through Achnacarry, and I was anxious to call Challenge Control and find out whether they had told Kathy (my wife) that they had mislaid me before calling out the mountain rescue people. If they had, then I needed to get a phone call though to her and tell her there was no need to go looking for my life insurance policy just yet. So I turned right across the head of the loch, noting the still-ferocious flow of water under the bride as I did so, and headed for Achnacarry.

Now, at Achnacarry there is a museum. The Clan Cameron museum, to be exact. Which I reached at about 3 o'clock. And - blessing of blessings - there was a telephone box there with a working telephone! It wouldn't accept coins, though - only credit cards - but I had one of them with me, so that was alright. I telephoned Challenge Control, and both John and Roger were keen to speak to me and delighted to find I was OK. The confirmed that Kathy knew they had mislaid me, so I thought I'd better call her as soon as I could. However, I got the feeling that this phone box wouldn't let me call a mobile number, and I didn't know her work telephone number. John also told me he thought the police only needed to speak to me, rather than actually have me visit in person (whereas the mountain rescue people had been pretty adamant that they would need to see me in person to close their case). Well, John had a telephone number for the Fort William police station (or "Fort Bill Old Bill", as I noted on my piece of paper as I wrote it down) so after ringing off from Challenge Control I gave them a call. The police had loads of paperwork to fill in and it took us a little while, but once we were done they confirmed there was no need for me to call in in person, so that was fine.

Now, I was getting pretty thirsty, and the museum had a refreshment room. I hoped they might be able to sell me a can of Irn Bru ... and I hoped they might also have a telephone they'd let me use to call Kathy. Well, the only drinks they were selling were bottles of water, and I decided to pass on that. But they DID have a telephone. They said that they weren't supposed to use it to phone mobiles ... but in the circumstances, they could see it was a bit of an exceptional case. So they allowed me to use it to call Kathy, and I assured her I was fine and well and that there were no problems. She said that John had been very reassuring and had told her he expected I was fine and that I had probably just had to go to ground somewhere because of the storm. The police, she said, had tried to reassure her, but had been telling her that the winds had been strong enough to blow articulated lorries over onto their sides, and that in the circumstances she hadn't actually found this all that reassuring!

Well, anyway, I didn't want to be on the borrowed phone for too long, so I promised to give Kathy another call as soon as I had mobile signal (which I was sure I should have fairly soon) and then I rang off. I gave the museum some money for the call, and then I headed for the shores of Loch Lochy.

1 comment:

  1. There was one day on this year's Challenge when I didn't think I would be able to phone in. I found it made me quite worried, even though I was perfectly OK and there was nothing to worry about. Eventually, in the middle of nowhere, I got a mobile signal and was able to call Control - and it was a huge weight off my shoulders. It's quite a responsibility knowing that people are looking out for you!