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Saturday, 2 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 6: Through the Lairig Leacach (4)

I had, in fact, taken a jolly good squint at the Allt a' Chuil Choirean before sitting down in the bothy for lunch ... and my conclusion was that it was definitely fordable, but that it would have to be a "trousers off" crossing. So after lunch I took off my boots and socks, tied them together and hung them around my neck. I took my trousers off and tucked them under my rucksack flap where my sandals usually live, and I put my sandals on. Then I hefted my rucksack, but didn't fasten any of the straps, and headed out to the ford.

What can I say about the river crossing? It was cold, and it was a little above my knees at its deepest. It was cold, and the flow was strong enough that I really did need to adopt the "face upstream and shuffle sideways" crossing technique. Oh yes ... and did I mention that it was cold?

Arriving at the other side, I was ever so please to be able to change back into my trousers and put on warm socks and dry boots. And then I began the damp, boggy, slithery descent of the Allt na Lairige. The ground was very soggy, and I was sure glad I'd put all that wax on my boots before setting off, for my feet stayed wonderfully dry. But I was anxious about what I'd find when I got down to Creaguaineach Lodge; and anxiety really isn't good for me. I soon had repeated sharp stabbing pains in my stomach, which really weren't helping one little bit. But that, I am afraid, is what anxiety does to me.

Unlike the first time I had come this way in 2000, I didn't feel the least inclination to climb Creag Ghuanach "because it's there". I stayed down by the river, and was I have to say overjoyed when I saw that the footbridge over the Easan Dubh at grid reference 308693 had "Danger! Keep off!" signs plastered all over it. Perhaps THIS was the bridge which the entry in the bothy book had been referring to ... and perhaps my bridge over the Abhainn Rath was still in good order!

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