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Saturday, 2 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 7: On to Kinloch Rannoch (1)

Friday 18 May. After massive deviations, I was now back on my planned route ... albeit 24 hours behind schedule. If I followed my route card today, then I would go from Loch Ossian to Peter's Rock, up Carn Dearg, through Mam Ban to Sgor Gaibhre, south along the ridge to Meall na Meoig, then descend south east, cross the Allt Coire a Ghuibhlas and take the track south to the road. I would then turn east on the road for 3km before heading up to a wild camp in the woods, ready for the next day's "splendidly obscure traverse" to Trinafour and Glen Erochty (that's my route vetter's description of the route on my card, not mine!) However, it had snowed in the night, and looking north from my camp to Beinn na Lap, the snow line was down to about 600 metres. Not the weather to be heading up into the Munros (of which I had two on my card for the day, and a Corbett!). So I decided that I should have to follow my Foul Weather Alternative, which involved following the path from Peter's Rock past Corrour Old Lodge to join the road by Loch Eigheach, and then rather more road walking than I had originally envisaged. Ah well: it's just one of those things that has to be done!

I made my way back round to the Youth Hostel, used the toilets (which, fortunately, aren't in the main building ... and are rather better than the ones I remember from 12 years ago!), bought myself some bottled water from the warden, mixed up some of my powdered goats' milk and had some cereal for breakfast. While I was eating it, the school party which was blocking out the hostel beds came out and began preparing for their day on the hills, and I got chatting to one of the lads. It seems they're taking part in something called "The Munro Project", which aims to put a party of school children onto the summit of every Munro across the course of the week. They'd already done 8 in the time they'd been there, and were aiming to add another three today. I wondered as to the educational value of this exercise ... and indeed, as I looked up at the snow-covered tops and reflected on the fact that I wasn't prepared to go up into the Munros today, I wondered as to its wisdom. I looked around the assorted children of the school party. Summer gear only. No winter boots. No crampons. No ice axes. "Make sure you've got an extra warm layer," said the teacher in charge. And then they were gone.

I didn't really feel like another wild camp tonight, and i toyed briefly with the idea of slowing down my progress to take advantage of the wonderful hospitality at the Bridge of Gaur guest House. It could be done. Bridge of Gaur tonight, Kinloch Rannoch tomorrow; Struan the following night and two days late. Regain one of those days by going through Glen Tilt, so only a day behind at Braemar. Then use the Deeside Way to reclaim that final day, finishing on Friday at somewhere like Stonehaven. Yes, it could definitely be done ...

I asked the warden if she had the telephone number of the Bridge of Gaur Guest House. She hadn't. SO I asked if I could use her telephone to ring Challenge Control, and asked them for the number. They quickly found it for me ... but when I rang, it went straight through to answerphone. Oh well ... another wild camp for me tonight then. Maybe. I thanked the warden, gave her something for the telephone calls, and headed up towards Peter's Rock.


  1. Do the toilets still have a notice on the inside of the doors saying "Please pi** on the grass"?
    Your vetter was correct and you did miss a stunning day on the hills which you really must include in a future Challenge.

  2. Oh I intend to, Peter. I certainly intend to ...