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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Some unfinished business (2)

Now, I found Lochan Fada alright; and I headed South along its Western shore. Now, this is easier said than done, because it is actually very steep sided (that contour line that loops around it on the map is there for a reason!). When I got to its Southern end, however, something felt wrong. In fact, something felt VERY wrong! On the map, immediately to the South of Lochan Fada there is a single ring contour. In the ordinary course of things, you expect this to be a little, rounded hillock. It might in theory be anything up to 19 metres high. But you're not expecting fireworks. However, what I saw on the ground was an enormous, sheer-sided rocky tower which I reckoned had to be at least 50 metres high; and possibly 70 or 80. No way was it a mere 19 metres or less. No way! And so I began to wonder ... how recently was this bit of the map last surveyed? Have they been unable to do a stereoscopic aerial survey, because every time they've tried to fly over it there's been cloud in the way? Is it possible that the contour details around here has just been carried forward from older editions of the map? And it is possible that the only surveyors who came up here were in a bit of a hurry to get away from the midges, and weren't too bothered if it wasn't too accurate because nobody ever came up here (or at least, nobody who needed a map) so who was going to know anyway?

With that thought, I continued Southwards to try to pick up the path again. I overshot without seeing it, and then used the GPS to try to put me back on course. And again, I was seeing features which didn't seem to be the features that were drawn on the map. Some time, perhaps, I shall go back up in fair weather (if I can get any) and really try to resolve the question of where the map is accurate, and where it is not. On this occasion, though, the weather wasn't all that hot, and I had other unfinished business to attend to. So once I located the path I followed it. It came and went; but whenever I lost it, I used the GPS to help me get back on track. It is very well defined as it passes south of Lochan a' Bhealaich. Then where it crosses the Borrowdale Burn and turns right, I turned left.

The upper reaches of the Borrowdale Burn (pictured) soon led my up to Loch a' Choire Riabhaich. This was where I had intended to camp on the first night of my Challenge; and it was indeed big enough that there really was no mistaking it. But today i wanted to get further - ideally, I wanted to get to the Allt a Bhlair Dheirg and camp beside its upper reaches, before dropping down to Rifern and Meoble.

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