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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The 2013 Challenge, day 5: The Braes o' Lochaber (1)

There was a fresh snowfall overnight, and in the morning the snow lay on the Nevis range down to about 400 metres. My decision to stay low was certainly looking like the correct one!

After breakfast, I took a long, hard look at my feet. Four days' walking was taking its toll - but nothing like the damage they suffered in 2009. There were the beginnings of blisters on my toes and my left instep, which I dressed with compeeds; and there was an abrasion on my left big toe which I dressed with a plaster. But that was all. I decided to walk without my orthotics today, in order to change the pressure points (a useful tip picked up from Chris Townsend in 2009; although he spoke in terms of the removal of footbeds rather than orthotics - but the principle is the same). I then packed my rucksack, paid my bill, and headed out into the rain; for it was raining again!

I walked past the Commando Memorial (pictured), pausing to pay my respects, and then headed down into Spean Bridge. At about 10 o'clock, on the main road in Spean Bridge, I met a first time Challenger carrying an ice axe. This was the first time I had ever seen anyone carrying this piece of equipment on the Challenge; and very necessary for anybody intending to go high in the West Highlands this year! We spoke briefly, and he told me that two of the retirements had had to be helicoptered out with medical conditions. I thought of my own medical issues of a couple of days previously, and was relieved that my symptoms had resolved themselves spontaneously.

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