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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The 2013 Challenge: Kingussie Interlude

I arrived at the station just in time ... to hear that my train was running 20 minutes late! This reduced my turnaround time in Inverness to less than half an hour, and if there were any further delays then I could easily find myself with insifficient shopping time to attend to all my equipment needs. However, I knew there were outdoor shops in Kingussie too, and the fare would be cheaper. So I decided that I should try to do all my shopping in Kingussie.

While waiting for the train, I got talking with another Challenger who was waiting for a train South. He was retiring as he said he had been suffering from dysentery and could not continue. On hearing that I was in need of a replacement pair of waterproof trousers, he kindly offered to lend me his as he would not be needing them again for some time. However, as I am sure you can imagine, I was not particularly anxious to borrow the trousers of a man who said he had been suffering from dysentery; so I thanked him, but declined his offer.

My train duly arrived, and whisked me swiftly to Kingussie where I was able to get some replacement waterproof trousers, and the boot laces and dubbin I needed. I met one or two Challengers, although not many. And then I caught my train back to Dalwhinnie.

Back in Dalwhinnie I took stock of my situation. I was half way across. My feet were in good shape. My medical symptoms had resolved themselves. My kit was dry and in good order. I had my resupply parcel. My shoulder was still troubling me, but I was able to walk and to carry my rucksack nonetheless. There was no reason why I should not expect to finish. However, according to my route card I was supposed to have been up 7 Munros this crossing, and so far I had managed none. This was getting to be something of a habit with me ... and it was a habit I wanted to break! My route card had one Munro on it for day 8 (Carn na Caim) and two more for day 9 (Carn Ealar and An Sgarsoch) and I was determined to get up there if I possibly could.

I made my scheduled call to Challenge Control, and asked if they had any weather for the next couple of days. They said that their forecast was for good weather on Friday (day 8), but pretty grim for Saturday (day 9). I therefore determined to go high on Friday in accordance with my planned route, but it was looking as though I should have to follow my FWA on Saturday (day 9). This was essentially the route I had taken on my first Challenge, linking glens Feshie and Geldie ... only now the Memorial Bridge was down, which woudl probably mean taking something of a detour to Stonetroper.

The television weather forecast that evening suggested that we might get some decent weather on Saturday as well ... but I suspected that the MWIS forecast which Challenge Control relied upon was probably going to prove the more reliable of the two.

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