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Saturday, 31 May 2014

The 2014 Challenge, day 2: Loch Aline and Gleann Dubh (5)

When I reached Crosben cottage, the gentleman I had met - whose name was Iain Thornber - was waiting to guide me across the exceedingly rickety bridge over the burn which flows down from the Coire nan Capull. I did not actually need to be told to make sure I trod on the boards directly over the central timber; but I was glad for the clear evidence that somebody else had crossed the bridge safely before me!

Once I was safely over the bridge, Mr Thornber showed me into the cottage, where he had already lit the stove in the sitting room. I took off my waterproofs, and we sat and talked a while. Mr Thornber told me of the Hollick family - the last people who had lived at the cottage - and how he had helped them move in and had often dined with them. He came by from time to time to check that it was still secure, but he doubted they would ever be back and in due course the estate would probably come and clear everything else. He told me to feel free to use anything that was there; but I didn't feel comfortable doing that. I burned some wood from the wood store, but that was all. Although invited to use the gas stove in the kitchen, I actually used my own MSR petrol stove to heat my supper.

After a while, Mr Thornber had to leave to attend to other matters, and I was left on my own in the cottage. I had a good look around. There were three bedrooms upstairs, with bed frames but no mattresses on them. There were a couple of ancient mattresses in one of the rooms, but I did not like the look of them as they had been standing rolled up in a damp, neglected cottage for a while. There were, however, a couple of sheets of foam rubber which were bed length, and I put both of these onto the bed frame in the smallest of the bedrooms and it made a very acceptable bed on which to lay out my sleeping bag.

The cottage had been relatively tidy downstairs; but on the stairs themselves and upstairs there was fallen plaster everywhere. I tried to sweep some of it up, but made little impression and stirred up a lot of dust. In the end, I settled for just sweeping the floor of the room I was going to sleep in, and expelling the sweepings out onto the landing.

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