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Monday, 26 May 2014

The 2014 Challenge, day 2: Loch Aline and Gleann Dubh (3)

The track up the River Aline meets the A884 at Claggan, and I stopped here to take a glug. There was a young lady hammering a post into the ground on the opposite side of the road, so I greeted her and we exchanged pleasantries. I told her about the Challenge and my plan to camp the night in upper Gleann Dubh; and she warned me that the glen was prone to be soggy and full of midges. It transpired that the local primary school had a ten mile sponsored walk taking place the following day, and that she was putting out route markers. The one she was fixing to the stake I had seen her hammering into the ground was a warning to take care at the road crossing (although I must say that there was very little traffic on the road to take care of). It was getting blown about a bit by the wind, and we both doubted whether it would survive until the morning; so I gathered some rocks from a nearby construction spoil pile, and built a little cairn behind it to shelter it from the wind. Then I hefted my pack again, and headed North up the road for a kilometer or so to the Acharn Bridge.

While I was admiring the views at the Acharn Bridge, a gentleman in a rather marvelous little piece of kit called a John Deere Gator drove up, and we got talking. He offered me a lift up the glen as far as Crosben cottage, which I naturally declined. I told him about the Challenge, and my plans to camp in Gleann Dubh. He told me that it was not the greatest of places to camp, on account of the midges; but he said that I was welcome to stay the night at Crosben cottage if I wished. I said I wasn't sure - it was a good 5 kilometres short of my planned overnight stop, and I had a long enough day the following day as it was. He said he'd leave it unlocked, and I could make up my mind when I got there. Then he drove off up the track, and after taking a quick glug I followed on foot.

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