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Sunday, 8 June 2014

The 2014 Challenge, day 12: Lochcallater Lodge to Glen Clova Hotel (13)

I rounded a corner and found two other Challengers sitting on the grass, enjoying a break. These were Vic and Nic Slawski, whom I had met and chatted to in Braemar (and possibly Dalwhinnie as well ... I cannot clearly recall) but did not mention in my notes at the time; however, they are mentioned in my notes at this point because we talked some more, and it emerged that they really are quite remarkable. They were on their eighth and seventh crossings respectively; but their seventh and sixth crossings had been made - get this! - twenty five years previously, in 1989!!! They had been on the 2013 Challenge as well, but had had to retire from that one. This year, however, they were looking good.

Vic and Nic urged me to hurry on past them as they would only slow me down, they said; but remembering Glen Feshie, I insisted that I did not mind being slowed down in the least. They, too, were heading down to Glen Clova Hotel; so I let them set the pace and tagged along behind.

We reached the foot of Jock's Road, and we followed the track to Acharn (where there is no longer either a youth hostel, or a camp site, or a public convenience, whatever the map may say), and then trudged the road to the visitor centre (where there is a large car park, and public conveniences, not shown on the map; the disabled facilities being kept open 24 hours) and then made the long, hard tramp along the road to Clova. Those last 6 kilometres are hard work; but with the three of us we were able to keep our spirits high, and the worst part was soon behind us.

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