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Saturday, 19 March 2016

The last three Munros of 2015 (30)

Beyond Culra, I had to make a choice: cross the bridge and go via Loch Pattack, or stay on this side of the river. The route on this side of the river was more direct; but the tracks past Pattack were better made. There wasn't a lot of difference in the distances, however, and Pattack was probably the quicker option. But I have been along the shores of Loch Pattack three or four times before, whereas I had never taken the path on the East bank of the Allt a' Chaoil-reidhe before. So I decided to give the bridge a miss, and stay on this side.

Having passed the bridge I turned and took one last photograph, looking back up towards Culra and Ben Alder. The mighty Munro remains, and I will be back to tackle it ... some time. Perhaps when I have retired - which may not be too long now as I have decided that I shall take early retirement in 2017, draw my pension at 50, and retrain for an alternative career in teaching. As a teacher I shall be unable to take part in the Challenge again until I finally retire; but I will hopefully have plenty of alternative opportunities to come back to the rugged remote splendor of the highlands.

After taking this photograph I pressed on, and soon caught up with a couple of spirited young lads who provided me with companionship and entertaining conversation all the way down to Dalwhinnie. There we parted, as they had a train to catch that evening, whereas I was stopping at the bunkhouse. Ron and Marilyn was as welcoming as ever, and I soon settled in for the night.

The following day, my journey back South was, well, interesting to say the least. But I made it home, my heart already yearning for the next opportunity I should have to immerse myself in the Highland wilderness.

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