.............not all those that wander are lost..............

TGOC 2010 Days 2 + 3

Day 2

{The view looking back across Barrisdale Bay}

The path from the camping ground took an unexpected bound up the hill to look down on the Bay. The weather was stunning with the night time clouds quickly clearing away. There was a slow trickle of people walking along, but I spent most of the time on my own. I seem to always walk a little slower than everyone else and it doesn't worry me at all. The track goes up and down and along Loch Hourn until it comes eventually to Kinloch Hourn, where alongside the water there are stands of rhododendron, presumably having escaped from a Victorian garden somewhere close by.

Once past the empty carpark I saw a little coffee shop, but I couldn't open the gate, so reluctantly I walked on, finding the road rather hard going. Thankfully a small herd of Highland cattle moved to one side as I approached them. I'm not too fond of 'loose' cattle, it's amazing how fast this aged backpacker can walk when confronted by them! Danger past, I sauntered on till I came alongside Loch Quoich, where I had planned to pitch my tent for the night.

However, remembering the cattle, and a few clues by the way of red or blue buckets of feed alongside the road, I decided I would have to walk a bit further, out of harms way! At the bridge I turned left and decided to walk the extra couple of mile to eventually arrive at an uninhabited house called Alltbeithe, with smooth grass around it. As I was hesitating whether it was wise to camp there, Jean came along. After a mega-faff, I chose a spot, and put up the tent - and then moved it again. Mr Grumpy and Avril arrived and lost no time in pitching their tent and then cooking their evening meal.

My feet were extra tender after the road walking and I was not in much of a humour to chat. I fed myself, and then went to bed.

Diary entry - Saturday 15th May [walked 9.5 hours]
Great walk to begin with but got rather tired going up & down beside the loch. Probably the lack of sleep last night.
Heard then saw female & male stonechats - more than one pair - calling to each other.
Last part of the path into Kinloch Hourn was right beside the water, a bit of a scramble in places, wobbly with a heavy pack.
Found the road walk tedious, as always.
Came up to Alltbeithe to camp as Bert (my vetter) had suggested in his notes. Feet sore and very wet.
Blustery wind rocking the tent now. Some sleep would be good.........

Day 3

I felt much better in the morning. A better sleep having re-energised me a great deal. After breakfast and packing up I went to the river to fill my bottle and stupidly dropped the lid of my bottle into the water and watched it float away. OOps!

Using my new goretex oversocks I gingerly put on my still wet boots and prepared to walk back to the road at the bridge. An option to go via the River Loyne crossing seemed too big a risk to me. It's curious how cautious I am when walking alone and difficult river crossings are best done with a group!

When I arrived back to the bridge I found Denis camped just at the side of the road. I stopped and chatted to him while I changed my socks again, plastered a couple of hot-spots on my toes, and put back on my now nearly dry boots. The goretex had worked well but I didn't want to walk a whole day in them. Sadly Denis was suffering from a terribly sore back and looked as though he would be pulling out of the Challenge.

Eventually I wandered on. A little further on I came across a small, red, MSR tent - which I thought looked familiar. I took a chance, and asked the occupant if he was Geoff - he was and the tent was the one I had sold to him earlier in the year when I changed to my current tent. We had a good chat, mostly about the tent, and I left him to pack up.

{Looking across Loch Quoich}

I was passed on the road, more than once, by a whole stream of cars, all of the same vintage type. Each driver and passenger waved merrily and I waved back. At the other side of the power station at Kingie a cheery figure offered me a cup of tea. I cannot remember his name, he was not a Challenger, but had been camping on a very green hillock just off the road for a couple of days. It was time I had a break from the road walking, and the waving, so I accepted his offer and drank tea in the sunshine.

{The line of cars on the road}

About 2 miles before Tomdoun I came upon a Challenger, who was lying on the ground, down some banking at the side of the road. I have to admit when I first saw him I thought he had fallen and was hurt or worse. He finally lifted his head and I realised he was rather confused and maybe dehydrated. I gave him some water from my bottle. It appeared he was walking with someone who had got ahead of him. I couldn't do anything more, he was beginning to come round and felt much better, so I told him I would go on, find his walking partner and tell him what had happened. I was worried but it seemed the best plan.

Finally I arrived at the hotel at Tomdoun. There was a small gathering already there. One of the walkers recognised the description of the fallen walker and rushed off to help him. Apparently he had a problem with some medication he was taking. The kitchen was closed, having run out of food after a visit by a lot of vintage car owners! I relaxed on the grass as more and more Challengers arrived.

It seemed it was possible to camp in a field just a hundred metres or so back from the hotel. I went there, pitched my tent, found I had acquired some ticks in the process, threw all my stuff into the tent (removed the ticks) and went back to the hotel for an early evening drink. I fully intended to go back and cook, then have an early night. Ha,ha, - I found myself having dinner at the hotel, in good company until quite late. Returning to the camping field, I discovered I had put my tent over a large rock, so I spent an uncomfortable night trying to wrap myself around the rock and get some sleep!

{Humphrey with his special TGOC glasses}

Diary entry - Sunday 16th May [walked and talked for 8 hrs]
Finally settled and had a good night's sleep after all.
Up and away at 8 in the morning deciding to walk back to the road and then to Tomdoun.
The weather gradually became hotter and hotter, and the road harder and harder.
Arrived about 3.45. On the way 'John W.' incident - but he seemed ok later. (Thank Goodness!)
Met up with Louise (and David) in bar, also Alan, Phil, John J and Humphrey.
Stayed for dinner at hotel then camped in 'tick field'....(3 and counting).
Stumbled back to tent at 10.30 to discover I had pitched on a rock. TG for Neoair!
Woken by low-flying goose in the morning.........

{Packing up in the morning at Tomdoun}