11 June 2007

DAY 103: River Douchary to Oykel Bridge

Monday 11th June 2007
Today: 13.7 miles
Total so far: 1476.1miles
Percentage Completed: 88.4%


(Click map to enlarge)

I need to invent a new verb: 'to douchary'

I wander down the right bank of the River Douchary in the morning sunshine, confident that today will be a doddle, daundering down the Douchary.

I hadn't taken into account the sheer beauty of the place. It's impossible to daunder down the River Douchary without stopping every five minutes, taking off the pack and just marvelling at the sheer naked beauty of the place. If this was in Derbyshire, there would be car parks full of Astras and Escorts, all with their occupants out; their stoves out making tea, taking picnics and leisurely strolls and snoozes.

River Douchary, Waterfall

The gorge is an absolute delight, with cascades and waterfalls at every turn and rock promontories standing sentinel over stretches of burn that only the dipper and 'Morse Code" bird will ever patrol. (More on the Morse Code bird later!)

The very big gorge downstream is avoided (sadly) and I make my way up to the loch, with sweat and toil through rough ground and then plod purposely along the shoreline towards the bothy at the end. It is surrounded by sheep but I clack them away with my walking poles and make the safety of the inner sanctum.

Knockdamph Bothy is an absolute beauty; possibly one of the most perfect little hideaways I have ever visited. I am there for a very early lunch, so I spend an age, luxuriating.

My food bag is enormous; I can never possibly eat all this food! I make an effort, but the bag is just as large and as heavy after my strenuous efforts... The sun is still shining outside, so I reluctantly haul the sack onto my shoulders and head off to what promises to be a Major River Crossing (note the capitals.)

The three miles are effortlessly achieved (I am walking on spring-loaded boots today) and I positively waltz across the remains of the stream; it has been eight days since I have seen any real rain.

After an easy walk down the track I make the hotel at Oykel Bridge. This is a strange affair - and, I LOVE It! It is the watering hole of the Chattering Classes. It is HQ for Newmarket at play. Lloyds of London cannot possibly function as all the Senior Staff are at play here today with their glorious wives!

I know two of the hairdressers in Newmarket that the ladies are gossiping about. I have heard about the others from magazines in Dentists' waiting Rooms. The ladies are immaculate; the Gents nicely turned out in their raspberry corduroys and Viyella shirts.

The wine list is very readable and so if this posting is not quite up to par, forgive me - my excuse is the excellent '98 Santenay. Cheers!


  1. Hi Alan,

    I noticed from a previous post you asked about posting offline donations to your just giving page.

    I don't know the answer directly, but would suggest logging on to your page and having a look around. If you don’t have any luck, I would suggest ringing the helpline on 0845 021 2110, I have tried contacting them but have only got through to and answer phone. Maybe it's something you could do when you’re finished.

    Your fundraising has been absolutley fantastic and i'm so happy you've beaten your target twice!! Is there a chance we can revealiate the target to 4,500 and make a final push? i was really pleased to see the 02 donation!!

    I have spoken to a colleague of mine in Scotland who wanted to know your plans for the finish. There may be chance to get some press coverage up there in Scotland. He is going to drop you an email and has also left a comment on your page

    Hope all is well. Thank you once again for your fantastic support and fantastic blog which has proved to be fantastic distraction from my work!!

    Ian O'Reilly,

  2. If you are on email, I can be contacted on


  3. Ah yes. The Chattering Classes. If you hadn't named the hotel, Alan, I would have recognised it anyway. "A strange affair" indeed it is. You had a much better day than me for your walk, though. Mine was wet and windy, yours hot and sweaty. Both enjoyable in their own way.
    Alen McF


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