Posted from Strathcarron
Today: 19.1 miles
Total so far: 1370.1 miles
Percentage Completed: 82.0%
(Click map to enlarge)
It wasn't raining when I was at breakfast but by the time I was leaving at gone ten, it was just beginning. By the time I was climbing through Jenkins Park it was moderate rain and warm - tough weather for a climb through the trees.
By the time I made the top it was medium to heavy and the views were strictly limited and it was definitely set for worse to come. My plan for the afternoon was to nip over Torgyle Bridge and head west on the minor road for three miles and then north into open country and follow the streams to the top and then skip down to Cougie.
By the time I got to Torgyle Bridge all the streams were roaring and bursting all over the place, so the afternoon had to be changed to a drier and possibly safer alternative. I headed east along the main road and then followed the pylons north. Its a lot further this way and you actually climb higher than the planned route, but it is on Rover Roads all the way. It made the day's ascent around 1200m.
Well, it was firm underfoot, but that's all you could say in its defence! The tracks were inundated by the little side streams so that they became rivers themselves. The rain became heavier and the clouds dropped so I it felt like I was actually wading up hill. There was a moment of five minutes calm, at the concrete old explosives shed right at the top near the reservoir in the middle of bugger all. The old iron door had been opened and it was dry inside so I could swap maps over and have some flapjack in the dry.
This was hard work and I had left Fort Aggie too late for it. There was nothing for it but to get back out there and get the day done. There was no joy in the second half of the afternoon. The rain was relentless and coming straight at me. I made it down to the wood and immediately had two very difficult stream crossings before making it down to Hilton Lodge for the straightforward forest track walk back up the valley to Cougie.
The river in the valley was like a wild beast; it growled, it roared, it fair belted beneath the bridges ripping at the river banks and bridge abutments. The power of the thing was amazing.
I arrived at Cougie like a drowned rat that had been drowned twice for good measure. Bryan Pocock cheerfully took me in and ALL my wet gear is hanging over the Aga, the stream of drips hissing as they hit the hot plates. Bryan is a bit of a star, and deserves a post all of his own, so I shall write more on Bryan later.
It would have been pretty grim pitching out there tonight - every inch of ground is saturated and it is still raining as I write this in the warmth of Bryan's settee.
The settee is my friend!