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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

TGO Challenge 2014: Part 2: When a day goes agley...

Radio Four ‘Thought for the Day’ aficionados will doubtless be aware of Rabbi Lionel Blue and his wry & gentle sense of humour. However, I expect not many will know that Lionel (with his mother) was one of our first TGO Challengers, completing his crossing back in the late eighties. It was of this Challenge, when his Mum was helicoptered out of Knoydart, that he wrote these immortal lines:

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

I can tell you with heartfelt certainty that I know exactly how Lionel felt on that difficult day. Our difficult day went like this:

***

The route was simple. Here’s a snippet from our route-sheet for the day [Click to enlarge it]

TGOC14 Route Sloman   Walker   Lambert Sheet V41[6] Snippet

 

And here’s the map for that particular day: [Again, if you wish, you can click on it to make it bigger.]

TGOC2014 DAY 2 PLANNED

The plan was to walk from the green marker pin, at the bottom left of the map, to the red marker flag at the top right of the map. However, as we had stopped slightly short on the previous day we would now be starting from the red marker flag at the very bottom of the map. This should be no big deal as it was but a mile of extra walking along the valley at the beginning of the day.

So what’s the other red maker flag, then, the one marked ‘Waypoint 80’ in the middle of the map? Well that’s where we finished our day, at 9:15 in the evening, totally knackered. Here’s the map again, at a scale of 1:50k that you can refer to for a better overview, with just the area that was covered that day::

TGOC2014 DAY 2 ACTUAL

[CLICK TO ENLARGE – IT WILL OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW]

We set off jauntily enough and after a short while crossed back over the Carnach after just avoiding stepping in the suppurating remains of a sheep carcase. The view forwards looked like this:

ANDY'S PICTURE: LOOKING NORTH UP THE CARNACH

ANDY'S PICTURE: LOOKING NORTH UP THE CARNACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Andy and I had a little rest here, as Phil had a sudden Immodium Moment. Looking back, you can see Phil catching us up again, looking mightily relieved.

LOOKING BACK TO PHIL, CATCHING UP.

LOOKING BACK TO PHIL, CATCHING UP – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Even though we were looking out for it, we missed the path shown on the map that climbed the hillside at about this point, as we sauntered up this delightful glen.

DELIGHTFUL [THE GLEN, THAT IS]

DELIGHTFUL [THE GLEN, THAT IS] – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Here’s another of us having a lovely time:

ANDY'S SLIGHTLY BLURRED PICTURE

ANDY'S SLIGHTLY BLURRED PICTURE

We started our first gorge clamber about here, where our path led us down to the wonderful tumbling River Carnach.

ANDY'S PIC OF RIVER CARNACH AT START OF 1st GORGE

ANDY'S PIC OF RIVER CARNACH AT START OF 1st GORGE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

This wasn’t perilous, by any stretch of the imagination, but there one or two tricky moments where a slip could have meant a nasty tumble down to the rocks below. It only lasted for ten minutes or so. Of course, as soon as we extricated ourselves we looked back and saw a beautiful path coming down the hillside and though a gateway to meet us. So we stopped to have a rest and a bite of second breakfast.

PHIL CHECKING TO SEE HOW ON EARTH WE HAD MISSED THE PATH

PHIL CHECKING TO SEE HOW ON EARTH WE HAD MISSED THE PATH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

We trotted off once more and found the ruin marked on the map, in a truly delightful upper section of the Carnach, as you can see from the next picture, which had us heading on a north easterly direction for a mile or so.

 THE RUIN [AND PHIL]

THE RUIN [AND PHIL] – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Now the glen took on a more wild aspect; it really did feel like the “rough bounds of Knoydart” here  It’s a mixture of bare rock and bog underfoot and the river has wonderful waterfalls.

HEADING N.E. UP THE CARNACH

HEADING N.E. UP THE CARNACH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

At the end of the ‘north east’ section we decided to stop and have a bite to eat as it was almost lunchtime. At this point a Dutch chap caught us up and joked “Have you seen the old guy with the enormous rucksack? I left him in the gorge. He didn’t look too steady on his feet!” We pointed him in the direction he should go (anywhere but with us, PLEASE!) as he was on a variant of the Cape Wrath Trail, which meant we sent him straight up the hillside and over Mam Unndalain.

I’ll now show you a blown up version of the last map, to make things a little clearer:

TGOC2014 DAY 2 ACTUAL ZOOMED

TGOC2014 DAY 2 ACTUAL, ZOOMED – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Our planned route had us now heading slightly south of east through the valley floor alongside the river. Quite delightful; but this is what we were looking at: Big cliffs dropping into the north side of the river and a jumble of rocks on the south side. (No mention of that on the map, mind!)

DIRECTION OF TRAVEL

DIRECTION OF TRAVEL: ANDY EXPLORING THE JUMBLE OF BOULDERS ON THE SOUTH BANK – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Over lunch we had pondered climbing up the hillside to the immediate north of us to gain the track that then headed eastwards. But that meant a clamber of about five hundred feet up a steep, greasy and boggy hillside. Instead, we decided to investigate the right bank of the river. In practice, that meant sending Andy into our second gorge of the day. He’s a good man.

Okay. Cards on the table: With hindsight, this was a daft idea. Now take a look at that last map closely. You’ll see that at this point, the OS’s cartographers couldn’t draw all four 10m contours between the thicker 50m contours, as there wasn’t enough room to cram them all in. Ho hum…

After Andy assured me and Phil that “it would go,” it went like this:

ANDY: “Now there’s a finger hold for your left hand just up there. There’s a really good one for your right hand over there – no, higher – you’ll have to stretch for it. Now swing your right leg round this rock for a toehold. No. There’s nothing for your left foot; You’ll just have to swing your left leg round the rock and let it dangle. Now – Just shimmy up that crack and wriggle your way up…”

ME: “Are you Effing Mad??? I can’t pull my arse up that! Haven’t you noticed; I’m carrying a sodding great rucksack! I’m not shimmying up anything, Mate!”

ANDY: (Evenly) “It’s that or go back the way we came, Buddy.”

ME:  (After a pause and an undignified lunge for various finger and foot-holds) FUCK! That hurt.”

I had swung my left left leg around the rock and wacked my knee incredibly painfully against the rock I was swinging it round. I did manage to shimmy and wriggle my way up the crack though. Phil seemed to manage the manoeuvre with a great deal more aplomb than I could muster…

Andy doled out a few more impromptu climbing lessons in the next half hour to his very reluctant pupil, who by now was very sore, hot & bothered, and more than a little irked with himself for choosing this utterly barmy route variant, when there was probably a perfectly good path a mere 500 feet up the hillside on the other side of the river, which was now a bit of a torrent in the gorge below us.

Purely for your edification and utter delight, I’ll now post a Forestry Map of the area, at 1:10k scale, which I found after the Challenge, which shows the path on the north side of the river, following a beautiful balcony route all the way to Lochan nam Breac. *SIGH*.

TGOC2014 DAY 2. 1/10,000 FORESTRY MAPPING

TGOC2014 DAY 2. 1/10,000 FORESTRY MAPPING – CLICK TO ENLARGE

So, encumbered as we were with our wonderful choice of route, we slithered and grunted our way over and under rocky outcrops, slowly gaining height in sloppy bog to get away from the madness of the gorge.

JUST BOG & TUSSOCKS NOW. PHEW!

JUST BOG & TUSSOCKS NOW. PHEW! – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

LOCHAN NAM BREAC IN THE DISTANCE

ALLELUJAH! LOCHAN NAM BREAC IN THE DISTANCE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

ANDY'S PICTURE. DESCENDING TO OUTFLOW OF LOCHAN NAM BREAC

ANDY'S PICTURE. DESCENDING TO OUTFLOW OF LOCHAN NAM BREAC – CLICK TO ENLARGE

We crossed the river at about Easting 904 on a huge rock-fall of boulders that had bridged the river. We then worked our way up to the old path on the north side of the river. We had to wait for a good while as Phil, to his distress, suffered another Immodium Moment.

He caught us up, and so we had a second lunch, (with Phil opting for a modest, if slightly bland repast of yet more Immodium) as the worst now seemed to be over… Oh dear…

PHIL, AFTER SWALLOWING YET MORE IMMODIUM

PHIL, AFTER SWALLOWING YET MORE IMMODIUM – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Onwards! So our heroes are now at about Easting 910 (look at the map – it’s what it’s there for – Come to think of it, I wish I had looked a little closer when I was planning the route…) and now on a fairly decent path that comes and goes but it’s difficult to lose it. Looking back, the path on the north side of the River Carnach does look pretty good, if a trifle boggy. Ho hum. We’ll put it down to experience then.

LOOKING BACK TO THE CARNACH'S UPPER GORGE

LOOKING BACK TO THE CARNACH'S UPPER GORGE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

The path climbs and weaves its way wonderfully until it almost drops down to the western end of Lochan nam Breac, where we took the following snaps:

WESTERN END OF LOCHAN NAM BREAC

WESTERN END OF LOCHAN NAM BREAC – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

LOCHAN NAM BREAC - WILD STUFF

LOCHAN NAM BREAC: WILD STUFF – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

PHIL'S PICTURE: SOUTH SIDE OF LOCHAN NAM BREAC

PHIL'S PICTURE: SOUTH SIDE OF LOCHAN NAM BREAC – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

OBLIGATORY PICTURE OF WELL-LIT TREE @ LOCHAN NAM BREAC

OBLIGATORY PICTURE OF WELL-LIT TREE @ LOCHAN NAM BREAC – CLICK TO ENLARGE

The path then climbs again to thread its way wonderfully through the crags and tiny meadows…

PHIL, KNOYDART

to drop you neatly at the eastern end of the lochan.

What a place! I can honestly say that this particular spot is one of the most achingly beautiful places I’ve ever been to in Scotland. There’s a silver sand beach, cropped green grass and a view that beats them all. It’s like standing just inside the western doorway of a wonderful cathedral and staring down to a magnificent altar window. Quite awe inspiring.

LOCHAN NAM BREAC, LOOKING WEST

LOCHAN NAM BREAC, LOOKING WEST – CLICK TO ENLARGE

The path crosses the inflow of the loch at this point and it looks shallow to a little sandy island in the middle, so we all paddle across in our shoes. The hop over to the south shore looks a little deeper so Andy held his shoes in his hands and waded across. I wish I had videoed this, as he plunged headlong into the water, plunging his shoes in first, as the sand beneath him suddenly dropped away. Mates, eh?

PHIL'S PICTURE. I'M STILL GRINNING AT ANDY'S ANTICS

PHIL'S PICTURE. I'M STILL GRINNING AT ANDY'S ANTICS – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

ANDY'S PICTURE OF SEMI-NAKED MEN

ANDY'S PICTURE OF SEMI-NAKED MEN – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

ANDY'S PICTURE [DESPERATELY HOPING WE WERE GOING TO FALL IN]

ANDY'S PICTURE [DESPERATELY HOPING WE WERE GOING TO FALL IN] – CLICK TO ENLARGE

It was as we were sitting down in the sunshine drinking in the view and trying to get all the sand from between our toes that we realised it was now a quarter to five in the afternoon and we had come a grand distance of…

…. just four and three quarters of a mile.

Oooops.

Nothing for it but to press on.

There were still some little climbs to do on our way to Loch Quoich, but the views back west were simply breath-taking. Here’s my favourite picture of our Challenge. It’s Phil heading away from Lochan nam Breac.

PHIL & LOCHAN NAM BREAC, KNOYDART

PHIL & LOCHAN NAM BREAC, KNOYDART – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

ANDY'S PICTURE

.ANDY'S PICTURE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

ANDY'S PICTURE OF ME

ANDY'S PICTURE OF ME – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Finally, we made the dams at the western end of Loch Quoich, which is an unusual loch as it is dammed at both ends, being as it’s on the watershed. Now there are a few pictures to come of Loch Quoich, as it was so good to finally get there!

LOCH QUOICH

LOCH QUOICH (1) CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

LOCH QUOICH (2)

LOCH QUOICH (2) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

LOCH QUOICH (3)

LOCH QUOICH (3) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

We now beetled along the eastern end of the Loch, pausing on each of the two dams to take the next two pictures of our last look back into the heart of Knoydart.

LAST LOOK AT KNOYDART (1)

LAST LOOK AT KNOYDART (1) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

LAST LOOK AT KNOYDART (2) BEN ADEN

LAST LOOK AT KNOYDART (2) BEN ADEN – CLICK TO ENLARGE

So now, time really was getting on, and it was obvious that we were not going to do our planned day, so after a quick conflab we decided that it would be a smart move to get over the one really iffy river crossing today, as the weather looked like it was going to turn for the worse. Our wonderful Vetter, Colin Crawford, had warned us that the Abhainn Chosaidh could be a right bastard in spate as it’s chock full of large boulders which means the river is deep and fast around them. So it was best to get that over & done with today while the chances of a low crossing were still good.

That was still another three miles away along the very rough shore-line of Loch Quoich, so we knuckled down and plodded first along the old road and when that disappeared along the best line amongst the boggy tussocks that we could make. I took a purler along this section, banging my already hurty knee. We arrived at the Abhainn Chosaidh at about 8:30 – it was in a nasty little gorge and after finding a half decent crossing point, it started to piss down with nasty cold rain. Oh great.

Safely across we set off, by now very keen to get the shelters up as quickly as possible. but there was nothing. For ages. And Ages.

Here’s look back at the magnificent country at this point:

LOOKING BACK, LOCH QUOICH LOOKING BACK, LOCH QUOICH – CLICK TO ENLARGE

We prodded various bits of ground disconsolately with our walking poles, and eventually plumped for a very unprepossessing looking spot at 9:15pm. Knackered. And just a little bit fed up with the day, which was grossly mean of us as it had been through some of the most wonderful scenery in the world!.

However, we made it our home for the night and before too long we had the stoves on and the flasks passed around. We felt heaps better. Here’s a picture taken the next morning. Nice, eh?

PICTURE OF LOCH QUOICH CAMP

PICTURE OF LOCH QUOICH CAMP – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Okay, Lionel Blue’s Mum had been helicoptered out, but we were only half a day behind schedule. I think we can cope with that.

43 comments:

  1. What a superb day. Stunning pics of Knoydart at its best. I bet you feel great about the hardship now that its done with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, sort of Alan...
      My knee still hurts, you know...
      Did I mention that at all?
      Yes - I'll remember this year's Challenge just for this day alone. It was stunning.
      :-)

      Delete
  2. Now that's how I imagine The Challenge to be. I can usually make a trip to the post box an epic but you excelled yourselves there. Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Conrad
      :-)
      I don't suppose you're interested in the Challenge? The entry form will be out in mid September (that's the October edition of The Great Outdoors magazine)

      Delete
  3. Jeez Louise! That was, ah, interesting . . . I was thing of y'all at mid-afternoon that self-same day as I made myself a Bookmaker's Sandwich next to the bridge at the E end of Loch Quoich. I scanned the southern ridge expecting to see you all springing like gazelles. And I'm just loving the pix. Yum! Yum!

    All the beast. HMP3 (aka Lancelot Constant)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...springing like gazelles..."
      More like slouching like sloths, Sir!
      :-)
      I could have done with a Bookmaker's Sandwich at about that time, as it was about then that I noticed the sun was not where it was supposed to be. It was well over it's peak in the sky...

      Delete
  4. Owch!

    Well done team. That sounded a real toughie. But what the f was Andy wearing on his head? That pyschadelic thingy. He'll be playing that weird hippy music next on his unfeasibly large smart telephone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The psychedelic head gear, the fluorescent coat and the bright red shoes.
      There's just no co-ordination!
      A simple flash of accent colour is all that a chap requires.

      Delete
  5. Some of us have accessorised our Zuuc shoes by using Permanent Black Marker to remove the unpleasant bright yellow accent colours. And some of us are deeply sad Fashion Victims . . . It's all in the detail, dear ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been the man in black for quite a number of years now.
      But I believe that it is a time to change. Like the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, I am going to experiment with a little colour myself.
      I'm thinking of a bright European colourway. Perhaps a pair of jauntily coloured trousers?.
      I shall peruse the catalogues. I need to plan this carefully. Obviously. We can't let ourselves turn into a fashion disaster.

      Delete
  6. Setting off jauntily. Ah yes, I know it well and the dangers it may have. I drove past Loch Quoich a few years ago, and saw it again (is that right?) from the Glen Shiel Ridge. Looks a marvelous area. I don't think I'll get to Scotland this year. Didn't make it in spring and now its midge hell. Always autumn I suppose...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can indeed see Loch Quoich from the South Glenshiel Ridge, James. You can see the sodding thing from space!
      :-)
      Autumn's a grand time for backpacking - the only problem being the rain - best to pick early October - before the clocks change and after the midges have gone (well, mostly).

      Delete
  7. OH! I never realized that you had a tougher day 2 than even we did- you never mentioned it- must be that English stiff upper lip and all- Well done and beautiful pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We may well be Softy Southerners, Craig, but we starch our upper lips every morning, noon and night, Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  8. My clothing is the new chic of hiking gear for 2014 and it is from my new clothing line Anti-Coordination Mountain Apparel. It will be all the thing in 2015.
    All in it was a good day, be it wet underfoot, apart from the last hour, crossing the river, smelly dead deer, and trying to get tents up in the semi dark and passing rain.
    Indeed, that bit was an absolute ***t. But you know, the rest was pretty wild, and spectacular. In fact a proper bloody Challenge. Yes sir! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah.
      I had forgotten about the seven dead deer we found this day. Stomach turning stench. Why do they always die in the streams?
      Yes - the last hour was pretty tough, ol' fruit. And the squally cold rain didn't lift the spirits too much either.
      I'm always amazed how much my mood lifts once the tent's up and I'm lying down on my bag & mattress with the kettle on for a hot drink and sipping a few liveners from the flask.
      I'm going to do a post on the ground conditions.

      When you think back, it was a perfect Challenge day. Fabulous scenery - tough going but memories that will stay with me forever.
      Cheers Andy.
      :-)

      Delete
  9. Andy did mention "Al had a hurtey knee" .....not grassing him up or nothing ;).....Well Alan, you did well to get that day done. Hurt knee, hard miles. Well done.

    A superb day. Knoydart is wild, and stunning. Superb photos of what is, when you look back a top class backpacking day. Another well done from me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Martin.
      I'm thinking of a return to Knoydart later this year for a circular backpack. I fancy more of a stroll, with more time for pictures. It is utterly fabulous, in the right weather.

      Delete
    2. When have you booked the RIGHT weather for sir?

      AND have you started working on DAVE to do the Chally next year????

      Delete
    3. I have been working on my Brother Dave, but he seems to have fallen in love with his beautiful VW camper. (It has beds, a cooker, a beer fridge, comfy chairs...)
      I'm thinking about a late September / early October trip to Knoydart.
      Interested?

      Delete
  10. Enough of the Oohs and Aahs - this report clearly describes the activities of a bunch of unhinged masochists. And you are considering going back for more! You need help. Perhaps from someone like the Rabbi, or David Blunkett, or perhaps the admirable Claire Lomas would like to join you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "this report clearly describes the activities of a bunch of unhinged masochists."
      I'll accept "unhinged" but I'm not sure about "masochists"
      We like our home comforts, we do, which is why we carry tents big enough for half a dozen (friendly) backpackers and flasks large enough for the same.
      Yes - Going back for more, but in a more leisurely fashion. Perhaps with more hooch on board and a little lightweight tripod...
      I have to agree, that help would be useful. Writing this lot up takes ages and ages. I need a secretary.
      :-)
      Just so the readers of the blog know, the man who made this comment does suicidal Challenge routes involving dozens of Corbetts and Munros. And he says I need help!
      :-)

      Delete
    2. Haha - your response is much as I expected (perhaps rather more gentle than expected). I'll have you know I went up 4 Munros and 4 Corbetts this year, and my latest finish was 7.40 (Day 1 - delayed by a man of the cloth with slippery trousers), apart from that, 6pm twice - otherwise plenty of time for a snooze before dinner. If that's 'suicidal' in your book, I'd be interested to know what your own route was, if not masochistic! Anyway, I thought you enjoyed masochism, or why would you choose Andy to lead you through the jaws of near death?
      Have fun with the write up...

      Delete
  11. Sure is rough country. Brought out the best in you all obviously ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Adam
      It certainly brought out two tough days to follow, as we had to claw back the distance we hadn't covered to get to our wonderful B8B in Ft Augustus on time.
      :-)

      Delete
  12. That was a cracking good yarn Alan, it suited the majesty of your surroundings.
    Been there in scorching heat in July 2011 and made the same wrong decision at the bend in the river behind Ben Aden. Up to the Mam Unndalain path or along the river? Along seems much easier. Wrong!!
    Looking forward to the next chapter.
    BTW, it was Rabbie Burns, not Rabbi Blue.
    Eddie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eddie!
      :-)
      "Up to the Mam Unndalain path or along the river? Along seems much easier. Wrong!! " Exactly our thought process. Oh dear - we're not very good at this, are we?
      Rabbie Burns? Never heard of the guy. Who does he play for?

      Delete
  13. "The best laid plans o mice and men....." is actually a quote from a poem by Robert Burns, not Rabbi Lionel Blue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The best laid plans o mice and men.....is actually a quote from a poem by Robert Burns, not Rabbi Lionel Blue."

      I am truly grateful for your input, Anonymous. However the quote is actually as I transcribed above:
      "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men"
      Who's this Robert Burns fellow, by the way? Was he a friend of Lionel's Mum?
      :-)

      Delete
  14. Knoydart is truly fabulous but sadly f...ing wet - you were lucky - a great outing.

    Re the poem - tis truly amazing what you learn from t'internet. I had always thought that these lines were penned by Adrian Mole when the lovely Pandora rejected his advances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ian
      (and I am very sorry indeed for the incredibly tardy posting of your comment, as I have only just found it lurking in my "comments to be published" file.)

      That Sue Townsend nicked one hell of a lot of Lionel's greatest opuses. I wouldn't put it past her at all to have nicked this particular work just to line her pockets. Poor Adrian's sufferings were cruelly exposed by her. How she sleeps at night...

      Delete
  15. Alan, when my son and I did Knoydart a few years back, I looked at this bit as a possible part of the route. but decided it looked a bit of a sod - I think you proved me right :) As you say great scenery!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mark
      To be honest, I think our very poor choice at the big bend round the back of Ben Aden contributed a lot to our difficult day. We should have bit the bullet and climbed up to the higher track to the north of the Carnach, But even so - it's still a a very hard day as the ground conditions are very poor and it's rough country. And when you get to Loch Quoich it's slow going again. But By Gum! What scenery!
      :-)

      Delete
  16. Very interesting and colourful. On stormy Sunday in 2011 I should have been on some ridge above where you lot were. As it was I took my FWA which took a low level route to Kinloch Hourn.

    Its a shame you missed the terraced path up above you pinch-point. I like the pictures and thanks for the reminder to go back there again soon. PaulM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Paul - it wasn't really a case of missing it - more one of being lazy and ignoring it...
      Poor hillcraft Sir!
      :-)

      Delete
  17. On the "Immodium moments". A quote from my (as yet unpublished) record of this day:

    "... yes, just to add to the misery, I had the squits. I put this down to drinking half a bottle of sloe gin to lift my sagging spirits, which is, I guess, alcoholic prune juice. Ah well, you live and learn. I’ll stick to whisky in future."

    There's a lesson there for them as wants to learn summat useful ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sloe gin... Prunes.
      Were there any other secret ingredients, Sir?
      :-)

      Delete
    2. No, just rotgut gin & sloes. JThe sloe (prunus spinosa) is a close relative of the plum or prune (prunus domestica) and undoubtedly shares much of its ... ah ... medicinal qualities.

      Sloe gin is thus a tincture to be taken in moderation.

      Delete
    3. Oh dear.
      Oh dear, deary me!
      I suppose we could take port instead?
      :-)

      Delete
  18. Alan this fellbound chappie is slowly drawing me from your blog as he is well ahead of both you and andy so please hurry up there,s a good chap . oh btb the foot still has a bleeding big lump on the side and still hurts like hell .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear about your foot, Chris!
      Hopefully time will sort it out.
      This "Fellbound chappie" is disappearing into the hazy distance, Sir!
      However, I shall be finalising my third post tomorrow and so it will be up in the evening.
      You will be pleased to hear that both Andy Walker and Lord Elpus are currently working on their fictions and so doubtless they too will soon be specks in the distance.
      :-)

      Delete
  19. That was some day Alan! Great write up and some splendid photos of some of the most wild, beautiful scenery in the country. A couple of years ago I camped by the Carnach above the first gorge (the patch of grass behind The Ruin (And Phil) photo). It was sublime. I had intended to carry onto Lochan nam Breac that evening but am glad I didn't try and tackle the second gorge on sight! A tough day but worth it just to be there I imagine (hope).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nick.
      Looking back on this day it was definitely the highlight of our Challenge - and it was a real Challenge that posed a subsequent challenge as well!
      I'm looking forward to going back there later this year after the midges have gone. It really is a magical place.

      Delete

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