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Thursday, 30 June 2016

TGOC 2016, Days 3 & 4: Loch Affric to Drumnadrochit

Picking a good spot to camp is fundamental to good Challenging. If you wake to water lapping on a beach a few feet away and to bird song, your day is sure to go well. And so it was this morning. The video is a very shaky pan of our camp on the north shore of Loch Affric. You'll also hear Phil's waking up noises. He has going to sleep noises too. Click on the 'full screen' icon to see this at a decent size and in a wider format.




Gorgeous, eh?

And this is what it looks like standing still, with just the usual hand-held shakiness:

CAMP 2: LOCH AFFRIC

Readers of a nervous disposition should look away now. It is a picture of Phil's Hurty Leg. He has no idea where the bruises came from, but they started appearing the morning after the night before on the Caledonian Sleeper. It was as well for me that his leg was all hurty, as it slowed the bugger down to my pace.

PHIL'S MYSTERIOUS INJURIES

Clambering back up the hill to the track seemed to go far better than the previous evening's walk down as we picked our way up just fifty yards further to the east. I stopped at the top to take a photograph across Glen Affric. It really is a wonderful spot. Go there. Please. It's fabulous.

LOOKING ACROSS LOCH AFFRIC TOWARDS GLEANN NA CICHE & MULLACH FRAOCH-CHOIRE (IN CLOUD)

The next couple of days took us via a pretty standard route to Drumnadrochit, via Dog Falls and Cannich. I'll let the pictures tell the story for a while.

CATERING APOSTROPHES BUT NOT A CAFE TO BE SEEN FOR MILES


TAKING A REST AT THE TOP OF A LONG HILL ON THE TRACK IN THE FOREST.


DOG FALLS - WORTH A LOOK.

As we are walking to Cannich, just after Fasnakyle Power Station, when we are close to that "I'm fed up with this walking lark, and just want to be there" moment, a rather smart motorhome passes us, hits the brakes, (causing a traffic jam!) and a head pops out, saying "Mr Sloman, I presume!"

It is Chrissie & Geoff Crowther with their two gorgeous hounds. We sit in their plumptious comfy chairs (with backrests! Ooh - you'd kill for a soft chair with a backrest in the middle of sod all) drink tea and scoff so much cake I think I might burst. We sit there for ages, as we are both wonderfully happy to be in a warm, comfy place with lovely people. (Let's face it, by now the novelty of each other's company is wearing thin and conversation has dropped to monosyllabic grunts...) Eventually they kick us out as they still have a way to travel to Drumnadrochit, and so we plod the last few hundred yards into Cannich, the lovely Slaters Arms (and the gentle giant of a proprietor who is anxious to look after everyone and I think, a trifle shy) and the shop, to buy real food for tomorrow - pasties, pork pies, lard. Man food. 

We stay at the campsite for a very peaceful night after the Slaters and an excellent breakfast is provided by a magnificent lady who copes single-handedly in the campsite's cafe, rustling up breakfasts for hordes of hungry Challengers.


DENIS & LORD ELPUS, THE SLATERS ARMS, CANNICH

This next picture is important. We meet this lovely young couple as we are slumped, gentlemen of the road-like, against a large gate (back-rests, again) at the entrance to the forest near Corrimony. They are clean, well presented and very smiley. We discover they have been living together for eight years. Being an expert on marriage (having had two wives so far) I wonder why on earth they are not. I suggest that he should not waste a second and marry this gorgeous girl forthwith!

Well, blow me down, but in the Challenge Final Report it says that Matt actually proposed to Lindley in the Chapel in Dunnottar Castle at the end of their Challenge! That is, if this is in fact Matt & Lindley... I do hope it is! Anyway. Congratulations to you both!

Now, having said that I would like to add a disclaimer. Any advice about marriage coming from me should be taken with an extremely large pinch of salt. Ho hum...


MATT & LINDLEY (I HOPE)

The walk into Drum was all very pleasant, but I won't wear out my welcome with your time describing it.

COLOURFUL SPRING BLOSSOM

And now, just for the ladies, here is the annual semi-naked picture of Phil, doing our first load of Challenge washing in the hotel at Drumnadrochit. Steady now. 

Here's a recipe you'll enjoy. Challenge Bakes: Throw all your stinky clothes into the bathroom hand basin. Swill them about a bit for a few seconds in a soapy slurry, and then shower them to rinse. Next, trample the wet rags between two hand towels until they reach a cardboard-like texture, and cook for 480 minutes on top of the bedroom radiator at 200 degrees. NB: The aroma produced during the cooking process has been described as deeply offensive.

Here's a tip: Before heading off to dinner, open all the windows or you'll come back to a room resembling a low-budget Turkish Steam Room.

WISHY WASHY LAUNDERETTE

29 comments:

  1. A hotel and only day3. Can you call that an unassisted crossing.
    Hello Sir, what would you like, tea or coffee, coffee please, would you like a piece of cake and a shortbread biscuit. Oh yes please. Would you like a hot water bottle or maybe an electric blanket. Oooh, electric blanket would be lovely.
    Come on Al your supposed to be hardy challengers, setting a good example to the youngsters.
    The Slaters landlord, shy! I think thats the last term i would use for him, but he's a good guy.
    Its a bit of a crap walk to Drum isn't it. Pity the Affric Way didn't sort a better route out of Cannich instead of having to go up that long boring hill. You could opt for Corrimony but you just want to get to Drum asap i suppose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A hotel on Day Three, Al?

      Day Three had us sleeping under canvas once again at Cannich campsite, situated a good distance away from the known snorers. However, Day Four saw us ensconced in hotel luxury in Drumnadrochit - a rather fine establishment.

      There was no need for hot water bottles or indeed electric blankets, as the radiators were cranked up to eleven to crisp dry Phil's collection of wildly coloured merino shreddies and loud shirts.

      I think the Affric Way is a rum old walk. It takes the hardest on the feet, less gorgeous side of Loch Affric, and, as you point out a road walk along a very busy A-road. The eastern end of the walk is very poor.

      Thinking about it, we didn't sample room service. That would have saved getting out of bed and walking to the restaurant.

      Delete
    2. My apologies. Slip of the memory. It must have been the shock. I agree with you on the Affric Kintail way. It could have been far better routed. It does look as though it's being well tended for as the signs are all in place where needed. It will be ideal for some ramblers but not others. I don't think there are many hotels on route Al so some link routes may need creating if you and Phil fancy doing it.

      Delete
    3. No need for apologies, Sir! It is more than likely I make huge howlers on here, as I invariably write posts late at night when Social Media has dampened down.

      Interestingly, there is one fabulous sign, at a junction of paths to the west of Loch Affric, where it simply says it is the Affric Way, but there are no finger posts. It's been there, unchanged, for two years now. If they are determined to stick way-markers in areas where there really should be no way markers, they really should be useful!

      Delete
  2. A supercalafragalistic sort of walk! How on earth you wangled good weather is a mystery!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I admit it.

      We didn't do the walk this year. Phil and I were in a rather nice gite in the south of France, sipping chilled Burgundies next to a pool, with lunch-time saunters to the village square for light repasts of Langoustines in a garlic & butter sauce, with rough chewy bread as a dipper.

      All the pictures were nicked from the internet. It makes Challenging so much more enjoyable.
      :-)

      Delete
  3. Meeting you two on the way was even better for me, as it meant I managed to down far more than my normal daily cake ration, without Geoff noticing.... Chrissie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good grief, Chrissie! Geoff limits your cake-intake?
      You Bounder, Geoff!
      :-D
      And he seems like such a nice chap too!

      Delete
  4. Nice route.
    Waaaaaaaay too much Lord Elpus Flesh. 😲

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, in the style of the newly wed Andy Howell...

      " I get so many emails from readers demanding to know when I am going to publish more pictures of that gorgeous hunk, Lord Elpus, and so here you are, girls. Enjoy!"

      Sorry - there should have been a few spelling mistakes in there...

      :-)
      Joshing, Andy!

      Delete
  5. What a fantastic place to camp! Good to see Denis on the Challenge again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a wonderful spot - large enough, I would suggest for dozens of Challengers!
      Having Denis back in the fold was brilliant. Last year's Challenge without him was all the poorer for it.

      Delete
  6. This has cheered me up immensely, so thanks for that Alan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Admit it, Gibson - It's schadenfreude, isn't it? Tales of others' suffering, read from the comfort of a sitting room with sunshine streaming through the window, just cannot be beaten.
      :-)
      Now then, about these pictures of the Rum Cuillin...

      Delete
    2. It didn't sound like you were suffering much what with cake, beer and breakfasts being made for you at Cannich :-)

      Something on the Rum Cuillin will follow when I get back from the Lakes.

      Delete
    3. We have all had our struggles. Gibson. Lord Elpus summed it up rather well later on in the Challenge with "It's a good job we've met all these interesting people as our own company is piss-poor."

      Delete
  7. Good show. Meet any cads and bounders, up to no good?

    Affric good incidentally, obviously, see that.

    On The List now.

    As you were.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About three hundred of the blighters, Sir.
      All wandering about aimlessly carrying large bags about the place.
      Suspicious, if you ask me.
      Pip pip.

      Delete
  8. Well done. i want more. How was the rest of the trip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very kind, Thom.
      It was bloomin' brilliant, Sir. Three excellent sections to come - the Monadh Liath, Hills & Caochans, and Lesser-Walked Hills.
      :-)
      NB: If any of the Congregation read this, nip over to Thom's blog for a rip-roaring ride!
      :-)

      Delete
  9. πŸ˜‚ 'Challenge Bakes'. As I will be doing my Challenge on a bit of a budget there may only be one hotel stop so I imagine my Challenge Bake will be a rather 'yummy' offering! That video was splendid, not too shaky at al

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah. Washing your smalls and stuff in the B and B sink. Taking every step possible to get it dry. Hoping that no-one complains about the smell. The mystery hurty leg. It is all coming back to me now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're obviously a very, very nice man,
      Hoping that no-one complains about the smell.
      :-)

      Delete

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