Monday, 2 July 2012

TGO Challenge 2012 - Day 3: Glen Cannich to Bearnock

Apologies for long intermission.  I've been back to Scotland in the meantime.  So, where was I? 

Oh yes, I'd just been woken up by something cold and hard in my ear and the sound of a Whooper Swan.  How did a swan get in the tent and why was it sticking its beak in my ear?  OK, so it was the toggle on my sleeping bag.

Having now abandoned the delicious and largely nutrition free meal of soup and noodles to start the day, getting up and going was a somewhat quicker affair.  The outside world was rather grey and drizzley and the first thing I needed to do was get across the River Cannich.  I was under the impression that the 1:50k showed a bridge just upstream from where I was camped.  Actually looking at it now on the computer screen, blown up to something that an old bloke with increasingly crap eyesight can focus on, it is bloody obvious that it's a ford and not a bridge. 

River Cannich - to be crossed

So the day got off to a start with an unplanned paddle.  Then I  had to do battle with another gate fastener but after that the track though the forest was nothing short of really quite pleasant.  There were views of mist clung hills and birds of many varieties flitting around and about.  I crossed back over the river by a road bridge and took a track which should have avoided 2 km of road walking but after 1km I reached a gate supporting a fairly uncompromising, 'keep out' message.  Some rude words were uttered.  Then I spotted what looked like a fairly wide and braided bit of river just beyond and decided another paddle was the better part of discretion.  So back on the road and a brief photo stop above the falls of Eas an Fhithich and I was walking into Cannich before midday, half a day ahead of schedule. 

Eas An Fhithach

I wandered up and down the main street, checking out the facilities, which took about three minutes and went into a throughly run down looking cafe/bar/hotelly sort of place and had a thoroughly splendid steak and ale pie and a cup of hot coffee.  Peter from Holland came in as I was doing my Desperate Dan impersonation and we held a broken conversation between mouthfuls of cow and chips.  Peter mentioned that he was booked into a bunkhouse at Bearknock that night - or was it a bear house at bunk knock - I was only half listening. 

After settling the bill I set out into the rain and went in a generally westerly direction to turn onto the track into Kerrow Wood.  This turned out to look like a stage set for a re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme, made all the more convincing by the sheeting rain predicted by Mr Gloom and Doom 24 hours earlier (damn the man).  What I had expected to be a pleasant forest trail was in fact a new access road, bordered by large drainage ditches and fences, for use by both logging and pylon construction traffic.

Logging Road in Kerrow Wood

What a pleasant scene!

Cut down trees, put up a pylon

I completely missed the track to Loch Rhiabhachain and as I sat on a log scoffing some comfort food and pondering the map, a red squirrel ran past my feet.  The last time I'd seen one of these I was about three years old.  I was so excited I tweeted.  And then a bloke in a huge logging wagon stopped to ask if I was ok, which was nice of him, the more so because I'd half expected he was going to tell me I shouldn't be there.  Anyway, it was too far to go back to the junction, even assuming I could find it amongst the ditches and bomb holes, so I carried on down the logging road to the Cannich - Drum road.  I'd succeeded in covering just over two road miles in just under four and half.  If I carried on like this, it was going to take consideranly longer than planned to reach the coast.  My earlier euphoria was starting to ebb.

I plodded along the grass verge for a couple of miles, getting sprayed by every passing vehicle and musing on how much wetter, very wet feet could get.  I came across some road kill in the form of a small deer, which led me to consider if was possible to prepare venison stew with a very small swiss army penknife and a pocket rocket.  Well how hard could it be, for goodness sake?  And then Peter from Holland popped out of a side road muttering stuff about chambered cairns and bear pits in bunkers, so I followed him and ended up at a knocking shop with Bear Grylls.  One of us must have been hallucinating.  It had been a funny old day but I had a room to myself, large enough to accommodate a wet tent and wet clothes and a radiator to dry wet boots (oh there's nothing quite like the smell of incipient mildew) and a shower.  And that was when I discovered that instead of packing a small bottle of liquid soap from Rose at Backpackinglight, I had in fact packed a small bottle of Avon Skin So Soft cut with lavendar oil, which someone told me was just the thing for midgies when we did Knoydart two years ago.  As indeed it was - they'd loved it.

And that left just 125 miles to go.

1 comment:

Alan Sloman said...

A magical day then...
Come on man - we're waiting for the next day now....