Tuesday, 3 July 2012

TGO Challenge 2012 - Day 4: Bearnock to Drumnadrochit

I slept the sleep of a tired person in the steaming and slightly fettid atmosphere of a room with the central heating on full.  When I walked into the dining room at about 8 the next morning, I found Peter from Holland deep into a heavy counselling session with two Italians.  It seemed there had been some sort of falling out between them and their Scottish partner the previous night in the pub in Cannich. 

I only had 7 miles to walk on this day, with the promise of another comfy bed in a hotel, so it was a leisurely start and by the time I set off it had stopped raining.  I stupidly asked some workmen at the roadside for directions into the forest, instead of believing the map, and ended up doing another 2 miles along the road but if I had gone the other way I would probably have missed the sign on a gate which read, 'Highland Cattle - Cows with Horns'.  It made me think of this...




 It started to rain again as I picked up the forest track but it was a brief shower and the sun came out and all was well with the world.  That is all was well apart from the nagging pain in my right knee. Loch Ness came into view. Woohoo.


Loch Ness from the forest above Drumnadrochit

As I descended down through the woods looking for the shortcut past the fort I'd been told about, I realised I was being followed by a couple I recognised as fellow bloggers.  It was Mick and Gayle - going for a walk.  So we continued together to locate the illusive path and with my GPS loaded with OS maps and Gayle's superior tracking skills we managed to find a barbed wirte fence to climb over onto a very muddy track heading in the general direction of Drum.  It wasn't actually the right track, as we realised when we got to the bottom and saw a far less muddy one running parallel to it.

I parted company with M&G as they turned in the direction of the Co-op and I headed into 'town' to the hotel, my right knee now hurting quite a bit more from the descent.  I didn't make it to the hotel in one go.  I bumped into PeterFromHolland who despite leaving Bearnock after me had arrived first.  He had just booked himself into the same hotel, having blagged some cheap deal on a room because their bunkhouse had closed three years earleir (or something like that).  Next, I spotted the three Scotsman sitting in a pub and since it was lunchtime and I was in no rush, it seemed unfriendly not to go and join them.  And it was a good call as the barman was handing out free whisky to Challengers so it seemed uncharitable not to stay and sample the steak and ale pie they served (purely by way of a market analysis).  I can report that it was a fine pie but perhaps not quite as good as the one in Cannich.

The rest of the day was spent lying on the bed in the hotel, popping ibuprofen and blathering my knee in biofreeze gel to reduce the swelling.  This didn't seem like a good state to be in before heading off onto the next section of the walk (into the mountains that shall not be named) and 118 miles still to be walked.

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