Wednesday, 4 July 2012

TGO Challenge 2012: Day 5 - Drumnadrochit to Loch Ceo Glais where?  You might well ask.  Today was the day when things began to fall apart.

Over breakfast I shared my knee anxieties with PeterfromHolland and he suggested that instead of ploughing through the middle of those hills that shall not be named I detour round to the north, which would avoid a lot of bogs and height.  Brilliant!  I'd been fixated on either sticking to the original plan or throwing in the towel.  There was a third alternative (although I distinctly remember  my Latin master saying you could only have two of those things).  I needed to catch Gordon's 9.30 ferry but I also needed to get to the chemist to stock up on ibuprofen and a knee support thingy.  By the time I arrived at Temple Pier there was no boat to be seen.  I did waste 5 minutes at the other pier asking some Germans if there had been viele mensche mit grosser rucksacken bei hier heute morgan, a question which was met with some blank looks.  They probably didn't understand me because under pressure and an interval of 40+ years since I did the O level,  I'd forgotten that the proper sentance construction is time before place.

I rang Gordon and ascertained that the next ferry would be at 4pm or 3.30, if I could find Harry from Newcastle (who I'd met on the train up) and Jean Turner (who I knew only by name) to pass on the message.  This meant I had half a day to kill.  Back to Drum to sit in a tea shop.  It wasn't a great tea shop and I wasn't feeling great.  Everyone who was in town the previous day, we now across Loch Ness and heading east and I was stuck here with a swollen knee and losing time.  I spent a couple of hours designing a new route on the GPS, which isn't easy if you want to cover more than 2km x 3km on a MemoryMap 2800 screen.  It was going to add a bit of distance but I could still be in Aviemore on the day I'd originally planned - just rather later.  I phoned the route into John Manning and went to explore Drum some more.  I bumped into Harry and then I bumped into Jean and we all met up in Fiddlers cafe, which is much to be preferred to the other place by the green.  More coffee and comfort food and eventually the time came to walk back to Temple Pier.  Not a boat or a Gordon was to be seen.  Harry called him on the phone and he said he was on his way.  Phew.

Jean, Harry and me (looking slighly demented)

The boat ride was fun and Gordon was a goldmine of local knowledge.  Inverfarigaig can't really be said to have a pier.  Getting ashore is really quite sporting.

Gordon's boat leaving Inverfarigaig Pier

We walked up the hill with Harry and then Jean and I headed north along the road which roughly follows the line of the R Farigaig.  This was already a deviation from the route I'd phoned into TGO Control - oops.

We were following the Trail of the Seven Lochs, which Jean had picked up a leaflet for in her researches for what became her award TGO Challenge winning route.  It is a new trail, which seems to have been devised by someone sitting in an office in Inverness who'd probably never set foot on a hill in his or her life but I'm getting ahead of myself- we didn't find that out until the following day.  At this point all was splendid, walking in the warm, late afternoon sun, watching the curlew and chewing the fat about all sorts of stuff without making any attempt to set the world to right (Leave that to those that feel the urge, I say.  The world has a habit of doing what it wants over a long enough time span anyway).

We walked till about 7pm and found a half decent place to pitch a couple of tents, with a stream for fresh water, just at the southern end of Loch Ceo Glais .

Camp by the side of the B872
Jean lent me her Sony wind up, long wave radio and I caught an episode of The Archers (things weren't good with Ruth and David).  We were camped under a hill with a mast on it and I was able to exchange a few texts with the kids and friends.  The knee was bearable but I had a bit of a problem with a big toe nail, which had started to lift a little and was looking a bit of a menacing shade of blue/black.

Rainbow over Loch Ceo Glais

We'd walked about 5 miles from Inverfarigaig but with the new route, I was now probably 10 miles further from Jonshaven than I'd been at the start of the day. 

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