Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Saturday 10 May - TGOC Day 2 - A 12.5 km Ridge - Ridge Camp to Cluanie Inn

Sue on the ridge - misty but warm

Actual: 18km, 1282 metres ascent
Again, the route was exactly as planned, time 8 hours 25 mins including 1 hour 55 mins stops.
No of Challengers seen: 2 - a Skipp and a Boston, both heading west. Scary!

Yesterday two folk passed by late on, as we were washing up. We assume they had done the whole ridge. They should have made it down just before dark.
We felt good to be high on the ridge in excellent camping weather - no wind, no midges, no ticks, no cuckoos, a blanket of cloud to keep us warm, and fine views. We didn't envy these people. Nor did we envy Robert Slade, who we met yesterday and who intended to do the whole ridge then. We had noticed him start by heading up the path to The Saddle, then he joined the correct path by a devious route, before thrutching up the steep hillside rather than follow the well graded stalkers path on which we encountered him for the last time.
More haste, less speed, is a phrase that comes to mind.
We wish Robert well and hope that his misplacements remain minor.

A short walk from camp last night revealed a spectacular gash in the hillside as we looked down towards the coast - brilliant.

Despite dire warnings about the possible lack of water on the ridge, I was always confident about our camping spot being well supplied. As it was, we pitched just close enough to the stream to be lulled to sleep, but not so close that it kept us awake.

The morning seemed bright, but closer inspection revealed that we were engulfed in a cloud. By the time we struck camp at 8am we were still in the cloud, but it was warm and windless so t-shirts were soon deployed.

As we approached the first Munro summit of the day two lads from Dunfermline caught us up and joined us for a chinwag with a ptarmigan on the summit. This seemed to disorientate them. After 20 minutes they set off in the direction from which they had arrived!
'Hang on, shouldn't you be going this way?' We pointed to our own line of departure.
We set off whilst they had a great debate, hunched over their map and compass. Ten minutes later they passed us again.
'You'll be pleased to learn that you're heading in the right direction', they informed us before disappearing into the mist in search of Dave Skipp (on our instructions, of course).

By the time we reached our third Munro of the day the mist was clearing and we had views towards both Cluanie and Glen Quoich. We spotted a figure coming towards us.

'Going to Montrose?' It asked.
'Yes, Roger, and you?'
'Of course!'
'Do you realise you're going the wrong way, Roger?'
'Oh'
'Yes!'
'Well I have this gadget' -points to big orange box called 'Spot' on his breast plate - 'All I have to do when I get lost is press this button and a helicopter will come and rescue me.'
'So it tells you where you are?'
'No, it tells someone in America where I am and they arrange for me to be rescued' - 'Don't be silly, if I knew where I was I wouldn't need to be rescued, would I?'
'No, why don't you get a GPS?'
'Good idea.'
And so, after accusations of Dave Skipp, who we had expected to meet, having 'nicked my route' this mutant form of Dave Skipp, known as Roger Boston, headed off happily towards the west coast.
(Scuse the poetic licence, Roger, we know you were in full control!)

The weather cleared further and we enjoyed a lunch with a view from the lofty vantage point of Aonach air Chrith.
A lone figure slowly toiled up the hill towards us from the east.

'Hello Dave'
'Yes I know, I'm going the wrong way, those lads from Dunfermline told me!'
'Good, Roger's also going the wrong way and he's just ahead of you.'
'Who's Roger?'
'He's that strange man from Elgin - he's just ahead of you.'
'I had a litre of whisky but I drank a lot of it last night.'
'That's probably why Roger's overtaken you then!'
'Who's Roger?'
...and so we left Dave to enjoy his 'wrong way round' skip to Montrose.

They were the only two Challengers seen today. After the encounter with Dave we saw a few day walkers, one group of whom obediently waited for us to exit a narrow section of the ridge, then politely doffed their caps as we went by.
Wow!

Then we passed an elaborately drawn arrow - the lads from Dunfermline later told us they had drawn it to save us from getting lost - and a carefully drawn message in the mud from Dave, imaginatively entitled 'Hi Martin'.

More pictures from the superb ridge - what a contrast between the 'phone camera and the Canon S70!

The descent to Cluanie was tedious but direct, and thankfully uneventful.

We dutifully checked in with Roger Smith at TGO Control before sinking into a hot bath, a sumptuous meal, and a comfy bed, in roughly that order.

We head into Affric tomorrow, probably outside the great Orange empire, so you may not hear from us for a while (apart from our automated route plans, which may get out of phase with our daily reports).

Bye for now!

Next day: Day 3
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2 comments:

Theo said...

Hi Martin & Sue,

good story, but...err, it sounds a bit like those people driving on the wrong side of the road saying everybody else is driving on the wrong side ! Are you sure you're heading east ? If that's were Montrose is :-)
Theo

AktoMan said...

LOL - hilarious report.