Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Sunday, 10 May 2009

TGO Challenge 2009 - Day 1 - Mallaig to Allt a Choire Odhair (680 metres) - Socialising in Knoydart

Distance walked: 13.3 km
Metres ascent: 1107
Time taken including 1 hour stops: 5 hrs 50 mins
No of wet feet: 2 damp (Sue)

After the walk back to our B+B I dreamt of a Smart car being blown from the roadside into the path of a car ahead! At least it wasn't a dream about being blown off a mountain!

By this morning the weather had relented sufficiently to dispel our first fear, as we watched from the breakfast room our Bruce Watt ferry being readied for action.


By the time we reached the Old Forge at Inverie we had got to know all of the 16 challengers who disembarked after a not too bumpy ride. A box of Sue's CCS was soon demolished, and whilst nine of us enjoyed the last beer etc we would see for several days, Robert dashed off on a mammoth day's hike, whilst Bill and Brian savoured the attractions of the tea shop. The others must have simply set off into their worlds of solitude.


We set off at noon. The path up to Mam Barrisdale was quite busy, as we met folk returning for lunch back in Inverie. The pub provides sumptuous fare such as 'Loch Nevis Hand Dived Scallops - £17.95', and several Challengers had been seduced by this mouth watering opportunity.


Our own lunch of rather more prosaic seafood (tinned mackerel) was taken at Torcuileainn, an agricultural building with a leaky roof. We were just about to set up our stove outside when the smell of corned beef caused us to explore further. At the back of the shack, on a concrete floor under a sound roof, sat Bill and Brian and a couple of lads on a three day backpack.

We squeezed into the small room and enjoyed lunch and a chat whilst a blustery shower raged outside.

Bill and Brian kept us company up to Mam Barrisdale, from where they headed out of the gale and down into Barrisdale. Meanwhile, Sue and I trudged up the boggy path, following the fence posts for a little too long then heading back up to the ridge and on to the summit of Luinne Beinn by soon after 5 pm.


We almost got a view. The squally showers were gradually fading in intensity, with a cloud ceiling as high as 900 metres at times. We were comfortable in the waterproofs we'd been wearing for most of the day, but it was not a time for hanging around.

The east and south sides of the hill were plastered with slippery snow down to around 800 metres. (On the western slopes it had blown off.). So with a couple of rock bands to negotiate as well, great care was exercised in descending to our home for the night - a windy col at around 680 metres, where it took a good half hour to find a spot and erect the old Nallo on a dry patch surrounded by wetness (including a convenient stream). We are out of practice!


There's a fine view, but no chance of a phone signal. And we aren't really paying much attention to the view, as it's a bit wet and windy outside, the showers having merged into each other. Sue is cooking up a fine meal, as we reflect on our good fortune with today's weather, which was the best for several days around here.

A rare occasion, when our day went exactly as planned!

Later: the Nallo seems to be withstanding a pretty thorough 'wet wind tunnel' test.

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