Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 16 May 2009

TGO Challenge 2009 - Day 8 - The Dalwhinnie Inn to a copse near Lochan a' Ghaorra (NN 761 832) - Hare Hill

Distance walked: 27.8 km
Metres ascent: 1040
Time taken including 30 min stops: 8 hrs 30 mins
No of Challengers encountered: 4 - just as we reached our camping spot

This morning I was bragging to Martin Donaldson about our morning brew stops (half an hour for elevenses) and our lengthy lunch breaks of up to an hour. Today's breaks, however, were minimal as we chose a high level route on a cold blustery day with showers.

Not stopping much does have its advantages. Arriving here two and a half hours ahead of schedule enabled us to get set up before the onset of the storm that is currently raging outside.

I am happy in the library whilst my chef is busy in the conservatory. The only problem is that the Provisioning Manager faces the sack - it's chicken (flavoured) and leek soup again. Oh, and the tent is having a flap - she doesn't like the wind!

We were expecting bad weather today, so are pleased to have had no problems on our planned route, with views from both Munro summits, and to have remained warm (except Sue's hands) and dry.

Fuelled by a full breakfast, we fairly flew up Carn na Caim this morning, stopping only to note a slug and wood sorrel zone around 700 metres. (Your wildlife reporter is desperate for content today!)


Top: setting off up Carn na Caim
Middle: the view back to Dalwhinnie
Bottom: on Carn na Caim summit, with the Munro Top of Glas Mheall Mor in the distance

No deer, few birds, but hey! There were hares. Lots of them. And rabbits. All quite well camouflaged apart from their blobby white tails.

The hills were alive. With hares.

After being on the tops above 800 metres for well over 3 hours we were pleased to drop down to below 500 metres in the deserted valley that houses Edendon Water - just a trickle today.

Sronphadruig Lodge was sadly derelict and deserted - crying out for a change of name and a new owner.

It seemed very remote as we pressed on along a faint path beside Loch an Duin.

A cyclist had been along here, mostly pushing I expect.

Soon the fresh whitewash of the impressive house of Gaick Lodge came into view and we knew our work for the day was nearly done. As we approached our planned camping spot four figures appeared - Heather T-S, John Burt, Peter Kenyon and Barbara Sanders, all on a different route from Dalwhinnie - low level apart from Heather, who had been up Meall Chuaich - a hill that I have rudely suggested doesn't need a Foul Weather Alternative. Heather may disagree!

Heather, John, Peter, Barbara, Sue and Martin - a Very Jolly Encounter

We found this nice spot (given the current flapping 'sheltered' would be an optimistic description) in the lee of a sparse copse.


The others pressed on, three of them (including Peter) sporting 'boob bags' from which they dangle their vitals (or should that be 'vittals') for the day. We hope they got pitched before the stormy weather soaked them.

That's it for today, but who knows when anyone will read this, or when this weather will abate. Will we need a Foul Weather Alternative? Will Sue's body relent, and allow her to continue? (It was the hip today, and the achilles, but happily her back, shoulder and feet are not so painful now; however, her knee is playing up. I think she's going for a 'full house'!)

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