Route: More or less as planned
See http:/www.topwalks.com/tgoc2013.html Day 1 for map
Distance: 23km (Cum 23)
Ascent: 1150 metres (Cum 1150)
Time taken: 8 hrs including 1.4 hrs stops
Weather: sunny for the first couple of hours, then gradually wetter.
Challengers encountered: none after leaving the start. In fact I've seen nobody since 10am this morning.
An interesting first day. I was first of the ten Plockton starters to sign out - spot on 9 o'clock on a perfect sunny morning. I left John, Sue, Jane, Graham and Tina to their breakfasts. Sadly Louise, although reportedly in Plockton, wasn't about so it'll probably be a while before we meet up.
Andrew kindly guided me out of town along his favourite lochside path beside the shimmering waters of Loch Carron. Then I was on my own. All day.
After an easy start past beds of wood sorrel and chirping birds, the section of jungle beyond Loch Achaidh na h-Inich came as a bit of a shock. It wasn't the first non existent path on today's map. After muscling my way through the dense forest and locating a lovely old forest path that circumvented some forest operations, I came upon the sight of Auchtertyre Hill directly in front of me.
I can't say I would recommend climbing Auchtertyre Hill from the west. If you do choose that route, take care. The contours are very close together. The heather is deep and much of it had recently been burnt. When I was half way up it started to rain. Now both my walking gear and my waterproofs are streaked with black lines from the charred heather. If I encounter anything harder than the steep gully near the top on this trip I'll be even more out of my comfort zone.
The view from the summit would have been better if it hadn't been raining.
It was much easier on the other side, though the 60 metre ascent of the day's second hill, Maol Mor, was pretty abrupt.
The route I'd chosen followed that of the old A890, when it was single track. It's amazing how things can change so much. Bushes - Juniper perhaps - presented an impenetrable barrier at times. Progress was slow, but road walking was avoided.
Then came an easy 5km of forestry track, with wrens, cuckoos and small warblers in attendance as well as the ubiquitous chaffinches.
That section ended all too soon, when the ongoing route beyond point 7 on the map (see link above) proved to be absent from the ground. So I batttled through some more jungle and then wandered up to an unplanned high point of the day, the 486 metre summit of Carn nan Iomairean.
After admiring the diminishing views, I trotted down to Loch nan Gillean and by 5pm was putting the new tent up in increasingly heavy rain. Having chosen a spot with a view, the cloud came down and I can't see a thing.
It proved a good time to stop. I'm having a pleasant evening in the tent, which luckily and most surprisingly has 'phone reception.
Alan R - S3 spell checker?
Sent from my TNSC2's first wild camp at NG 922 355