Route: FWA more or less as planned
See http:/www.topwalks.com/tgoc2013.html Day 3 for map - FWA (foul weather alternative) continues beside Loch Monar to Monar Lodge then goes west over Beinn na Muice to a wild camp near a waterfall
Distance: 22km (Cum 70)
Ascent: 980 metres (Cum 3580)
Time taken: 9.75 hrs including 1.4 hrs stops
Weather: overnight rain (it was raining on the couple of occasions I woke up) then fine but grey, with rain from the south west obviously going to arrive, which it duly did around 3pm
Challengers encountered: Sue Moore, by Loch Monar, the only person I saw all day
The familiar sound of raindrops on nylon was no encouragement for an early start. But eventually a brew was on and the familiar morning routine was under way.
I left the fine site at 8am and took a circuitous route to Loch Monar to avoid any tricky river crossings. The plan worked - there were no 'incidents' today.
Loch Monar (pictured this morning in the brightest part of the day) is quite long. It took me 6 hours to walk the 14 km to Monar Lodge. Any semblance of a path was occasional and vague. The whole day was like that, hence a rather slow pace.
Sue Moore was standing on the path waiting for me. We chatted briefly. She was doing the Challenge to chill out from work, etc for a couple of weeks. Quite a few do that, I think. I left her to her contemplations and continued my traipse on along the path, punctuated by a couple of brew stops and some easy river crossings on slippery rocks. Walking poles came in handy.
From the south and the west some very ominous weather seemed to be approaching us at little more than walking pace. Waterproofs went on and off. It soon became apparent that my planned fine weather route was not a sensible option.
Monar Lodge was surrounded by road building equipment, and a road leading nowhere. I suspect previous residents of these parts may not have approved. Much has changed since Iain R Thompson (Isolation Shepherd) was here.
The little hill I chose for my FWA turned out to be a bit of a brute. Very steep up and down, with a nice little summit ridge that seemed longer and narrower than it actually was due to the debilitating gusts of wind.
I thought it would be easy to find a good spot to camp, but the terrain below was a medley of stones and heather in a sea of bog. I'm currently at NH 234 401, near a waterfall. The best I could manage.
The rain eased for a while and the weather cleared to reveal fresh snow on the summits. It's raining again as I conclude this latest episode. It's a shame I've had to duck out of the main Strathfarrar ridge, as my route from now on could be regarded as a gentle amble.
Sent from a rare place in Scotland - one with a phone signal