Wednesday, 17 May 2017
TGO Challenge 2017 - Day 5 - Tyndrum to Allt Challuim (NN 400 332)
Route: FWA as planned: Tyndrum > West Highland Way > Kirkton Farm > start up Beinn Challuim path to 500 metres > contour W of Beinn Challuim > Bealach Ghlas-Leathaid , > E to wild camp by Allt Challuim at NN 400 332
Distance: 14 km (Cum: 101)
Ascent: 520 metres (Cum: 3970)
Time taken: 5.5 hrs including 1 hr breaks
Weather: showery at first, vile at 500 metres, clearing mid afternoon
I delayed my departure from Tyndrum as long as possible, finding excuses to faff with anything possible. By the time I left the cabin at 9.45, it had just about stopped raining. Waterproofs went on and off like a campervan's kettle for a couple of hours.
The path out of Tyndrum was more scenic and interesting than yesterday's. A bare area served as a reminder of the lead mining that took place here, desecrating the countryside.
A pleasant woodland path then led to the Lochan of the Lost Sword, where Robert the Bruce and his army are reputed to have thrown their weapons, including Robert the Bruce's huge Claymore, after their defeat at the nearby battle of Dalrigh in 1306. No weapons have been found so the story is probably just a tourist attraction.
The field of the Battle of Dalrigh was passed (a field of grass), soon after which I came across a sign down a side track 'Artisan Café 3 mins'. It took me five minutes, but the diversion was well worth it for the latte and carrot cake served in an old chapel with Ken Bruce's dulcet tones in the background.
My excuse for eating more cake was founded on a plan to climb Beinn Challuim. After meeting a few WHW walkers I passed through Auchtertyre, where Strathfillan Wigwams appear to be thriving. According to Aaron (Day 1) an en-suite wigwam is now available for around £20,000 should you want one. It's his dad's business.
Just before Kirkton Farm the remains of St Fillan's Priory are represented by a disappointing pile of moss covered stones. My path left the WHW here and passed a couple of neatly maintained cemeteries before crossing the railway and embarking on the major ascent of the day.
There were two walkers ahead of me, strangely carrying no rucksacks at all. I caught up with them. "Charles!"
Yes, I'd found my first Challengers since parting with Aaron on day 1. Charles had taken both his and Di's bags further up the hill and had come back down to walk with her. He must be walking nearly three times as far as Di! They were planning to contour around Beinn Challuim and head into Glen Lochay to camp. After a chat, I left them to it and headed on up the hill.
Lunch was taken at 12.45 at about 500 metres. Conditions were vile - strong gusts of wind and a deluge of rain in a cloud with only a few metres visibility. If it's like this here, what will it be like at 1000 metres?
I didn't bother to find out. This was where my FWA should kick in if needed, and I decided it was needed. The cloud soon cleared to just above my head and the contouring was relatively easy despite a few gullies, and complaints from my left foot concerning the stresses being placed on its left side due to contouring across a steep slope.
Beinn Challuim is noted as a habitat of Northern Green Rush or Sedge, which may be rare. I wouldn't know it if I saw it, but I wonder whether a metal cage on the hillside might have anything to do with it.
The bealach was attained and it was an easy, if pathless, walk beside the river to this excellent spot, where I arrived at 3.15.
As I was pitching the tent the rain stopped and the sun came out, so I've had a pleasurable afternoon beside the babbling river with a good view of the nearby hills.
I keep hearing 'voices' but it's just the river 'babbling'.
During dinner (pasta sauce with tuna twists) a large military aircraft flew over, seemingly just a few feet above me.
Today's pictures: an excuse for cake, typical WHW path, camp, view from tent to Meall Glas.