Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Sunday, 21 May 2017

TGO Challenge 2017 - Day 9 - beyond Kenmore (NN 802 431) to beyond Amulree (NN 914 349)

Date: Saturday 20 May

Route: roughly as planned: minor road 5 km on from Kenmore > minor road E > Garrow (River Quaich) > track to Wester Shian > Auchnacloich > L to Turrerich > NE shore of Loch Freuchie > Wester Kinloch > Amulree > A822 > track to Girron > continue to grass by gate at NN 914 349

Distance: 18 km (Cum: 185)

Ascent: 310 metres (Cum: 7080)

Time taken: 5 hrs including 1 hr breaks

Weather: light rain overnight continued all day, intensifying into heavy showers

I woke up to a damp morning. The Lochan was doused in cloud, with visibility very limited up here at 500 metres.

After two hours of Morse (book 2 - Last Seen Wearing - was finished) and a slow breakfast I finally faced the rain and struck camp. Thanks to the tent's spacious interior it's easy to pack everything up indoors before taking the tent down.

I'd already done most of the day's climbing, so it was an easy stroll up to the top of the pass and a pleasant descent, with no traffic, into Glen Quaich.

The glen could be designated a nature reserve. It's absolutely full of birds - snipe, curlew, lapwing, oyster catcher - these were the commonest but there were also birds of prey and various medium/small birds that I couldn't identify. Ken and Anne would love it here. Rabbit would be on the menu for the birds of prey.

The glen is however marred by a battalion of huge power lines that march through it.

Beyond Turrerich Farm I stopped for a brief chat under a leafy canopy with three day walkers. Nearly every group of hikers you meet on this sort of trip know someone who has done the Challenge, which many recall as the Ultimate Challenge, from the days of its first sponsor. It's now in its 38th year.

After the very amenable path to the north of Loch Freuchie I drifted past some nice properties and into the hamlet of Amulree.

The place was a disappointment. It used to have both a hotel and a coffee shop. There was no sign of the latter, and the hotel was largely boarded up and in a state of serious disrepair. I sat under the porch and ate some mackerel and oatcakes next to a foundation stone dated 1714. To my surprise there must have been somebody inside, unless the hotel was somehow generating its own Moody Blues.

Setting off again into the rain, I passed the parish church that contains copies of records of the large number of people who stayed there prior to mass emigration - mostly to North Easthope, Canada - in the early 19th Century. The church is linked with Aberfeldy Parish Church. An interesting history "Amulree and its Church" was written by a resident Nancy Enniskillen in 1990.

Amulree is mentioned in the song Drover Road by the Western group Cowboy Celtic. Perhaps today's sad spot - albeit perhaps a haven for those who live there - had a lively past.

I was soon heading along a tussock lined path signed 'Harrietfield 7 miles', not that I'm going that far along it.

About a kilometre past Girron, as the skies blackened, a good patch of grass next to a gate forced a quick decision. The tent was up and the rucksack inside before the deluge arrived, soaking me as I pegged the tent out and chatted to a couple of curious dog walkers.

It was 2.30 and I am 3 km into tomorrow's route.

Despite the inclement weather I've enjoyed today. It's always interesting going on 'new' routes, and I've walked only a very small proportion of this year's route before. That's good!

Today's pictures: Looking down Glen Quaich, in Glen Quaich, the sad hotel, my tent with tomorrow's summit in view.

Dodgy signal here, so who knows when it'll post. Meanwhile Morse (book 3) calls - I'm glad I brought the Kindle.


afootinthehills said...

We drove that little road a couple of weeks ago on our way to do Shee of Ardtalnaig - the weather was gorgeous. Last year I climbed your hill of today after falling on its neighbour across the glen, Meall Reamhar, thinking I may have cracked a rib which I hadn't. Don't miss out Creag Ghorm - it's a Graham Top!

Amulree is not what it used to be though the hotel looked worse last year and someone was renovating it we thought.

Just listened to The Drover Road to Amulree.

I do love the area you're passing through Martin.

Gayle said...

Mick added his Kindle to his pack at the last minute and I think he has been glad to have it. He was also glad to only have a 14km day yesterday. I sat and did nothing until the rain finally gave way to blue skies at 8pm, whereupon I took a stroll - only to get caught in a rogue shower at the furthest point from shelter (harrumph!).

wuxing said...

Good to see the old Phreerunner still doing good service Martin!

Phreerunner said...

Gibson - oops I missed Creag Ghorm. Never mind! This is a lovely area, I agree - somewhat unexpectedly so, especially as it has rained.

Gayle - my Kindle was an afterthought really. I usually take a book of short stories but with this gentle route they would have run out long ago. I think Sue's Munro bagging required waterproof socks.

Nick - 30 years of regular use have only slightly diminished the Phreerunner. It's a much better tent than the Terra Nova I bought to replace it, admittedly partially thanks to a refurbishment that Terra Nova did on the Phreerunner a few years ago.

afootinthehills said...

If it makes you feel better, I missed it too because of the pain in my ribs! Easy for me to back though...

Paul Myerscough said...

The tent! It is different from the one I saw you in last which was one of the smallest. It is nice to have a bit of space indoors when the weather's not so great.

And its called Phreerunner! I thought this was just the name of a blog!

Paul Myerscough said...

O no! I just realised I've caught you up! Thanks for the trip so far Martin!

Phreerunner said...

Well done on catching up, Paul. The Terra Nova tent was possibly bigger than the Phreerunner. They both sleep two if necessary and Sue and I did some long trips in the Phreerunner before we got a Nallo. I prefer the Phreerunner configuration. It's more comfortable for cooking and more flexible for sleeping. The Bankfoot Inn is also very comfortable and has excellent Hogs Back rehydration fluid!

Anonymous said...

Gayle's right. I have used my waterproof socks for two days now and my feet have been lovely and dry! Judging by the description of bogs on tomorrow's foray, I think they will be out again!

Phreerunner said...

We'll have to get some waterproof boots for you then Sue! My sealskinz socks haven't been needed. Yet another Challenge using just one pair of socks plus liners for evenings.