Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

TGO Challenge 2009 - Day 5 - Gairlochy Holiday Park to Tom Mor (Heathery camp at NN 369 873) - Not a Cloud in the Sky

Distance walked: 29.6 km
Metres ascent: 1166
Time taken including 2 hours 15 min stops: 10 hrs 25 mins
No of Challengers encountered: just yesterday's 4

"I don't snore" said Alan, pitching his tent beside Carole's last night. The snoring didn't disturb us unduly, but it was very evident. "It must have been me" confessed Alan, meekly. "Sorry."

Tonight we are back in the wilds, camped at 620 metres in a bed of heather with the sun beaming in. We will not be disturbed by Alan or anybody else's snoring. The nearest human is probably several miles away.

We enjoyed a speedy turnaround on this cloudless morning, rising at the same time as the others and getting away within an hour, at 7.40.

The scenic route to Spean Bridge - with views of Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis (see above) - sported fly pasts by curlew and oyster catchers and involved gaiters and a compass when we encountered bog and got mildly misplaced near an impassable stream by a disused railway line.
So by the time we stumbled into the 'Little Chef' we were well up for their Olympic Breakfast (me) and Early Starter (Sue). We are not accustomed to visiting this much maligned eatery, but today it did us proud.

As we left we bumped into Carole and the 3 Likely Lads, who, lacking in any sense of adventure, had walked down the road to Spean Bridge. They must have lingered for an hour at the camp site, despite having long days ahead.

Carole is a day behind her schedule and will adjust her route. We walked with them for 4 km to a point where their heavily signposted track led off south to Corrour, Rannoch and various other places not on our itinerary. They were good company while it lasted, and we enjoyed listening to Carole about her life as a crofter on the Isle of Lewis.

Above - Alan, Mike and Brian

The only other people we saw today were seven folk descending Beinn Teallach - some time later.

We passed this immaculate, deserted, remote white cottage by the south bank of the River Spean.

Meanwhile we enjoyed the leafy tracks that led eventually to a footbridge over the River Spean beyond Monessie, and the A86 road along which we endured 6 km. It wasn't too bad, as I discovered the road to be a 'hot spot' for a phone signal and internet access! A holiday was organised, and it was good to receive comments from Paul (yes, we were pleased with our route of descent to the River Carnach - we managed to avoid any serious difficulties), Louise, Nightbird, Stay at Home But Not For Long Hazel, Phil (we still don't know whether the 'stash' was located, "I bet he's pig sick he wasn't there" sympathises Sue), Bill/Alison and Martin. Sorry if we've forgotten anyone.

It was also good to hear from folk away from their computers in response to our limited circulation 'textblog'!

Yes, it's a wonder that we actually manage to take a daily stroll in between all these chores!

So the road walk soon passed. Beyond Burnside Cottage we headed north on a good path (compared with Knoydart) with only occasional bogs.

Remarkably, it's still a dry trip from the foot point of view, though Sue's are vying for attention with her painful shoulder.

Beinn Teallach was a doddle after the thrutch up Gulvain a couple of days ago, but the views were as fine, with snow-capped peaks in almost every direction.

On the way up we were treated to more low flying jets - one had tried to scalp us by Loch Arkaig yesterday - then a pair of black grouse seemed to be valiantly trying to imitate the jets, whilst a ptarmigan looked on, perplexed as ever.

A chill east wind had us donning fleeces and hurrying down to locate, at 6 pm, this dry but lumpy patch of heather near springs, about half a km 'off route'. It's not quite perfect, one of its flaws being that I am being dazzled by the low sun whilst composing this in the library (my small work station at the back of the tent).

The soup has been eaten (chicken and leek, but I don't think I got my share of the 0.9 grammes of protein) and the risotto is cooking - should be delicious.

Later: it was yummy, as was the butterscotch dessert.

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Elpus said...

Hi Chaps

Following the blog and enjoying my "armchair crossing" immensely!

You will be pleased to know that the stash was retrieved, despite inclement weather forcing the FWA to be adopted. Alan, a master of delegation, gave the directions to Caburn Camberlain. Amazingly this paragon turned up with the bottle (unopened) a few hours later at Gerry's Bunkhouse at Craig and it contributed to a merry fireside evening. All the party toasted your good health!

Sounds as though you're both having a spiffing time. Look forward to the next post.

Toodle pip


_ said...

I take it you managed to avoid the sleeping-bag wangers of Creag Meagaidh whilst at your last wild camp? Better known as Mad and Jim, the previous day's exertions on Beinn Teallach hadn't left them tired enough the following morning while we were striking camp -- in the same environs as your camp. Apparently, I was having a right royal faff (I ask you -- the cheek of it!), and my sleeping bag in its stuff sac (with handy wanging straps) was just too tempting. Several graceful arcs across the river later, and the inevitable happened. So it is that I have happy memories of climbing Creag Meagaidh in the sunshine, with my somewhat damp sleeping bag draped across my shoulders. Great to see you're getting some decent weather now. Looking forward to the next instalment!

alan said...

It was great meeting you two at Gairlochy Holiday park.We 3 likly lads had a great time on the crossing.It was sad it had to end.One thing I share a Tent with my No1 pal Mike and he never complains about my very infrequent low noise snoring.Hope to meet you both again.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Alan, it was good to meet you too, and to see the three of you enjoying the crossing so much.
See you next year?