Thank the Lord, Thank the Lord!
The weather was looking OK, and we could get back onto the planned route.
Well, for today anyway.
On the down side, Dave had decided to withdraw.
Big swollen knee and shredded undercarriage meant that each landing was painful.
He was going to spend the day resting and then depending upon how he felt, he would get the train from Spean Bridge to Corrour, and walk up the line to the party.
We had breakfast at the B&B, said see you later today, and set off down past the shop, to the open road (Oh please God, No more bloody roads), and to the Larrig Leacach, and hence Corrour.
As we rounded the corner past the shop and headed up the short hill, a man came out of a B&B carrying a rather large rucksack. It had to be a challenger, and it was.
Sandy Millar, the man I had sold my old Red Laser Competition Tent to.
I waved, hoping that the old tent had done him proud.
He waved back (all was good), and we walked together up the hill.
We were three again.
Not the same three, but three.
Memo to self ... Must not break another one ok.
Sandy is made of sterner stuff, and has done a bit in the hills.
He was not going to let a little weather worry him, that was for sure.
|Al and Sandy in the distance.|
Walking up the start of the track proper after Corriechoile
Snow capped mountains beckon
OK, as I do!
It was a comfort adjustment.
What can I say. Fundamentally a bloke thing.
I had seen Dave's undercarriage and lived to tell the tale (even though mentally scarred), and I was taking absolutely no chances.
At this point, I should maybe mention Cocoa Butter Vaseline.
One of the key ingredients in smooth running on cold and wet, or hot and sweaty days, you cannot beat a liberal application of the old Vaseline.
If, and I say IF, you get to the point where you have to break out the Sudacreme, then the damage is done.
Now, back before the day, I had gone to Tesco, or the equivalent to pick up a small tin of the old nether precautions.
Normally, my preference is for standard blue.
But woe alas, they had sold out.
Not wanting an enormous Antarctic Expedition size pot, I had a choice
Aloa Vera (Green), Strawberry (Red) or Cocoa Butter (Brown)
So, what's a bloke to do eh?
Aloa Vera? Don't want things too soft and fragrant
Strawberry? I mean, come on!
So, Cocoa Butter it was to be!
There, I've said it. (Before Slowman remembers and puts his own twist on the story)
And thus, all sorted, dressed correctly and comfortable I rapidly followed on the same track.
As we strode along, we generally chatted, about stuff.
Make it up, I have no idea what it was about.
A few photo's may have been taken, and from time to time we stopped rested the old feet, and just admired the view.
The weather was quite good, although cold.
|I should have taken a picture of the plate as well.|
The statue is a copy of an original stone statue of the 'Wee Minister', said to bring good luck to travellers
This is a more recent wooden version of a much older statue that existed in the same area many years ago. Local folklore has it that the original was destroyed by the estate manager at the time when he was annoyed by a tourist enquiry to his office as to the exact location of the statue. Infuriated he instructed its demolition.No idea whether that is true or not.
From a distance it looks like a person.
We had met several hill walkers on route on their way out to do a round of the Grey Corries.
All rather resplendent in snow, and this had been the first day and possibly the only day for a while that they might be without snow or cloud.
We had little intention of going quite that high with great big packs.
|View of the Grey Corries on route|
The track carries on all the way to the bothy, where we stopped for lunch.
As we got here, there were several flurries of snow, and it looked like the weather might turn.
It certainly got bloody cold, and we sat in side for lunch.
Outside a couple of German Walker's were busy filtering water through some large pump mechanism into there bottles.
So I scooped mine out of the water and drank it.
Seemed ok to me, not sure what the fuss was all about.
We had a good lunch stop for about 40 minutes
|Al and Sandy at the Bothy|
|Inside the bothy (courtesy Sandy Millar)|
As we left the bothy we met and Ken and Norma Proudler.
We mentioned the party, and then had to leave.
It was getting a bit colder, so we now had warm stuff and gloves on.
The track just after the bothy is rather wet and a bit indistinct in places.
Once it becomes the LRT, it then becomes large and rocky and boggy.
Many years ago, this was quite a nice meandering track.
Now with the advent of never ending 4x4 tracks across Scotland, it has been become far less scenic.
Luckily, the surrounding landscape is still the same.
We carried on this track for quite some time.
Not a lot to be said, you are NOT going to get lost on it.
Somewhere around the second set of waterfalls I think (Al will correct me, he normally does :)
), we stopped for a brief water refill.
Al at the moment does need frequent short stops.
Anyway, frequent short stops are good for you, and we needed to make up for the lack of stops on Day 3.
We sat by the stream and had a short break.
I scooped another few mugs of water out of the nearby stream.
Now, this brings me to PROTEIN!
As I got to the last little mouthful, I noticed something small and black swimming around in the bottom of the cup.
I am not sure exactly what it was.
I flung the water out, and when I looked it was still there clinging to the bottom.
I flushed it out properly this time before refilling the cup.
This time it was clean and I finished up my re hydration.
So, what was it?
Not sure, I guess I should have taken a picture.
Then again, do I really want to know?
There are 2 schools of thought on this
1. It was a small black water shrimp
2. It was a small black leech.
Personally I think it may well have been a leech.
AND.... The Hundred Dollar questions?
Was that the only one?
If NOT, where are the others now?
Whose seen ALIEN?
So, if at some point you see me having some form of convulsions, stand well back
And.....back to the story.........
Twas a long, long way to the other end and Loch Trieg.
But it was a very nice walk.
We went from Cold, to Hot, to no need for waterproofs, to rain, to warm again.
|(courtesy Sandy Millar)|
The details of all of this will be explained correctly at some point in Al's Blog
Near Easan Dubh, there is a lovely little rocky gully that we descended.
|All at the bottom as sandy and I came down.|
This picture does not really do this justice.
It quite an enchanting little fairy grotto.
Ok no fairies (or are there?)
The path here, is quite wet and slippery, or at least it can be.
I suddenly found myself doing a rather fine and extended glissade down the slope, followed by a 540 pirouette. If it had not been for the landing, which involved one side, the bottom of the rucksack, and my arse, I would have expected at least 9/10.
But I had a full 1 litre platypus bladder of a fine Australian Chardonnay to save, and so falling fully on the back of the rucksack would have been indefensible.
So I took the hit for the sake of the many.
Luckily, all was good, with both me and the wine, and we quickly, but cautiously made our way down to the shelter of an old half collapsed tin roofed outbuilding, where the two Germans were waiting. (Not an ambush ok)
The rain quickly passed, and Al decided to stop for a chocolate and drink snack.
He may have been hungry, or it may have been bridge phobia.
We will never know.
The sun began to come out (briefly), and we headed on over the bridge.
|Al survives another rail free bridge.|
If I had had a descent zoom lens I could have shown you the fear on the other side
It looked like small polystyrene filling, but a lot more painful.
|The view just before the storm hit us.|
You can see the other set of storm clouds just in the distance.
Indeed, the climb from the Loch to Corrour is quite steep, and a bit relentless at the end of the day.
Last time I had been round here was back in 2005, when I had walked from Fort William to Loch Ossian in a day. (DON'T ).
I had forgotten what a sting this was at the end of the day.
This was an up hill bit, and Sandy and I started to pull away from Al.
His 50cc moped engine (49cc to be correct) does not do steep hills well at present.
He will of course be back to normal when he eventually gets the new Kawasaki 900 replacement. Here's hoping :)
So we matched on, and on, and on, and on until at last we approached the railway arch and the first signs of life.
The wonderful Val and her husband, had arrived earlier, and set up party camp.
A balloon on the corner of the bridge, and also round the corner.
As we went under the railway bridge, they were just walking back.
We stopped for a chat, explained Al was on his way, and then headed on round to set up camp.
Al arrived shortly after
Tents were quickly set up, and sleeping stuff stashed ready.
|Treeza had her best party frock on and was ready to boogie|
It was PARTY TIME!
The weather provided a nice sprinkling of ice and snow, that fell into our glasses as we drank.
It was not a lot of snow (yet), but it helped chill the Champagne rather well
|Treeza surrounded by ice balls.|
Most had melted away by the time I took this.
She has a great arse doesn't she!
At first we thought it may be an enormous entourage of Challengers, but it was a group of students, possibly DofE on their way to Loch Ossian YHA.
Can I say that?
Nay, should I say that?
Then Ken and Norma Proudler arrived.
"Are you going to stay for the party?" we all asked.
Ken said "NO", they were going to push on a couple of miles.
The look on Norma's face implied she was not in full agreement with this.
"Come on", we said "It's a party, you have to stay"
And of course they did.
I mean, why wouldn't you.
So Food and wine was broken out,
I dug out my little X Mini portable speaker
(worth every penny of the weight, and the cost),
Ken attached his I Phone
Val broke out the food, to which we added cheese and bread, and several litres of wine.
Dave turned up from Corrour and put up his tent
The party was on and all was good with the world.
|Val prepares the party spread|
|Loverly Jubbly (As Del boy would say)|
|Party Folk getting in the groove|
|Picture Courtesy Sandy Millar|
It was another great party night.
In fact, it was probably the best party night yet.
This one is going to be hard to beat, if it can be beaten.
Next time we will need to get Val to do the outside catering again.
COLD, but BRILLIANT!
Here are a couple of scenic views taken during the evening from the party site.
|Moody distant clouds|
|Just a wonderous view as dusk descended on us|
The party ran for quite some time it has to be said.
There was NOT a lot left at the end.
Indeed, all the wine had gone, and there was at least 4 litres of that, plus the Champagne, plus the ½ bottle of Glayava that Al had.
Eventually however, all things must come to an end, and it was time for bed.
It was to say the least damned cold.
This was a night for sleeping in your down gear.
Especially my down booties (bliss)
By 3.00 am when I woke, there was a thick film of ice on the tent.
All the ground was crisp.
In an ideal world, I would not have to go out for a pee.
But I was and may never be willing to pee into a bottle, so I wandered out into the crisp moonlit night.
It may well have frozen as it hit the ground.
I did not stay to watch.
I was back in my tent in a flash (see the double innuendo in that).
It was cold, not much of a flash.
And I slept well!
Amos Lee (Truth Live)