Today's music is back to the Blues (cos I can) :)
Curses, I have just been overtaken by JJ.
He just posted 6 and 7 and now 8, and Mr Sloman has beaten me to 6 as well.
Back to the story..........................
It was NOT an early start, but neither was it late.
I cannot remember if I was on time or not, but that is unlikely although not unheard of.
Lateness of departure is an issue, and costs me a lot of beer and tea bribes to Al.
Actually, there is quite a lot in my life I cannot remember nowadays.
I can remember my early childhood though.
Is this a bad sign?
And there is the mindless rambling as well.
Where was I?
We got up.
Said goodbye to Dave (he may have been going to Braemar, you'll have to wait).
Said goodbye to Ken and Norma (briefly)
Said Goodbye to Sandy
Said goodbye especially to Val and Dave
Attached enormous balloons to our rucksacks (ok not that enormous)
(But Val said we had to, and we were not going to argue)
|Me at some point, with Balloons attached.|
They did make it back, but not in that condition.
In fact they were quite deflated at the end
A bit like me.
(Picture courtesy Al)
I like Loch Ossian, it is very pretty.
We could see Ken and Norma in the distance.
They took the newer LRT across towards the YHA.
Al and I took the older boggier track.
It was shorter, but really next time I will stick with the nice new dry track.
|View as we approached the Loch|
|Another Loch view|
|Ken and Norma just before they left to go along the loch|
They were off along the south shore and over to Culra Bothy.
Al and I were going to follow the 'Road to the Isles' track South for a day.
Photos taken we headed off.
They on their nice flat walk, and we headed up.
Almost immediately, we had to circumnavigate a large boggy area.
As we watched there were also clouds of rain moving in on us.
Meandering round bog, and intermittent rain was going to be a recurring theme for the day.
But we will come back to that.
This is a day, on which I should have taken a lot more photo's
I am hoping that I can crib some from Al.
|Rocky pools on the way up|
The walk up to Peter's Rock was very boggy and slippery.
At some point going up, I twisted my knee a bit, which was hurting.
It was the left knee, which was the dodgy one.
The one with the most shock absorber removed.
I was also in need of a toilet stop.
Not a short toilet stop.
We could see the rain and sleet moving towards us across the loch as we climbed.
It did not last long, and we were lucky, as you can see from the photo's.
We stopped for a rest near Peter's Rock.
This bit has been added courtesy Martin Banfield
"In Memory of Peter J Trowell
Born Sept 1949 -- Died March 1979
At Loch Ossian
I have a friend a song and a glass
Gaily along life's road I pass
Joyous and free out of doors for me
Over the hills in the morning"
And Al and I both clambered up the hill into nothingness
in opposite directions for a 'rest break'.
What a relief?
Now we could at last carry on our journey lighter and happier.
Shame that the rucksacks still weighed the same though.
This should have been a lovely path all the way down to Loch Rannoch.
Until recently, I am guessing that it had been.
But, at some point in the last 2 weeks, some lunatic, had decided that it would be a fantastic idea to vandalise it by allowing a dozen or probably more scrambling motor bikes up it.
Now, I do not know if these people came to appreciate the wondrous countryside.
But I am going to assume that they didn't.
I am going to assume that these idiots just road en mass, and carved the shit out of this path.
Where it got a bit difficult for them to ride, then they carved up into a boggy mulch huge swathes of the ground either side.
I do not care what their take is on it either.
I do not even care if they did it for charity (which I doubt).
The path in places was totally buggered.
The estate owners should be ashamed if they gave permission.
If they didn't, then the bastards should be prosecuted, or maybe executed.
Freedom to roam is one thing.
Freedom to vandalise is something else.
But then look at the Turbines in the Monadhliath ('Nuff said then...)
So maybe vanadalism of nature is a government mandate
Below are a few photo's (not the worst bits either)
|Al at the other end of a particular fine re-engineered bit,|
which extends way oputside of frame as well.
RANT OVER ...............................................................................................
The off shoot of this lot was that it took Al and I a bloody long time to walk all the way to our lunch stop at the ruins of Corrour Old Lodge.
This was of course due to the extra distance needed to circumnavigate the recently manufactured mire.
Here is some info I googled about the lodge
The first Corrour Lodge, some 3 miles to the south of Loch Ossian on Carn Dearg, was 'the highest shooting lodge in Scotland, being 1,723 ft above the sea level'.
Used as a sanatorium (isolation hospital) in the early 20th century, it was de-roofed in the 1930s and is now a ruin.
It was a rather fine place for a lunch stop though.
We climbed in through an open window, =>>>
and it provided excellent shelter.
Luckily, despite the state of the track, the views were still stunning to look at.
But sadly we did have to spend a lot of the time on the way looking at where we put our feet, rather than fully appreciating the wondrous vistas about us.
|Views from the Track|
A rather scary finish to that one eh?
After lunch, we carried on.
The track was still quite tough going until we got over the top, where suddenly, it became a rather fine path all the way down.
Maybe it was a different estate.
Certainly, a lot of money had been spent on repairing the track, and adding a lot of drainage.
Further down, the LRT had been completely resurfaced.
It actually looked better to walk on from a distance than it was when you got to it.
It was still a lot better than the diabolical quagmire we had suffered from Loch Ossian.
I was hoping to find bits of ruined bike and the odd set of mangled leathers, but no such luck.
As we dropped down, there were splendid views of Rannoch Moor, and Blackwater Reservoir.
For some reason, I did not take anywhere near enough pictures of this, and the one that I had came out rather poorly.
If anyone came this way, and has a nice photo, I would love to have a copy.
At the bottom, just after we crossed the bridge by Allt Gormag, where we stopped for a rest and had a chat with a chap who had just come down from bagging a couple of Corbet's.
The weather was still good, although darker clouds were amassing and it looked like the predicted showers were on their way (again).
It was also nice to have wee foot rest and wiggle the toes.
Foot rests are essential on the Challenge.
Many a potential problem can be prevented by just resting the feet on a regular basis.
Also, taking them out of the shoes or boots for 3 to 5 minutes, gives them a chance to air and cool down.
Plus a good toe wiggle.
If they are a little damp, then even an application of cream such as Gehwol or even some foot talc.
In my subjective opinion, some folk do not give their feet enough pampering on the Challenge.
Happy feet, Happy Challenge.
And so, with happy feet (well happy ish), we set of down to get to the road.
The original plan was to have gone over the trackless and boggy ground via Lochan Meoigeach, and camp near the sluice at the bottom of Loch Ericht, but Al had decided that with the forecast for more rain tomorrow, and maybe the next day, that a slightly more southerly route might be easier. And thus, we had walked SOUTH all day.
By the time we reached the road at the end of the track, it was time for another brief foot rest. I needed to have a quick heel check as well. The Superfeet in the Roclites, help the stability and also are better for the pounding on the feet, having better shock absorption than the originals, but for me, they slightly rubbed my right heel. I was using the blues, and to try and make sure I did not have a blister, or at least to stop it developing further, I was using micropore. Not bad enough for a proper blister plaster, it just needed to stop the rubbing of the damp sock against damp skin.
For me micropore works really well.
So we sat at the end of the track by the road, and planned where we might camp for the night.
Somewhere along Loch Rannoch seemed like a plan.
Rested and less foot weary, we headed off at a gentle pace along the road.
The road was obviously frequented by a lot of cyclists.
Cyclists who like to drop their gel bar wrappers on the ground rather than take them away.
I am not saying it was always cyclists, and I am not saying that ALL cyclists do this, but there did seem to be an abundance.
A theme that would continue to the next day.
The road is not busy busy, even though it is a B road.
Indeed, most of the traffic appeared to be builders vans.
There was also an abundance of Skoda Yeti's.
I quite fancy one actually, so this may be the place to come to pick one up second hand in a couple of years :)
|The river Gaur on the way to Loch Rannoch|
Even tough it is a road walk, there are still some nice views.
The road is pretty quiet.
There is also the interesting Hydro stations and such.
We had originally planned to walk the South side of the Loch, but Al had been there before, and so we decided that maybe the North side may offer more shelter.
I was resigned to a tent, and a possible wet start when ..................................
We came across
The Bridge of Gaur Guesthouse with the fabulous web address
We looked at each other, and read the sign.
Al mentioned something about them being on the message board,
and this being Mrs Roberts old B&B.
Al said "Go on, give them a ring"
"There's a bloke down there cutting the Lawn ", says I "Why don't we just go and ask".
So we did.
A tall chap dressed like a gardener came round the corner.
"Do you know if there are any spare rooms" we said, or some such sentence.
"Of course, there are, come in, I'll just go and get Heather and we'll sort you out."
We had met Eddie the owner.
It was like we were old friends.
What can I say FABULOUS, and a welcome from heaven.
Heather and Eddie are just fantastic hosts.
Heather arrived and we dumped our boots in the porch area, and our sacks just inside.
"We'll just get your rooms sorted, take us a few minutes."
"Come through and sit down in the sitting room."
"Would you like a cup of tea and cake or a beer while you are waiting?"
"YES", we said in 2 part choral harmony.
"All of that please"
We sat down, Heather made us tea, and bought us beer.
Not horrid beer.
This was wonderful bottled top stuff
We also had biscuits, and more tea.
Eddie made up the wood burning stove, and we sat and chatted away.
Martin and Sue had stayed here the night before and knew them well.
What can I say, this is the way to do it.
No wonder Martin and Sue did B&B's
Not sure about this Tent thing anymore :)
After a long rest, and meeting the dog, and Tom? their very young toddler, we were shown to our palatial room.
It had individual bathrobes and white slippers.
I should have taken a picture of Al.
It was a lot bigger than the picture implies.
And warm, and soft and fluffy.
"Help yourself to a bath. Use as much hot water as you like, we have loads.
Easy on the Radox bubble bath though, the water is very soft"
Does it get any better than this?
From cold and knackered, to warm and happy in an hour.
It's tough is the Challenge
But then again...................
We had also booked in a meal.
Al had venison curry, and I had the vegetable curry.
I am NOT a vegetarian. I just fancied the curry.
Not made with dehydrated stuff.
And. we also had another beer.
I mean, it would have been rude not to wouldn't it.
It was delicious!
After dinner, we had coffee, and then we just sort of lounged around for the rest of the evening, bathed in a warm luxury that we had not expected, and so it was all the better.
Eventually, we had to go to sleep though.
I mean, you do don't you.
Tomorrow was going to be another biggish day.
Maybe not all the way to Blair Atholl, although that was a long term ambition.
So, I can thoroughly and do thoroughly recommend the
Bridge of Gaur Guest House
Eddie and Heather have made a fantastic job of it, and are superb hosts.
We learnt also that Mrs Robertson still lives in the cottage just down the lane.
|Eddie, Heather and Tom|
picture courtesy Martin Banfield
If you are going this way, then pop in.
You will not be disappointed.
Peter Parcek - See That My Grave is Kept Clean
This one is for all the Blues Fans out there