This could be a long one.
Hannah Alrdidge - Howlin' Bones
DAY 10 to Lochallater Lodge
So up and at it early.
Sunday was a short day.
Just a small hike down past the Golf course to Callater lodge for the evening festivities.
But first, there were people to meet, and breakfast to be eaten at the Old bakery.
Supplies were made
And I headed down the road with Mr Cotterill.
I think that was this year.
They are all a blur to be honest.
|Heading to Callater|
Suffice it to say, that the evening and half the night at Callater went err... Well ...
It was early morning when I went to sleep.
I say sleep, this was more coma.
Day 11 Lochallater Lodge to Clova
Waking the next morning feeling unwell, but needing to climb a bloody great hill, it was thus that the 2 x bacon sandwiches would come into play.
And the 4 cups of tea
A short trip with a spade to a place that will not be marked on a map, and then packed , it was time to head over some contous.
I'm told that is what all those brown squiggly things all over ****ing Scotland are.
I come from the Fens, they are all just a bit confusing to be honest.
Our maps don't have them.
And up the hill we went.
Can't remember who.
There was a gaggle of us.
Ian, Mick & others joined the long convoy heading up that bloody climb that drains the moisture out of your alcohol system.
Up and Up we went.
Visibility was err, patchy!
But then again not always.
Did I mention the SNOW!
We traversed round.
Eventually meeting up at the cut off towards Cairn Bannoch, I actually overshot this and had to walk back a bit. For some reason I had shot off ahead and forgotten where I was going.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with whisky.
I need to make that quite clear.
And up and over to Cairn Bannoch and then Broad Cairn (which is actually lower)
|Ian & Mick as it starts to snow again|
It was getting cold.
We headed off down to the Pony Hut.
I went directly to the pony hut to do a shoe faff, and then cut back up to meet the chaps as they headed off on the track that would take us down to Clova
We encountered some Scottish weather on this bit.
Rain, Sleet, Snow, Squalls and then Sun.
Yep that's a 30 minute window in Scotland.
|Ian on the small bridge at bachnagairn|
Over the bridge, the weather had become slightly nicer as we walked down the very pretty valley to Moulzie
I say lovely valley, but it was on this innocuous easy track, that I slid on a wet rock, landed heavily on my elbow, ripped my rucksack waist pocket, and the sleeve of my Alpamayo Jacket.
Did I mention bruising my hip and knee.
Yes.. ****ING OUCH MAN!
But you can't stop. Pick yourself up and crack on..
Past Moulzie, the track wanders through trees, and also over some pretty wet ground with some board ways. BUT, don't expect dry feet here.
Eventually we got down to the road.
It was at this point that we would have that final 6 k to Clova Hotel.
It was time for headphones.
Mick and I stopped to tune out from the World.
Ian had shot off like a whippet after a hare.
You don't compete with Ian when he gets his head into scurry mode.
No sir, that way lies hurt and pain and foot damage.
Let him go.
He does this too well ....
And he was gooooonnnneeeeeee...
I plugged into some serious heavy rock c/o Gus.G (the sort of music that gets you down the road at speed, with some slick moves and a bit of air guitar)
I'm allowed to do air guitar when walking, because no way I will be carrying this with me.
She is a beauty though isn't she..
When I get home baby, when I get home :-)
Eventually we arrived at Clova Hotel.
I had booked a bunk , Mick checked and there was space, so we had a 4 bunk room between us.
Kit sorted, stuff in drying room, a good shower (not together, I need to make that quite bloody clear), round to cook some food, because I had carried extra and now it needed to be eaten rather than carried to the coast.
Then to the bar for some re-hydration.
Look BEER is mainly water, and as such is perfectly OK to re-hydrate, even if it is 5.5%
|Moody Clouds form over the bunkhouse.|
Inside tonight was GOOD
Another fine evening in fine company, and it was time for some more Shut Eye.
Tomorrow we headed up another bloody hill and then via some route that would involve bugger all tracks, bog, wet and peat, we were going to Tarfside, via the long route.
Day 12 Heading up to Brandy and then over to Tarfside
The one thing about Clova is, that if your route is to Tarfside YOU WILL start the day going UP!
|Heading Up to Loch Brandy|
At the top Mick went Right and I went left, up the steep track to the top overlooking the Loch.
It had to be done because it was there.
I did this at some pace.
The views are excellent, and also looking down at the Loch.
I carried on round to meet Mick on the way up.
At first I thought I'd missed him.
Now for the bloody long trudge over nothingness to Tarfide.
Today it would be important to use a compass, and as visibility was good much of the time (apart from the sleet and fog bits), because it is very easy up here to drift off target.
We followed the track (what ****ing track), but where it ought to be round past Muckle Cairn and Wester Skuily, but then it was time to head ENE ish, cutting off the big decent below Burnt Hill.
My cunning plan, cleverer than a Fox who had graduated in cunning, was to take a bearing and head over to Cairn Caidloch.
But first we hankered down behind a big Hag for some lunch.
And then off it was following a bearing.
I think there were times that Mick though I had no idea where I was going.
Of course I did.
I had a plan, and I knew exactly where I thought I was going.
What I was not 100% on, was IF I was going there.
The danger was getting lured off into Glen Effock.
But, as luck and a bit of navigation would have it, cos I is good init, after a few Kms of bugger all-ness, we hit the track again, and lo Cairn Caidloch and then the windy, far more than it looks on the 1:50000 track down to Gleneffock, through the farm and onto the road by Haugh.
Time for a proper foot rest and some new tape for the last bit.
Mick headed off along the road, but I had business elsewhere.
Many years before, the fount of all knowledge Mr P Goddard (aka Grumpy) had said I would do many challenges, BUT never actually do the Hill of Rowan.
Well my whole route today was to get me to this point.
This was NO 10 it was this year or bloody never.
I climbed over the fence since the evidence of the track or any means of getting to it was non existent.
And headed amidst a few animals straight up to the monument at the top.
I must admit, I didn't do the path, just straight up.
The track up is actually OK.
|Heading back down|
Later at the meal I would tell Grumps about this, and that I did it :-)
"Was it worth it?" he said...
"***K NO" I replied
I headed down.
There are NO paths down.
There is waist high heather, on a steep hillside
There is stumbling and attempting to get to where you want to go.
At the bottom there is sodding wet nasty ground.
And then you are back on the track to Tarfside.
And then I was at Tarfside...
Put my tent up, or go and have tea and a bacon roll?
No contest there then...
Tea and Roll..
Especially important, because some people like Lambert and Sloman, will eat the last bacon roll, even if it means they have more than one.
But we will come back to that total lack of charity and comradeship tomorrow.
Fortified and with many a challenge hug, it was time to wander down to the green and put up the tent.
Then maybe eat another packet meal so that I was down to just what I needed, and then it would be over to the Mason's arms.
And that is pretty much how it happened, other than the Chocolate Cake for Mrs Pooler's birthday that had been secretly brought here along with cards and all manner of stuff.
Oh.. and Alistair and children (for the last time, because they will be at school from now on)
Yep, another Tarfside party amongst friends..
Off to the Masons....
That's it folks
This was 2 years ago.
I have enough trouble remembering what happened when sober, let again after a night of partying...
Much, fun amongst amigo's over many years.
And a stumble with care back to the tent.
Tomorrow I would be heading to NWB after a nice bacon butty at St Drostans...
Oh how those plans can go wrong when your mates? are involved... :-(
to be continued ......................................