TGOC 2019 Days 4 to 6 Gairlochy to Balgowan

TGOC 2019 Days 4 to 6 Gairlochy  to Balgowan

Any spelling or grammatical errors in this post are purely that.
Get over IT!!!!!!

Day 04 Gairlochy to Glen Turret

The day was to start bang on 08.00.
Of course it was. 🤔

The midges had got up early, and for some reason had decided to party at our end of the campsite and have breakfast.
We were bleeding breakfast.
A rushed packing to go and stand somewhere with a slight breeze.

The very lovely Mr Robin Evans, nay hero character, who had carried in all manner of wines and cheeses for us to take to the C&W venue, that had now been changed to near Melgarve on the FWA (more of this decision later, at the time it seemed the right and sensible thing to do) would sadly NOT be able to join us having buggered his knee ligaments heroically carrying stuff in. A real shame.

Meantime Prendy (aka Mr Pooler), was wallowing in his tent... He is a late starter, and was bound via Spean Bridge anyway.

Pennyfeather (the very very nice Mr Williams) was ready as expected.
So we were just waiting on Messrs Fagan and Philbrick (again)

And, it was going to be a bleeding hot day too.
Grimes (me) was tramping up and down pensively avoiding a billion fucking insects and scratching head.

It was time to go at last.

The 4 trundled out of the campsite.
A slight breeze and no midges.
TBH I think the bastard things ONLY lived at the campsite.

The odd bit of chat, Grimes by now was probably ahead, but TBH I cannot remember that far back.
This is all just a work of fiction anyway.

Oh...hang on....
This is my blog not Fellbound's 🙄🤔   A brilliant and masterful read that.

So, back to reality, we headed off up the road, through the gate to follow a track up and away on the FWA (ish), as I (Grimes), was eventually to bugger off over a Corbett leaving the team behind.
Look, it was there, and it would need to be done.

However, for now we walked almost together... 🤔

The first section by the forest was more road than track.
It looked like a track though.
Interesting the number of trees that had blown down.

Once we got past the end of the forest, taking the second bigger track to the right, we were heading up and over.
David and I were ahead at this point, and came across the heard of cows.
A larger herd with calf that had decided to walk the track ahead of us.
All the bleeding way.
This would not be a problem except the very very nice man is not very very good with cows.
I promised to protect him.

At circle 1 (at the bottom), the cows finally decided to head off away from us, as we went left and skirted the contours.
It was NOT with relief as we turned the corner, that David realised that they had just followed the river and totally outflanked us, all heading eventually down to the river in the upper circle.



We carried on regardless to the river.
Our colleagues vaguely just behind.

At the river, I reccied (that's not a rel word is it?... You know what I mean!) a way across.
Al arrived a short while later, as Phil had gone for a comfort break.

Eventually they crossed and we headed briefly along the river bank.
Over a wire fence, and then on over some indistinct ground to pick up the track down to the road.

It was getting hotter.
After crossing the road we headed up the next track where a sit down was had.

About 20 min I reckon, and then it was off up the track to get to Lower Glenfintaig.
There is a short sharp (very short) hill just over the river.

I took a picture and then followed on.

It was a hot trudge up the tarmac road, although no traffic.

About 2/3 of the way along, Al and Phil had a stop.
Al, Phil and David were going to stick to the valley.
I had an appointment with the Corbett to the right.

I carried on , as there was to be a bit of climbing.

Looking across to Upper Glenfintaig

I took the main track round below the building and then swinging up the valley.

At the designated end of the track there were 2 options.
Right and up.
But the way up looked steep.
Entailed crossing the river which was steep sided, and then a heather bash

I took the 2nd option and my original plan to swing left, and zig zag up the hill to pick up the fence line at the top of Ben Og.
This was also a lot steeper than it looked, but just long grass and a bit of bog

At the top, there was initially simple navigation following the fence on your left.
Later this became a bit boggy and indistinct.
It was just a matter of reading the slope and the navigation points to make sure I didn't start to descend the left side.

The biggest problem was actually lack of water.
Nothing on the ground.
No streams, and it was bloody hot work.

Eventually I swung across to Coire Neurlain. 

I stopped there to drink what I had left.
This was a half litre of water, and a can of beer I was carrying for the C&W.
Look, it's mainly water right?
It didn't really solve the problem, but it tasted good.

I dropped down and back slightly taking the least contoured route to swing back to Beinn laruinn.
Crossing a small stream that had enough flow to replenish my water stocks for the eventual descent.

A bit below the summit, I dropped the pack and did the top without it.
Actually as the inReach was in the pack, you can see where it was left.
OK, I accidentally also left the Phone / Camera in the chest strap pocket, but heh
What are you gonna do Ghost Busters ? 🙄🤔

From the summit back down and around, is a wonderful long flat ridge walk with fantastic views to both sides. Sometimes the best views are not from the highest hills.

You could clearly see that the Window that 2 days earlier had been slathered in snow was now almost completely free. In reality the C&W would have gone.
That said, it was later reported by Alistair, who came in that way, that the pitches were very stony, and most were soaking wet with snow melt, so it may have been a soggy party.
There would also have been getting the whole team up there 🤔

Looking back to the top

Pretty little lochans on the top looking across to Creag Meagaidh and the window.

Heading down, before dropping off.
The original plan had been to drop off slightly to the right.
However, as the rest were coming up the valley and over, and there was no definitive grid reference for the actual camp spot, unless that was in Al's head, I decided the clever move would be to drop off to the left, and swing down and round to head them off.
If they were already there (which was unlikely), then I would probably see them.

As I neared the bottom I spied what looked like 3 moving figures in the distance.
Best plan now was to get down, and wait and see who came along.
I dropped down and across the river to a horrid little track, which I climbed past to sit on a rock.
Looking right now I could see the coats and rucksacks. They seemed to be the correct colour.
Before long David arrived and then a bit later Al and Phil.

Reformed we headed along and down to find a suitable camp spot.

The camp was at the end of the red line.
You can also see the start of the next days walk, and the track we walked along, before I remembered to turn on the bloody inReach 🙄
Pitched just by the river.
A good breeze, so no midges.
The ground was a bit stony, but Easton stakes went in ok, with the odd bash from a rock.

Later we had a small tent party, were Phil was very keen to make sure we drank all his C&W wine, along with a bit of Al's.
Mine I lugged all the way to the C&W the next day.

Look, one of us had to get all the food and drink there didn't we.
I think David managed that too.

I do appear to have entered a who can pull the stupidest face competition, and was the obvious outright winner.

Well, you can only party for so long, and then it was time for sleep.
I mean, it was going to be an 8.00 (ish) start tomorrow.

Day 05 Glen Turret to C&W party near Melgarve

Well, this is my 3rd attempt at this.
Primarily because as we all know, the BLOGGER editor is a pile of SHITE, but nobody at blogger really gives a shit, or does anything about it, other than non progressive pointless CRAP.
I'm sure they don't care.
They don't respond to direct emails, nor to any Twitter comments.
Basically faceless, office dwelling pizza monkeys imo.
But heh...
OK, it may not be entirely their fault, as I also tried to do it using MICROSOFT EDGE.
It is named that, because it is permanently on the verge of SHIT PROGRAMMING MELT DOWN.
A work in LACK of PROGRESS 🥴😡🤬

Rant OVER (for now).

So, we started the day at approximately 8.00 ish.
All heading in vaguely the same direction to the track.  
The map will show a missing section, as I forgot again to turn on the inReach device.

We dropped down to the main river via a slightly steep slope for no real reason other than it was a straight line.
Knees hurting ,headed up the track.
Not far as it happened, as it was already stupid hot, and we needed a water stop.

As time progressed, David and I moved slightly ahead.
Not a huge distance but a bit.
We could see Luib- chonnal bothy in the distance just.
Hours and hours later it was no nearer.
Well, it was originally about 3km.
We stopped to grab some water about God know how far away.
As we were ready to move on, Al and Phil arrived.
They got water and sat down.
David and I headed on, with a promise of boiling water when they arrived.
For some reason, see track, we took the second faint track in to the bothy.

The very very nice man on route.
See the statured poise.

Eventually, we arrived at the bothy.
Dumped stuff.
Grabbed water and heated up some.
It was a hot day, but a promise is a promise.

The face of a pained man on the ragged edge 🤣

Al and Phil arrived.
Luib-chonnal has been done up.
Many improvements downstairs, new clean dry areas to sleep and eat.
Upstairs has seen a huge makeover too.
No more head bashing on the way up.
No more mouse ridden sofa.
Nice fire.
I so remember at the last C&W we had here, where after we had consumed the entire store of C&W foods the night before, to the tunes of the White Album, and impromptu disco lights made of head torches and reflective pot cosy's, we had been saved by Alistair, who whilst on a solo trip (not TGOC), had carried in an extraordinary collection of cheese and wine.

I had also managed to dry my socks out so much on the stove overnight, that they crumbled to a powder.

NOT so, this time.
It was midday and we were moving on.
I still preferred the old open plan upstairs though.

Soon it was time to head across the stream.
Total dry feet even in trail shoes.
Then across the normally very boggy, but not quite so boggy ground through the gate, and along the track again to head to Melgarve and the C&W.

Looking up, the hills we should have been on for the high C&W.
With hindsight, I could have gone that way.
I would have missed the C&W, but I did want to be up there.
As we would find out tomorrow, Alistair had come over that way.
Hardly any snow.
The pitches however were spartan, stony, and very wet with snow melt, so although ok for maybe 2, this may have been a dodgy venue for 4 to 6+ tents.

I still wanted to be up there though.
Especially on a day like today.

The start of the Spey.

By the time we approached the shooting hut at Shesgnan, we were quite a long way ahead of Al and Phil.
David and I cut across, skirting the bog to go and sit just behind the hut, in the shade.
It was locked as normal, so no way inside.
We collected water and relaxed for a bit.

As we looked out, we saw Al and Phil walk past on the track.
We waved, but no response.
We assumed they hadn't seen us.
I mean they wouldn't blank us would they?


We grabbed stuff and headed off after them.
It wouldn't take long.

And it took even less, as about 400m past, they stopped for water.
Phil had clambered over fences for a comfort break.

When Phil needs a comfort break


Don't ask.
Look, they are strong, and function as sunglasses.
Leave it there.

Soon we were on our way again.
For some reason I was plodding on ahead.
Not sure how this happens.
I very often follow from the front 😂

David and I headed ever closer to Melgarve.

Lots of new planting as we neared Melgarve.

Would we be accused of littering and lack of respect for the countryside, if we left litter everywhere?

As we passed the track up to Melgarve and headed towards the C&W venue, we met Malcolm (Malcolm and Martha).
Chatting, Al and Phil caught up.

We all headed to the C&W location, climbing the deer fence to get to the pitch site.

It was wide, and loads of room.
Dry ground and a river close by.

The ground was stony, but ok and everyone pitched up and relaxed.
C&W time was pending later.

Phil went for a dip with a billion tiny fish in a pool.

Then it was time to lay out the C&W and chill for the evening.
It had not been a tough day, just a hot day.

About half way through, John turned up carrying........

FRESH FRUIT! 😨😮👍👍👍👍👍

What a chap.

Many a conversation was had.

Malcolm and Martha had brought half a supermarket of Canadian wine and cheese and biscuits.

Now, considering the fact that Phil had no wine left, as it had all been drunk the previous night, along with some cheese.
Al had about half left, as he appeared to have been supping it all day to re-hydrate.

So, yet again, the C&W was rescued by the guests 🙄🙄🙄🙄

Oh hang on....

Did I mention that David and I had carried our Cheese and wine all the way here!!!

But all good things come to an end.
And so do Cheese and Wine Parties.

It was time to head to sleep.

Tomorrow was going to be another day.

A sodding HOT day as it turns out.

A sodding HOT day of TARMAC 🙄🥴☹

But that is on the next..... lines!

Day 06 Glen C&W party near Melgarve to Balgowan (via Laggan)

AND, then it was the next day!

And as normal, it was an 8.00 start (ish).

OK, maybe not, as Al had not woken.
Nobody had woken him...

Good God, what are servants paid for!

8.00 was not going to happen.

Maybe 9.30 according to Al.

And it was ALL DAVID's fault, the tardy unhelpful bastard, for not doing his job properly.

The silly bugger hadn't realised he had been invited with PURPOSE.

He had soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo failed.

(Well, that's what David told me anyway).

Listen, I am just the story teller here.

And thus, David and I set off about 8.00.
And Phil, being the bestest buddy in the entire galaxy, and also a stalwart carer, stayed with Al.

And, that was the last we saw of them until the B&B at the end of the day.

So, the rest of this story, is all about US! 🤣😂

Just before we head off back the way we came in.
Others forded the river, but that may have involved wet feet, and I hate wet feet.
So, having stared at the top of my bottle for a few minutes as David waited idly by and Al fettled in his tent bemoaning the lack of David's Alarm call, we headed off over the same fence.
David did it with his pack on too.
Soo proud of my lad I was.

We followed the track, looking back for signs of life.
We carried on, eventually reaching the tarmac.

Did I mention I don't like tarmac?

I will.

It was hot.

We carried on towards Garva bridge.
A brief conversation with some lads from somewhere near Geordie land, and then on over tarmac.

I was in 2 minds on my final route to Laggan.
I was also in two minds as to whether I could get to Laggan stores for a sit down porcelain moment, or the need for a small forest latrine.

We carried on to Garva Bridge regardless, where finally we sat down for a drink and a pause.
If I was going to make a move to a different track in, this was the place.
As important, if I was to make a movement, this was the place too.

Our original high level plan which was thwarted by the FWA (red circle) choice was to drop down from the ridge, over Carn Dubh, and then down Dirc an Uillt Fhearna, although that may have been a minor schism, as I had reccied most of that during the Scottish Reunion in Oct, and decided (in my mind) that taking the direct descent off the top down to the bottom track and the road, was a darned site easier.

My alternative Laggan route was to go via Garvabeg, and take the powerline track down to drop in eventually at the end of the reservoir (blue circle)
However, having seen the amount of farm and construction traffic thundering along that with a cloud of dust, I had pretty much decided that (and we had seen hardly any traffic) I would stick to my least favourite surface tarmac, but keep company.

As pressing now was (brown circle - see how I did that 💩), where could I dig a suitable hole out of site?
There was a Volkswagon car at Garva bridge , on the other side. Occupied????
There were people walking d9own the bloody road.

FFS, can a chap not get a private moment.
I felt grateful that this was not as URGENT as one of Phil's, and headed off across a slightly boggy ground to find a discreet location.
Having decided that was impossible, I just thought sod it, and scrapped out a suitable hole, and the rest is history.
Now, why tell you this???
Well, should you get the need in the same location, just avoid that disturbed bit of ground somewhere inside the brown circle.

And, back at the road, marginally happy, as this had been a less than conclusive event 😕😕, we headed along the road towards the saw mill, and Sherabeg.

A very fine wade bridge just off the track.

So, the problem with hot days and tarmac, is NOT the tiredness, or even the heat.
It is the fact, that carrying a big pack. I say big, probably about 21lb this day, that your feet take a hammering. And on tarmac, this is soooooo much worse.
They get hot, they sweat.

As we approached the reservoir, it was time for a foot rest.
Not just a drink, but a sit down, and get the shoes and socks off.
Let the feet air properly.
Socks on poles to dry.

So after we got to the top , just past a small group of trees we found a perfect spot by the waters edge.

And it came to pass it was good!

Alas, it was time to head to Laggan.
Motivated by a sit down.
Copious amounts of cool soft drink
AND a pending bloody great big bacon roll.

Just as we were about to head off we saw a human on the road.

I looked at David.
He looked at me.

We recognised that walking gait.

AND.... Along came Alistair.

Down from the route I still SO WANTED TO HAVE DONE 😢😒

To late now for me.

As a group of three, we headed down the road.


And, off we went.

The road was long and hot.

Motivation was strong.

No sign of the rest of the team.

We crossed the river at the new bridge, under scrutiny of a herd of cows from the field, as a man ploughed a field (or attempted to) that seemed to be made of solid dried clay.

Another 2 km of road, as we got to the corner.
I had pondered, or a word of similar meaning, walking along the river.
BUT, many gates, cows, and no sign of a path, I decided that the road would be quicker.
The company better, and the end result of food and drink and shade sooner.

IT WAS A NO BRAINER in this heat

And then, after what seemed like an eternity, we arrived at Laggan Stores.
Quite a few in that day, it smelt of bacon infused socks.
We dropped packs outside.
And shoes..
And socks
Left to dry in the sun, and pollute the atmosphere.

I briefly encountered my socks as I placed them a discrete distance from humans.


No wonder there is Global Warming!

We went inside.
It was cool.

NO, not    😎
Just           colder

Found a table.    MASSIVE!

Ordered many cold drinks and bacon roll, and cold drinks 
and cold drinks and tea and cold drinks.

It was an oasis of wonder 😄😄


AND they had a toilet, a real one with a seat and everything.

It would have been rude NOT to use it.
The earlier disappointment was rectified ( I was going to say rectumfied sorry).

The word was in balance.

We stayed for a long time.
At least 1.5 hours, possibly longer.

There was NO HURRY, as we only had a few km to the B&B.

Sadly, it was eventually time to go.
Alistair was heading somewhere else now.
David and I headed off.

Still no sign of Al and Phil

Off up the road avoiding the traffic.

And then, we were at the B&B.
A bit early, but allowed in anyway.
Great B&B.
Great people running it.

What's not to like.

And they offered us beer, and to go up to the shops (as they had to go out), to get us some more.


We gave the missing pair Al and Phil the best room.
I say we.
David sorted that but out as normal.
He said it waw the best room anyway!

He has all the people skills like that you see.

Al and Phil arrived at some point.

Was I bovvered????

I was too happy to be not walking to care TBH.

The rest is like the evening.

Meal, alcohol, comfort, bed.
No need to put up a tent.

This is the future of wild camping.

Parcels collected.
Parcels unpacked.

Rucksacks heavier again for tomorrow 😕

But heh... That's tomorrow, and NOT in this post.


You'll have to wait!!!!

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