TGOC 2011 Day 4

DAY 04 MON 16TH MAY 2011

Cannich to Ault na Goire

Distance  23.9 Km    Ascent  412 m  - (Now where was that path meant to go?)

Well after yesterday, I just had to get up early and be ready on time, and I was. Spritely me!
A look at the fine weather and also the pending wet weather, showed that a rapid decamp would allow for a nice dry tent pack, and this was definitely the correct decision, because by the time we were ready for breakfast, there was rain. Not a lot, just another shower, followed by a dry bit and another shower. I HATE packing my tent in the rain, so this was a no brainer.

All up and tent packed and down to the breakfast stop for scrambled eggs on toast with a bit of bacon. Just the think to start the day. None of the muesli stuff.
In fact so spritely was I , that I was ahead of Al, and that is a tough challenge.

So suited and booted, and fortified for the day ahead, Al and I set off after a breakfast in fine company. My original original plan was to go through forest and stuff, but since we wanted to get to Drum early, it was decided to add a bit of road and go down and see what had happened to the Bearnock Tea rooms. So off we set!

It is not a great walk down the road, but one thing is for sure, it is rapid, and at this time in the morning there is very little traffic, so less chance of a lunatic sweeping round one of those bends and wiping you out, well apart from the prat in the bus later in the day, but we will come to that in good time.

I will need to postpone my Balmacaan route for another challenge, and just hope that I can manage it before they build that ridiculous bloody great wind farm on it. (Lunatics and Vandals!).
Also I think that the route into the Balmacaans is better done from Cougie and across.
Also you get to stay at Cougie, which is an absolute MUST DO, if you have never been there.
Unfortunately, no pictures of this first bit, but it was an adventure all the same.
So, we walked along the road for a while.
As excess breakfast fluids dictated, it was probably time for a stop, we did and apart from a pee, I also did a shoe faf.
Now a map of where we pee'd is probably too much information, but there is a story attached so bear with me on this.

Brief stop over, we yomped off down the hill. It is not a steep hill, but it is down, and so for about 3/4 of a km we headed down at a goodly pace, at which point I realised I had left my TGO Hat on the fence post. This is my only TGO hat, and they are no longer available so I had to go back. Al said he would go on slowly (Al's slowly is NOT that slow, but never mind), so I headed back up, Al carrying my poles.

Now, an intelligent person would have stashed the rucksack by the side of the road, and gone back UP with no pack, but I did not. No sir, I lugged that pack all the way back up (AT PACE).
In the distance I spied another rucksack descending the hill, and as luck would have it, stopping in said same spot and going in to look, at I hoped said same hat.
They came out, and I increased pace as I could see Al vanishing in the distance.
Eventually, about 400m from the hat place I met Morven (excuse me if I get the name wrong), who was descending with an enormous pack.
"High I said", puff puff. "I left my hat just back there" (hoping it would be in her hand or bag).
"Oh, yes, I saw that" she says, "I wondered who it belonged to!"

So off I went back to get my hat!

Of course it was still there, so retrieved I headed off back down the hill AGAIN at even greater pace. Indeed, as Al had now vanished completely from view I ran (not a good idea as we shall see).

I quickly caught up with Morven.
Now ideally I would have rushed on, but this is the Challenge, and you cannot just overtake Challengers, without a good old natter, even if they have left your bloody hat on a post!
So we walked down for a while at a brisk pace (she doesn't hang about does Morven), discussing this and that, and the weight and size of her pack, that has been leaking and is wet and stuff. Morven lives in Aviemore, so she is going to change kit there and get a replacement sack.
Anyway, we carry on, and Al slows and eventually we catch up with him for more chat.
Chatting is great when road walking, because it makes it go much quicker.

As we get to the turn off for the Corrimony track or it may have been the Shenval one, Morven heads off, and we continue our quest to the Bearnock tea rooms.

Well, we get there and it says Open, but they are shut.
Indeed, they are NOT a tea room anymore, but a hostel.

But, at that moment, the chap who looks after them appears, and we tell him we though they might be open, what with the sign in the window saying open and all that, and wonderful man that he is, says.
"We don't do coffee, but, I'll let you in, and if you want to make yourself a cup that is fine".
So he let's us in, shows us where everything is, and we make a brew, and rest our tarmac tires legs and feet.
What a great bloke.
We stick some money in the charity box, and pick up our packs to complete the journey.

Just up the road a small bit, the track heads off south, where the old path into the forest is/was! (See map above)

So, up the track we went to the house that is having a massive amount of work done on it.
There are a few tracks now that depart from said house, and we took the one that may or may not have been the right one.
Following this along and through a gate and along a bit further to encounter a herd of cows, with young'uns.

Al is not good with herds of cows, (have I mentioned that).

"They'll be fine", says I, "Just go slowly past them, no worries".

Well Al goes through the gate to the left of the track to circumvent the cows, and go via the barbed wire fence at the end.
I am not sure about this strategy, what with Al's track record with barbed wire fences and all that, but that's what we did anyway, as the herd thundered off back up the track.
Cows are not the most intelligent of animals you know!

Luckily, the barbed wire negotiation is uneventful, and indeed unnecessary, because the cows have legged it, or should that be hoofed it away, and we can go back through said same gate and carry on through the other gate, it being the one that we wanted to go through all along.

And so we carry on to the end of this track.
There appears at this point to be no known direction, and no obvious track.
We attempt a soirée via the woods, but decide that is probably not the way, and then go round via the field (what has more cows and heffers and things in it).
But this is NOT looking hopeful, so we decide that we need to get over the wall, and go along where for all intensive purposes, it looks like it may have been a track once.
Now however, it is muddy, and overgrown, and full of fallen trees and such, and to be honest bloody hard work.

So looking at map, and for the first time, checking location on GPS gadget, we decide the the best way is just up through the forest (about half a Km), and there we will find the track.

Now, this is not any old forest.
This bit is old, and un-tended, and of Amazonian density, so with pack and poles catching everything above, and assorted branches, debris, and God alone knows what forms of insect and other Indiana Jones like life forms dropping into our hair, and down our shirts, we bludgeon our way the short, but knackering distance to the track, from which we finally emerge.


Time to get all the bits out.
That's all the unknown horrors, that have managed in such a short distance to stick to us, and also work there evil way into the deepest crevasses of our nether regions.

We didn't take any pictures of this bit, on the grounds of decency, but trust me, it was not nice.

Refreshed and itching we carried on along the track to the end, where the car park is, and where several other Challengers, inc Bernie, and David Albon (who is not invisible) were having a break.

A brief chat, and then Al and I headed off out of the forest to do a bit more tarmac.
The others were going via the forest, but having done that before, and feeling the lure of the fleshpots of Drumnadrochit, we went for the fast and furious route, and the road.
Now, on my map, I have marked two possible place, that we may have hit the road, but in the excitement of the moment, I cannot remember which one we used, although I believe it was the first based on how much my feet ached when we got to Drum.

It is at this point, or just after this, that I should mention the bus again.
There are a few corners on the road, and on some of them, there is little choice but to stay on the road, there being no real verge and all that.
So that is what we did on the corner with the bus coming.
OK, I may have leaned a lot further out of the way than Al, but he is not a man to be bullied by public transport and held his ground with fervour, and widespread poles.
The bus did eventually slow down, with the driver shaking his fist, on the grounds that we should have leapt over walls to allow him to do his journey quicker. (Prat!).

Well, the rest of the journey was uneventful, and with conversations of many things to put right the problems of the World, and Al running his phone battery down to zero, by talking endlessly to BBC, and German TV and many other people about the forthcoming (Tomorrow), 
Wake for the Wild
 coffin protest, we wended our way to Drum and the lovely little coffee shop.
I had also stocked up on Jelly babies from the local shop.

JJ (John Jocys) arrived and we chatted.

I also posted some excess food back home.
I was getting another delivery tonight at Ault na Goire, so did not want to carry it.
OK, it did cost £2.00 to send it, but it was £12.00 worth of meals so it's quite acceptable.
Then we went to the Pub for Lunch (as you do), and a wait for the Ferry.

I should also mention running along roads with a great big pack on.
BAD idea.
By the time we reached drum, I had really achy shins, and was actually a bit concerned that I might be developing shin splints. Luckily, once we got off tarmac, the pain went away, and with a bit of stretching caused no more real problem, but be warned!

After lunch we sat on the green, and did other stuff, like checking kit, and leaving boots off, and generally doing nothing, because, there was nothing to do until about 4.30.

Al me and Denis on the Green, just before heading off to the Ferry.
The invisible chap leaning on the seat is David Albon

So off we went to the Ferry, having rung and booked it the day before (actually Jack did that, good chap).

For those who have not been on the ferry, always ring and book, don't just turn up.
You will get across, because Gordon is a top bloke and will take you across, but without booking, you might have to wait a bit.
It does not take long to walk to the ferry, but always best to get there early.
So, I grabbed some money from the cash machine, and we all trundled off.

I will not bother with yet another set of photo's of the ferry journey but we all got on ok and headed off to the rickety pier at Inverfarigaig and the walk along the road to Ault-na-Goire (Alex and Janet Sutherlands home), where my food parcel was waiting.

Well, just one

Or two

It is a pleasant little walk. There was a possibility that we might get turned back, because the forestry people had closed the road, but fortunately, it had been opened for the Challenge and all was well.

The weather was ok, and we set up tents along with the other Challengers, and about 4.5 million midges. It's at moments like this, that you regret not putting in your midge net hat.
On arrival, we had been given tea and scones, and this is a fabulous place, rather like Cougie, Alex and Janet being fantastic hosts.

Tea and Scones, and Alex's weird and amazing sculptures

Despite the attempts of the midges to spoil the party, we had a great night and an excellent meal, of gargantuan proportions, as well as a few beers and things that had been delivered.

Al, Jack, Alex, David and Rob at the meal

Later, Denis would blag himself a meal.

Wonderful view from the house towards where the Wind farm abomination is intended to be

What a great place.

Fortified, we eventually drifted to our tents.
It was time to tension up Wendy, so a bit of a bugger, when her strap came loose, and I had to refasten it using a head torch. In normal circumstances this is NOT an issue, but a head torch at night in Scotland, surrounded by 1,000,000 midges, it ain't good.

So, after climbing in my tent, I spent the next 20 min killing the little £u$%&^s.
Let me tell you, that going for a pee at 2.00 am was also an adventure.

But all was good, and tomorrow I would be able to carry the coffin up a hill!


  1. Aggressive Drivers of large public service vehicle hate cleaning walkers out of their radiator grills, even more so then having to slow down or even stop to avoid running them over.

    Important Note! We should let future Challengers know that there is a far better pub with decent real ales a bit further into Drumnadrochit, so don't go into the first pub you see...(which is what we did.) I think it's called the Benleva Hotel. JJ or Ian Coterill will know it's name for sure.

  2. Total pretentious bore.


    I happen to know the people that live in the Bearnock area and you haven't even scratched the surface of who they they are and what they represent.


    1. I have no ideas who you are anonymous and apparently neither have you, or you would write your name.
      Assuming you know it.
      I am also at a loss as to what aspect of this diary entry has a go at the people that live in the Bearnock area.
      In all honesty, even a complete arse is entitled to an opinion, and so you are entitled to yours.
      So I am publishing your comment for all to see.

      And you reckon I need a life...

    2. And as a corollary to that last comment.
      You can look up that one if you like.

      This blog post has NOTHING to do with Bearnock, or the people that live there.
      It is a diary of a walk across Scotland on one day on the TGO Challenge.
      Not a socialogical, geographical, or historical essay on Scotland or Bearnock.

      Maybe you need to get out more..whoever you are.

    3. Hey Anon
      Do you like excitement? Come over to my blog so I can roundly abuse you, you little turd. Thought I would be polite, seeing as this is Andy's place.
      Come over to mine though and get dealt with properly as you seem to need a good kicking. I enjoy beating the shit out of ignorant oiks like you.
      Just sayin'.

  3. FITZGERALD, Catherine (WGIM) [Catherine.Fitzgerald@wgim.com]
    Andrew, Alan,
    I quote "This blog post has NOTHING to do with Bearnock, or the people that live there."
    That's the WHOLE POINT! It's the PEOPLE that you know nothing about that are the life blood of any community. Some of the greatest people I've met come from this area, and do either of you go out of you're way to meet and greet them? For example one of the most popular authors of the last century lived there - do you know who?
    A serious question, you don't seem to care about people, Andrew insults someone he's never met, and Alan says "I enjoy beating the shit out of ignorant oiks like you" are you physchopaths? What have you ever achieved in you're lives? Let's hear it!


      A bit of hypocrisy here Catherine.
      But well done for removing the anonymity form your comments.

      You belittle my blog because it does not pander to your own concept of meaningful.
      You say that you were insulted, but you leave an anonymous post attacking a post as pathetic, written by someone you do not know.

      You then go onto to include me as a psychopath because of a comment made by someone else.
      This is hardly a rational or logical correlation is it?

      You would have a point IF I was visiting the area and getting to know it.
      If I had been spending a holiday in the area and writing it up.

      But you miss the whole point of this post.

      Some of the greatest people I've met come from this area, and do either of you go out of you're way to meet and greet them?

      I arrived in Cannich late on Sunday afternoon.
      I left Cannich early on the Monday morning heading to Drumnadrochit.
      I very briefly passed through Bearnock, which was NOT part of my original intended route, so was actually unexpected anyway.
      We were there for no more than 30 minutes as we passed through on a coast to coast walk.

      One of the most popular authors of the last century lived there - do you know who?

      I have no idea, other than Lady Grant, I am unaware of any local authors, and anyway, as I have said repeatedly, I was not there to study the area.

      The point of the walk was has to do with the scenery, the landscape and the interaction with other challengers, and was a write up of 1 day of the TGO Challenge, which is a walking event, not an in depth study of the people and the social history of any specific area.

      If you read the whole event, or even this years, you will see it is a very social event, but studying the local area in depth is NOT the point of it, nor is it the point of my blog post.

      In my blog, I have nothing other than praise for any locals we met, so there are NO insults or anything negative here, other than plans to blight a wonderful wilderness area with 50+ wind turbines.

      So, although you are of course entitled to your opinion, you really really need to look at what you write in context.
      I would also add, that if you write anonymous comments, which attack people for not adhering to your own particular likes and dislikes, then you should expect comeback.

      As to what have I achieved with my life?
      Life is always relative thing, and this is not the forum to discuss it, but you can of course always email me directly.

      Please do feel free to let us know what magnificent things you have achieved.
      Do you have a blog of your own, let us know, we will gladly read it as enlightened educated humans, and it will help us understand better your perspective.
      Even if we were to consider it pathetic.

      A shame you had to finish your comment with the same comment on the whole log being pathetic, but such is life.

      Anyway, maybe my explanation of the posting above will explain my point of view.
      If you cannot accept that then fair enough, not much I can really do about that is there.

      OR, is the whole point of this really based on my disagreement with the plan to destroy much of the area with Wind Turbines, a sadly misguided concept.
      I note that you work for WGIM which amongst other things is related to renewable energy.

      I can say that as far as Wind Energy is concerned, we would definitely not agree.

      Well that's it for me........

    2. I think our Catherine's a troll.
      Or just stupid.
      Could be ill?
      Or all three.
      The invitation's still there, Catherine. Pop over to my blog. There's a darling.
      A quick search of WGIM & Catherine Fitzgerald brought nothing up on the internet. I wonder if an email to the company webmaster might bring more results? It would be fascinating to see what Catherine does with her life. It might be interesting for her employers to know what she does in the company's time too...
      Just speculating...
      Catherine - How about a cuddle or a quick kiss?

    3. As a follow up to Alan last comment.

      Please note that it was ALAN's comment.

      Please make any response to MY comments to me
      and Alan's comment to Alan

      We are different people you know,
      we have different personalities and different opinions,
      we are not a collective entity.

      You can always visit Alan's blog HERE, if you wish to take him up on his offer.

    4. Catherine appears to be very "shouty." All those capital letters!

      I wonder if she will pop over to my blog for some more shouty stuff, or perhaps the kiss & cuddle?

      Catherine: How about a photo? I am fascinated by people and would love to hear more from you.

    5. No wonder we won so many boxing medals at the Olympics,
      what with all this aggressive behaviour and all that.

      Anyway, please feel free to respond Catherine, please.

      I/We are most interested in the concepts, ideologies and also motives that fuel your initial comment.
      Also in your many contributions to society in general and in particular the Bearnock Area.

      Do you live there?

      What do you do there?

      Why do you feel that someone passing through Bearnock for a matter of minutes has "failed in their life" by not absorbing the entire social and political history of the area through some osmotic process?

      Are you enjoying this discourse?

      So many unanswered question ...

    6. She never ever came back did she!!!!!!!

    7. You'll find all about the dear young lady HERE
      Appears on LinkedIn to be a perfectly respectable lady.
      Amazing how people's public persona differs from reality. A nice letter to WGIM might let her employers know what they are really dealing with.

    8. Can't see why I would want to send a letter about something that long ago.
      Maybe she was going through a bad time in her life.
      Who knows.
      Seem quite educated.
      Amazing how academic ability and common sense do not always go hand in hand.