TGOC 2012 Day 5 - Spean Bridge to Corrour Railway Bridge (Party)

Tue 15th May 2012 - Spean Bridge to Corrour Railway Bridge (Party Night)

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
Just before this, I had needed to stop for an underwear faff, (as you do).
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 near the car park at the start of the main track out to the bothy.

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)
Towards the end, before the ruined building and the bridge (one of Al's favourites), you must decide which side of the river to walk on.
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?)
As we approached the bridge, and the buildings before crossing to go round the end of the loch, it began to rain, and get quite cold. We quickly chucked on wet weather gear(trousers included), and then headed down.
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
As we rounded the corner the other side, you could see the rain and sleet coming at you like a cloud. It was a matter of about 3 minutes, when we were bombarded by driving sleet balls.
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.
Then, just as soon as it had arrived, it had passed us, and we were getting warm again.
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.

Party Balloons!

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
Val broke out a bottle of Pink Champagne that they had brought with them, along with the special party glasses


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!
Shortly after this, a large group descended off the hill past the party point.
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.

There were some nice young ladies in that group!
Can I say that?
Nay, should I say that?
Probably NOT!

Too Late!

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.

Just 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)

TGOC Day 4 - Invermallie Bothie to Spean Bridge

Mon 14th May 2012

So it was morning, and all was well with the world (we hoped).
The forecast was for showers, but not RAIN, RAIN, RAIN.

It had however rained in the night, quite a bit, so it was with trepidation that we poked heads out to see what the level was like.
Downstairs was no longer under water although the floors were wet.
It was good enough to cook in though.

It was also safe to go outside for a Pee.
It needed to be done, it had been waiting a while.

View on the way back from a Pee.
More info than you needed really.
Hardly any water at all now.
Kit outside the bothy ready for the off

All gone.
You can see the river in the distance.
Now look at the picture below taken yesterday before the bothy was completely surrounded

Alan and Gordon just before we left.
Note that the floor is almost dry, even though last night it
had been under water.
Amazing really.
It was time for the off.
A short day to Spean Bridge, and the luxury of a B&B and maybe, just maybe a pint.

Dave was having a bit of a kit faff, which meant that Al was of course having an impatient moment.
Eventually Dave arrived, and we headed off in the suggested direction from the bothy, which in the event of high water, was right.

We looked back, and Dave had vanished again.
Ok, not appeared yet.
Not sure what he was doing.
Looking for any missing tattered remnants of his passport?
Possibly, applying leg ointment (see later)

We followed the stream, but stayed on the left rather than try and cross, and just walked up to the main LRT via the tussock filled fields.
The path in was still very very wet, and where the streams crossed it, still quite deep.

Eventually we got to the track, and with completely dry feet too.
I did not even need to use the Seal Skins Trekking socks.
As it happens, I never used them, so really I guess that was another bit of extra weight I carried all the way across for no reason yet again.

Never learn me!

Al and Gordon at the LRT, the tussock filled field we cam up, and the loch in the background.
The bothy would be just off to the left in the distance.
See, I told you I was there.

Dave finally caught up, and we headed back East along the track

The Falls from the metal bridge.
Yesterday it was just a foaming mass.
Now you could see the rocks and the trees.
Still wouldn't want to fall in though.
We said goodbye to Gordon at the bridge at the end of the loch, and we headed off towards the museum.

The weather was better today.
Still a bit showery, but did not require full waterproofs or a wet suit as yesterday.

By the Cameron Museum
Should have taken more pictures today.
A lot of commando training took place round here in the war.
There was a camp at Achnacarry by the museum.
Also landing craft practise in Loch Lochy.

Achnacarry Castle

Commando Training

View of tomorrow from the road to Gairlochy.
Hopefully with better weather
We followed the road much of the way, although we could have used the Great Glen Way.
Just outside of Gairlochy as it started to rain, we bumped into Fred (I think it was Fred), who had been at A Chuil.
He had put his wet gear on, and we were thinking about it.
We said hello, and then he started to ask Al about Le Jog and routes.

Opening comment   "I don't want to hold you up or get you wet but ......"

It is always the BUT word isn't it.

The rain was getting heavier, and Al was getting wetter, and he went on.

I think after a short time, Al wanted to hit him. Not sure but probably.
We still have NO idea, why he left A Chuil 2 days earlier and was still here when he was doing Le Jog.

Eventually we got round the corner and put on wet stuff by the Telephone Box.
I say BY, Al was inside, Dave and I outside.

The Rain got heavier.

We looked for the reputed Tea and Cake room that Al had promised us

Couldn't find it though, NOPE !

It was with MUCH disappointment that we headed on to Spean Bridge

Luckily within about ½ a mile, the sun began to break through again, and the rain stopped.
Back out of the wet gear as Al strode off up the hill.

Al can smell beer and cake at 5 to 6 miles.

We thought about taking the winding track to the right of the road.
It goes much of the way.
But after yesterday, it was very wet and boggy, and we had a lot of wet and boggy on our route plan anyway.

A bit before the Commando memorial, we stopped at a little hotel, that had a


Packs off, and inside in a flash for Coffee and maybe for some CAKE.

Al looking through photo's

Dave was Mother
 All too soon, it was time to head on, after a short toilet trip (as you do)

We walked on to the Commando Memorial at the top of the hill

And then it was time to do the final trudge into Spean Bridge.
Find the B&B, and get stuff sorted out.

A nice shower maybe, and a sit down toilet stop. OOOHHH YES!

Which we did.


Lucky Eh!

After getting settled, putting stuff in the drying room, doing washing,
showering and much general ablution, it was time to pop out to the shop to pick up bread and stuff.

Did I mention the Supply Parcel?


Well it was there, and it had 5 days food (way too much as it would transpire),
and other things like chocolate and whiskey and Sloe Gin.

So, back to the shop where we bought bread and stuff for lunches.
Hopefully for about 4 days.
It was going to be a long haul to Braemar.
We also had to buy Cheese & Wine for the 'Cheese and Wine' party the next night.
Luckily, this would only need to be carried for 1 day.

Al got Red, I got White, and Dave got something.

Now, at this point we could have gone back to the B&B and sorted stuff out.

BUT.. The Commando Bar at the hotel was a lot closer, so guess which way we went.


Pints were bought, and Bar Billiards (aka Pool) was played.
I much prefer real bar billiards, but it is quite rare nowadays.

I played Dave to start with and after a slow start hit a luck potting frenzy and WON!

Then I played Al, and amazingly Won Again!

Finally Al played Dave for the LOSERS trophy .

That is pronounced 'Looooossseeeers'

And Al Won

Now, Dave is a very competitive guy. Just a LOT.
And he had LOST 3 in a row.
Add this to yesterday and what will be revealed shorty (no photo), and we should have seen the writing on the wall.

We stayed for a while longer.
Extra beer I think.

Very important to rehydrate properly

Planned meals, checked times, and then headed back to the B&B to sort out shopping and stuff.

At the B&B we Al and I decanted our wine into platypus's, platypi? (whatever, I gave up Latin an at 13).
Dave did not have a plastic container, just a wine bottle, but I had 1 Litre for carrying in the day, and also a 2L for camp.

I said to Dave "You can use my 2L to carry the wine for tomorrow".

And it was at this point, that Dave came out with the prophetic words ....

"I don't think I will be joining you chaps tomorrow!"

Err...  "But Dave, the Wine and Cheese mate"
          "You'll feel better tomorrow after the meal, think about it"

But Dave said he had a bad swollen knee and also rather chapped inner thighs.

"I have some cream and stuff" says I, "that will probably sort it out if you rest it."

And, it was at that point that Dave dropped his trousers and showed us.

There is NO image of this, and there never should be.

But Al and I WINCED. Oh yes

Dave's knee was a bit swollen,
BUT his thighs were NOT A HAPPY PLACE,

As it also transpires, Dave's trousers where a bit too canvas like and held the water too much,
and when you have big muscled legs like Dave, it cannot help, when they get wet and rub.
But, Dave also had cotton brief shreddies (it is in the name), and they had worked a treat.

Dave was shredded.

Big Time

Nuff said about that! No wonder he was walking a bit gingerly.

Apart from rest and ointment, there was not much else we could do, and we went back to the Commando Bar, at the same table, to have a meal, and continuing the all important
re hydration.

I may try and steal some pictures of this from Al if he has any.
I completely forgot to take any at all.

We spent the rest of the evening there, and as far as I can remember, at some point returned to the B&B.
I collected stuff from the drying room, and got as much of my stuff as possible together.
We made some tea (I think Dave did the tea), we turned the TV on briefly.
I think there was a TV.
No idea why we wanted to see the TV, even if there was one.

Dave was still non committal about the next day, and I felt that he probably would not go.
He had been texting home, so the writing looked like it was on the wall.

We would see in the morning

And then it was sleep

Because tomorrow was going to be PARTY DAY , regardless of Dave's decision.

Mindy Smith (Come to Jesus)
Just so you know, I have not suddenly seen the light (Oh No, certainly not )I just like the song


TGOC 2012 Day 3 (A Chuil to Invermallie Bothy)

Sun 12th May 2012 - A Chuil Bothy to Invermallie Bothy

A couple of the early pictures in this have been cribbed via Google.
They show a bit of what the route was like, but they were not taken on the day.
The bothy stuff at the end though.
They are all horribly real.

And so........................................................

We did not do the intended route today.
Indeed, we did not do the FWA.
We did the FFWA via the North shore of Loch Arkaig heading towards Spean Bridge.

What can I say, it was raining.

It was still raining.
Indeed, it never £ucking stopped raining.
It was also blowing a bit
OK, a lot!

It was going to be a trudge,
and it was going to be minus a lot of photo's,
and it was going to be damned cold,
and it was going to damned wet,
and it was going to happen,
and it was going to happen sometime soon.

As soon as we got out of the door.

It was tempting to stay, but we had to go.

The first bit through the remainder of the forest was not bad.
I am not saying it was good.

We meandered our way to Strathan, where the LRT was blocked by a wire fence.
I assume to keep the 4 x 4's out.
You could climb over it, or go over the ladder to the side.

Al did the climb over the wire bit.
I did the gate.

I can tell you here and now, that the 'Health and Safety boys' had not inspected that slippery ramshackle thing.


The last plank and half the bits just fell off as I climbed down onto them.

So we continued over the hill at Strathan with the wind blustering into us, towards the end of the track, and the long road trudge along the loch.

There was a fantastic little post box at the start of the road.
I meant to take a picture of that as well.
If only I could get some feeling into my fingers.

I didn't.

We continued buffeted by wind and rain and

Well, Wind and Rain.

Did I mention the temperature.

It was COLD!

Not my picture, but it was a lot like this.
Only, Colder and wetter and just plain NASTY!

The biggest problem with a day like today is that there is no shelter, and you cannot stop.

You should stop, and you should rest, but if you do, you get colder and wetter and even more tired.
I am guessing that it was this and the wet feet that did for most people.

Being from the Fens, I am used to Flat and Wet.
I had spent a long time out with the dog in the Fens, in driving rain, and minimal waterproofing, if any, making sure I was acclimatised.

You don't need mountains to keep fit.

Mind you, it helps.

So we continued at a very pedestrian pace.

Another danger on a day like today, is to charge along at break neck speed.

But this just batters your feet to bits, and you end up with blisters.

NOPE, in conditions like this, you need to go at a nice easy pace, with soft knees and be gentle on your feet, because they are not going to get as many rest stops as they need, and they are getting pounded in our case by relentless tarmac.

As we went on, we noticed that Dave was starting to lag back a bit.
We thought it might be his knee and maybe his new boots.
We did not allow for the actual cause until we discovered it the following day.
Or at least he revealed it.

You will have to wait like we did.

By half way along the loch, it may well have been less, we knew that we needed a rest.
The wind and rain were relentless, and there was no shelter.

Eventually I spotted a gap in the fence and said to Al.

Let's go up into the woods.
I can see a tree about 100m in that looks like it might make a seat for a short stop.

So we hopped a stream and bashed our way up through undergrowth to a fallen tree.

It was perfect, and we had a seat with a foot rest.
We managed to consume some food, and get the weight of our legs and backs.
It was NOT going to be a long stop.
It was sheltered from the worst of the wind and rain, but it was still bloody cold, and today was not a day to get cold.

This is not mine either, but it was that dark
A bit like looking out of my window as I write this
 Where was I ?

Oh yes, we were getting a tad cold.
So after easing on the soaking wet gloves (I gave up on them quite soon after) we slithered back down through the woods via twigs and sticks and wetness and slippery stones and crap, and hopped across the widening ditch back to the road.
I say road, but in places it was just a big puddle.
That should have for warned us about later on in the day, but it was wet and miserable and we did NOT want to think about tent pitching.

Soon the odd conversation began to get round to pints and warm food and beds, and this is a bad thing on a day like today.


We walked on.

Dave thought he had seen a man in black passing as we sat up in the woods, but there was no sign as we looked along the road.
Maybe it was just his imagination.

We walked on for a while.

A LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG while and then at some point about 2/3 of the way along, we met

The Man in BLACK.

It was Mr Green.

Mr Green in Black. (Gordon Green to you and me)

And now we were FOUR.

Nobody expects ...................................................................................................

There was still a long way to go.

The rain had eased a bit

A BIT, not a LOT OK.

We walked on.

Gordon was making for Invermallie Bothy.

It would involve a 5k walk back along the other shore of the loch,
BUT it had a roof and stuff and did not involve putting up a tent.

It seemed like a plan, and it was a plan that appealed to all.

Although the rain had eased off a bit, the wind as we approached the end of the loch to turn across to the other side, the COLD, BITING, BLUSTERY wind, had not.

We huddled for a brief rest against the wall near Achnasaul.

We could not linger long, and we had to head off to the other side of the loch.

Not mine either, the amount of water swirling around
this bridge when we went across was quite a lot.
A turgid brown and grey mass, where the two flows of water clashed.
The other side of the loch, we turned right and headed back West.
It was still raining, but more sheltered here.
You could hear the water rushing off the hills to meet the loch everywhere.

It should have been an omen, but we were too intent on getting into the dry to even worry.

As we approached nearer to the bothy the streams were running pretty fast

Bloody fast

Luckily there was a bridge over this one.

And a bridge over this one.
We waited here to make sure everyone had caught up.
We could NOT get Al anywhere near the edge of this bridge.
Even for money.

Me on the bridge (courtesy Al's Blog)

We headed on up the LRT until we got to the small side track that went to the bothy.
At the start it was very wet, but as we got nearer the bothy it looked like this.

That is NOT a river, it is the track.
The river is over by the trees.
It almost looks like it was part of the loch.
Well it was.
There was absolutely NO POINT in removing shoes, we just waded up the track, water half way up to our knees, higher in places where the stream rushed across.
Too wet now to care we just carried on.
The bothy was in site, assuming the water did not get any deeper.

Eventually we hopped over a small wall and through some very very wet and boggy tufty grass to the bothy.

We plunged inside and shut the door.

Opening the door to empty our shoes, we proceeded to remove socks and waterproofs and hang them up and then think about drying other stuff out, and maybe lighting a fire.

The fire was a pointless option, since there was no wood.
We will come back top that later.

It had been about 10 min and stuff was getting sorted when I looked about.

"Anyone seen Dave?"

Everyone looked about.

I looked at Al who looked at Gordon who looked at me.
I looked at Gordon, who looked at Al, who looked at me.

"FUCK!" it was said in choral harmony.

We looked outside the door and across the diminishing grass and over to the submerging track.


"He must be just coming."

Al did not look worried.

Gordon and I looked rather more concerned.

We gave it another 5 minutes.
We looked again



Gordon put his waterproofs back on.

I stripped down to pants and waterproofs and crocs (no socks).
The last thing I needed was wetter clothes.
We headed out up the across the grass.
It was under water now.

We headed up the track crashing through the water that was now above our knees.

"Where the Fuck was Wilkinson?"

We expected a floating pack and body drifting to the loch.
We hoped for nothing or maybe a walking Dave .

We got back to the main track which at least was dry.


He was only a minute behind us when we left the footbridge.
He must have missed the turning and gone on.

Gordon headed back, and I headed off to the right on the LRT.
It was not raining as hard, but it was damned cold, and my little leggies were turning an interesting crimson colour.
At least it wasn't blue.

I walked all the way over the hill.
I could see the bothy across the fields, but NO DAVE.

In the end, I had to go back.
One missing is bad.
Two missing would be worse.

And I was getting cold.

I ran back over the hill to keep warm and met AL.

Still no Dave.

We'll leave a sign at the start of the track with sticks and head back.
Maybe he will turn up.

We headed back up the path.


Nope, it was no longer a path it was ....

a pond,
a river,
a loch

Water was to the waist, and in places above it.
Worse than that it was now flowing towards us with some pressure.
And it was rising even as we walked.

Had to get back now, no choice.

Water flowed at us.

Eventually we got back to the small wall by the bothy.
It was part submerged.
I climbed over and waded across the next bit and finally to a small patch of grass and into the bothy, just as Dave soaked to the skin arrived from the other direction, without a word.

Not a hello, not a thank you, not a peep.

I put it down to stress.

We all went inside and I took off wet stuff to hang up.

Moved bedding upstairs where it was warmer.

By now, everyone was upstairs.

I went down to get some bits and looked out the back window.

The water was about 1 foot up the bothy wall.

View from the back window

View from the side door

"Better get our stuff upstairs boys", I shouted.
"Looks like the loch is coming in!"

Everyone rushed down and took all there gear up.

There would be no fire tonight.

Anyway, where would you get dry wood.

Now that brings me back to wood from earlier.
There was a lovely note by the fire saying that the last person had collected scrub and wood all ready for a fire and left it round the corner.
Under water!

Nice thought, but bad execution :(.

View from the door about 10 minutes earlier

View down the stairs as the water started to rise.
It wasn't coming through the door.
It was coming through the walls.

So, everyone was now upstairs sorting stuff out.
The level was still rising, and there was nothing we could do.
One would hope that the rain would abate and then the water level would drop as it all ran to the loch.

You'd hope wouldn't you.

We wondered how long we might be there.
Who was the weakest link.
Who had the most useful meat on them.
I mean, we taste of Pork, don't we.
Have to be raw though.
Not sure how you cook a human over a pocket rocket.
In small strips I guess.

Dave sat on his chair shivering and looking miserable as he painstakingly pulled apart the bedraggled and ruined paper mache model of his passport.

Dave had flown up.
He wasn't flying back!
And NOW, was not the time to say.

"So you didn't get the waterproof document case we suggested then?"

In the bothy at last  (picture courtesy Al's blog as well)

We finally managed to get Dave into his sleeping bag to get warm.
He was still staring vacantly at his passports remnants.

Eventually he came round.

We started to cook up some food, and pass round a dram or three.

I started up the music with the little speaker I had brought.
The part speaker, and gradually a semblance of normality returned.

Outside, the rain had stopped and it looked like the water level was falling.

The bothy and the residents all had a faint smell of wet labrador about them.

Below is a video taken a bit later showing how much.
It also shows the speed of the river rushing past just a short distance behind the bothy.

A shortened video after the main flood had gone

View to the river as the level starts to drop

We stayed inside.
We lit candles and stuff.
We put on as much warm gear as we had
And we had a little party, until it was time to get some sleep.

The next morning we saw this notice that no one had spotted the night before, in the mad panic to find the missing Wilkinson

It's a bit hazy, but apparently, the bothy is prone to flooding.

Now you tell me!

So, hopefully tomorrow we would be able to get away.
Probably across the field rather than the track.
Assuming the field was back.
A direction away from the loch towards higher ground seemed the sensible option.

Spean bridge and a B&B beckoned.

So near, and yet so far.

Patty Griffin (Rain)
It seemed rather appropriate :)