TGOC 2022 - Torridon to Kinnaber Links

Day 12 - Glen Clova Hotel to Tarfside (NOT the normal route)

27.5km (1131m)

This was a solo day again.

A new (for me) route to Tarfside
AND.... As it turns out, one of my favourite days of this years challenge.

Some days , it's just great to have a little bit of a cathartic adventure in just your own company.

Did I have breakfast???
I think that was a NO.
A memory says I went down and Craig was having breakfast and I tried a bit of Pancake (NOPE... Not for me again) and the girl did me some coffee.
They didn't start breakfast until 09.00 or some late hour ðŸ™„🤷‍♂️
Or was that somewhere else?????  

Anyway, whatever the case, I left I think around 08.00 to 08.15 
Craig was on the trade route up to Brandy and over.

I had a different agenda planned.

Down the road a bit to take a track up to Loch Wharral, Ben Tirran, The Goet, Black Shank, Shelin of Slaughs and then over Cruys and some other bits to Glen Effock and then Tarfside.

Oh.... Just look at the map for goodness sake.
If you click on it, it should get bigger.

On the map, bits of it looked potentially very boggy and off-piste.
We will see.
At least my shoes and socks were dry at the start.


Would it rain?

So, down the road it was...

You can stay on the road here, but what's not to like grabbing 750m of slightly damp fly ridden path

And, back out on the road to walk down to the cut off track.
There is a bigger track about another 1km further on, but this looked nicer.
Well, except for the wet long grass, and following sheep for a few kilometres.

Start of the track up

I say track, but at times it wasn't.
It was a tiny something that maybe had sheep on it.
Anyway, after a bit I got to the bigger track.
I could see it to my right, over the heather.

Oh, and somehow I missed the footbridge (that is there), and had to stone hop over the stream.

At which point I hit the big wide track.

Very similar to the track up to Brandy this one.
It just seems to get steeper and steeper.

OK..... Seems??????


Almost like it was designed for off road vehicles ðŸ¤”🤔

Eventually, nice views of the Loch.

There is also a track that then goes off to the right towards Ben Tirran.
But, burnt back heather, meant it was just guesswork and looking further up the hill to spot where it might be.

Ooooohhhhh, There it is!!!!!!

As I headed toward Ben Tirran and eventually the Goet (it seems a lot further than on the map), I was by now wandering in and out of drifting low cloud.

The summit is somewhere up there!

And then it was.............................

The route shown here from the Goet is approximate.
I went through the gate, and then followed the fence line down and round until I cut across to Black Shank.
Here, there was a rough track with deep 4x4 ruts, boggy in places.

I check with compass, but followed them as much as possible while they went in the right direction, as it was easier than plodding over the heather.

I expected to be doing this for a lot further, but the track that goes down to Shelin of Slaughs has been extended back up the hill a lot further, so there was eventually a nice big track. I suspect, that this may eventually extend back further over Black Shank, where the deep peaty ruts were.

The rutted track on Black Shank

Hitting the new track down to the Shielin.

Well from here, it was a rather fine and unexpected track all the way down to cross the river.

A brief foot rest, and a drink, and then right turn and follow the river for just under 3 km until just opposite the small bridge, and the hut over the river, there is a left turn cutting back up the hill, that wiggles it's way up to the boundary line to Cruys.

It was quite hot now, and just over 100m up before the turn East to the summit.

On the way up a saw several Kites flying overhead.
Also near the top, a 4x4 was parked up.
Hopefully just checking on Grouse feed.
Hopefully NOT I thought intending taking pot shots at the kites.

Luckily while I was there, I heard no gun shots, so fingers X.

The track from Cruys over to Cairn of Meadows, was much better than I had expected. Obviously there was some 4x4 driving here.
No actual track, and some need for deviating away from the waist deep bog water by the fence, but mainly easy walking, just following the fence line to your left all the way down and then back over to the next hill top.
A wee deviation to the right, and then back round here to be able to then follow the fence on and over to Black Hill.

The next few pictures show the route from the track up to Cruys over to Black Hill

The track from Cruys

Looking up to Cairn of Meadows

The track to Black Hill

Black hill in the distance

Now when you get to Black hill, it's a left turn down the big track.

Let me tell you about the BIG TRACK


In fact, there is just a bloody electric fence that I had to climb over.
I say fence.
The bottom rung collapsed as I climbed over it, so it's even harder to get over now...  ðŸ˜¬ðŸ¤·‍♂️🤷‍♂️

The big track to Round Hill ???

Past round hill, it was basically just take a bearing and look at the terrain to get down and then up over to Hare Cairn.

At this point, pictures will briefly stop, as the bloody heavens opened, and wearing AGAIN, all my wet gear, I tried to work out how to navigate down to Glen Effock.

You will notice I didn't take the track down to the bridge.
Nope, I went straight down the hill to the river and did more stone hoping to get over.
A tufty long grass hillside descent in the pissing rain.

Why didn't I take the track to the bridge though?

Well, I saw a bit of track down as I neared the bottom, but I have no fucking idea where it started up the hill, nor if it was another bit of OS fiction until much nearer the bottom.

Over the river, I trudged hot and soaked along the North bank.
This is a biggish track, that for some reason someone has decided would be much better if it was triangular in shape, and as such a bleeding nightmare to walk on.

Eventually I got to the gate that leads down to the farm, and where the zig zag track from Cairn Caidloch (been there, have the Tee shirt) joins it.

Here, I changed out of waterproofs (it had stopped about 5 min ago), squeezed water out of my socks (as I was wearing trail shoes).

Trail shoes????  ðŸ˜±ðŸ˜±ðŸ˜±  OMG!  I have no idea how I have survived without huge leather boots.

And then (back to the story), I headed on down past the farm and to the bridge to take the road back up towards Haugh.


Then it was a gate hop.
Over the hinges end obviously, I'm not a hooligan, and take the track over below the hill of Rowan.

I didn't go over the hill to the tower, like Craig did.

I had that T shirt in 2015 on my 10th.

A story told before.

That year, Mr Grumpy (aka the lovely Pete Goddard RIP & sadly missed far too soon) had been my vetter.
I told Peter I was doing the hill monument.
He said, "Great route but you won't bother when you get there."
I did, and at Montrose I met him and said.
"Told you I'd do it Peter"
"Was it worth it?" said Peter
"Fuck NO!" I said ðŸ˜ðŸ˜‚😂

The Monument from 2015. Just to prove I did!

As I hit the main track to Tarfside, I waved to Rita and Brian (aka Frank).
They looked like they may be drifting the wrong way, but they assure me they weren't.

Then a short way along the track, stopped to chat to a young chap in a Landrover, with a full cab of weaponry, before firing (see what I did there) the last few kms (and they seem longer) before dropping into Tarfside, and heading to St Drostan's for breakfast & tea.


Yes, remember, I didn't have breakfast, and had only had a chocolate bar all day!

Now, I had planned to camp.
BUT, it being Monday, NOT Tuesday, Craig and I had agreed, that the first in would try and blag rooms at St Drostan's 

When I got to the door and dropped kit Alvar was there.
He was in on it!

"Unfortunately", he said "Craig got the last room" (or something like that)


I moaned some sort of disappointed set of expletives.

"He only had one ****ing job" ðŸ™„🤷‍♂️

But it was a lie.
I did have a room.
It was all a little joke

Oh how we ****ing laughed! ðŸ™„

Just joking.

It was fine.
I went in and had bacon rolls and tea, and tea and cake and .....

This debt was stacking up already, and then there was the £25 for the room.

Thank God they had no beer, or tonight could have become expensive.

And..... As I was about to go and dump stuff in my room

I chose St Andrew's" .... but where else????

It was revealed that....................

The MASONS was going to open.
And they had a BBQ
And loads of beer!

Oh well, that's the remainder of my cash done!

And I now had a spare meal, that I would be carrying to the coast ðŸ™„🙆‍♂️
So, a shower was had, sort kit out.

I'm in St Andrew's room and the Masons is open ðŸ¤”🤔

Maybe there IS A GOD???

And another Tarfside evening happened.
Just like that!

Oh, and Martin arrived, and also blagged a room.
Martin who nearly always camps.
Martin had become a lightweight.

And we all had a bloody good evening.

The Mason's didn't run out of beer.
The BBQ was ace.
And we had all gone back to beds and tents by 11.00 pm

Still that other mob were coming here tomorrow, so normality and alcohol poisoning and drunkenness would soon resume. 

Tomorrow, the route would be to NWB via Edzell.
The forecast was not so good.
The Wirren Hills can be another year (I've done them anyway).

And neither Martin or Phil (Phil Holden) had done the Blue Door Walk so....

That's it. Job done really.
** **** ***** ** ****

See you on day 13 then!
A sightseeing tour via the Esk to Northwater Bridge