The Vault Regulars

Saturday, May 31, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 7. Aviemore to Derry Lodge.

Distance. 33.2km. Accum. Distance. 208.48km.
Ascent. 752M.       Accum. Ascent. 5378M

Steve Croft was in the bunk above me and I heard him packing up and clearing out as I thought, at around 4.00am. So it was a bit of a surprise when I saw him in reception around 8.30am.
It seems he had a bit of clostraphobia and had to get out of the room. Was that a polite way of saying the snoring kept him awake?. Not that I heard any snoring from the others.

I knew that there would be no rush to set off this morning as Viv's train wasn't until 10.30am, I think. JJ needed to go to the Post Office and I needed to go to Tesco and an outdoor shop to replace my walking pole bung.

Shopping done we said our goodbyes to Viv and we get underway. The day got off to a strange start, unplanned.
As we set off for the footbridge at Coylumbridge to head off up the Lairig Ghru we bumped into Croydon going in the opposite direction. We stopped for quite a while chatting. He was having a bit of a break before setting off again and was heading into Aviemore for a walk about.
Off we marched again.
About 30 minutes later JJ mentioned that we should have turned off where we met Croydon. I suggested going back but we ended up carrying on and going as far as  Loch Morlick instead.

We caught the odd glimpse of the loch as we walked along a very wide track heading towards Rothiemurchus Lodge. Many mountain bikes passed us. We took the path named Piccadilly rather than going to the lodge. This turned to be a good decision when we were told later that the latter path was very boggy.
 A glimpse of Loch Morlick

As we made progress up the Lairig Ghru and just as we topped the tree line we stopped for lunch. A lovely spot with the even more lovely Allt Druidh gushing past far below us. The sun was with us and view extensive.
Lunch stop 
This was my first time through the Lairig Ghru and i had heard all sorts of stories about going this way being difficult, dangerous, awful, beautiful, fantastic, never again etc etc. So i didn’t know what to expect and kept open minded. 
On route to the watershed. Lairig Ghru.
The landscape certainly changes quite dramatically from calm to rough and tumble and then back again. The higher we went i found it inspiring, the exposed rock walls on the side of Ben Macdui are just awesome. Once over the watershed the views down to Glen Dee and the Monro tops of Braeriach, Cairn Toul and the Devils Point stop you in your tracks. 

I had been warned about the massive boulders on either side of the watershed being particularly difficult but i didn’t find that at all. I found them good fun. I have never struggled on boulders as i have that knack of looking 2 or 3 steps in front of my next footstep. There were 3 short snow fields to cross but again no difficulty although i did go knee deep on just one occasion. Grouse were in abundance as were mountain hare.

I stopped numerous times looking into the pools of Dee, wonderful, crystal clear waters, bubbling and gurgling feeder streams. They seemed so pristine and ancient. Special even.
It was quite blowy going over the top but nothing to worry about although you had to keep moving to avoid wind chill.

 Over the watershed.
 Glen Dee in the distance.
The Devils point, Courer bothy and Cairn Toul.
I waited for JJ at the top but then carried on down quite quickly. I was a bit surprised at the gap that had grown between us. I hadn’t realised i was moving so fast.
Opposite Courer bothy i met Ian Sommerville again and so decided to wait with him until JJ caught up. A number of people with dogs were at the bothy and so i decided not to bother going over for a look.
It was quite a while before JJ arrived but eventually he did. As he approached us i recall him saying that he was a bit tired. Or something similar with the same meaning.

I felt good, a week into the challenge and i was loving it. So far, this day had been my favourite.
I asked JJ if he still fancied going on to Derry Lodge and the answer was yes. It was now 6.10pm and we knew Derry Lodge would be another 2 hours.

Glen Dee
Rounding the shoulder of Carn a mhaim, the views down Glen Dee and Glen Geusachan are so big the camera doesn’t do the scene justice. (Well my camera anyway). 
It’s a lovely route, first along the Allt Preas nam Meirleach and then Glean Laoigh Bheag. I was so pleased the scenery was good as i was now feeling the tiredness creeping on me. Not only was it a long day but we had not had much to eat or drink throughout.

Two hours past and Derry Lodge appeared, we spotted 3 tents in amongst the coniferous trees. It turned out these were not challengers. We were the only ones there.
Picking a nice spot i cleared the pine needles as best as i could and set up the Duomid. I got water and put the pan on for a brew. Whilst this was heating up i blew up the Neo Air and set out my camp.

It was good to have a green tea and i thought i better have a soup before my meal and get some liquids inside me. Finishing my soup i looked at the time, it was 21.54pm. The wind had really picked up and the trees were noisy being swayed about. 
I was too tired to make my meal. I cleared up, shut the door and went to sleep.

Route Day. 7.

Friday, May 30, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 Day6. Glen Mazeran to Aviemore

Distance 29.00km   Accum. Distance 175.28km
Ascent. 953M  Accum. Ascent 4626M

Day 6. Started well. Nice warm day and the smell of bacon in the frying pan. There’s just something about that aroma that starts the heart beating. Dressed and out to greet Mike, he held up his sponge like a trophy, he uses it to clean the frying pan and it had been eaten by “Something”. Fortunately the bacon and bread must have been in a safer place.

So i started the day off well with a cup of green tea and a bacon panini. It wasn’t long before others enjoyed the same start. The beer had almost been drained the night before but i think Andy took the litre which was left so that Mike didn’t have to carry it back to the car. Very thoughtful.
Camping in Glen Mazeran, The Pieman, Mine, Croydon’s, JJ and Vivs.

We were soon packed and away. Viv was suffering a bit with her feet and bravely wrapped them in a type of cotton wool pad. This issue is not new to Viv and she battled on.
We looked out for a path which avoids the Lodge but somehow we must have missed it and before we knew it the lodge was upon us. (We did try, honest). As it happened nobody was home.
Glen Mazeran Lodge.
There is an interesting read here.
The area around the River Findhorn is exceptionally beautiful. Certainly a place to savour on another trip.
Once across the bridge over the Findhorn we stopped to check our path as there were a couple. At this point Andy Howell and Kate Foley joined us. Onwards and upwards.
 Bridge over the Findhorn
 Beautiful surroundings.
Although we were on a good LRT, it was steep. Gaps soon opened up between us all as we made our way up. A new shooting cabin made for a good place to brew up and it was welcome. Robin and Steve were there too.
A very nice new stove was in place and it looked only weeks old. Not far behind us were Andy and Kate but they left prior to us.
 New shooting hut, Viv, me and Croydon (Mick).
We followed Andy and Kate’s progress up the steep track until they disappeared. We would be following soon. It was now very warm and so the layers were dispatched for the ascent of Carn Dubh ‘ic an deoire at 750 metres. It was slow methodical short steps which led me to the first cairn where i stopped for a breather. 706metres. Here i caught up with Robin Evans and Steve Croft. We had a chat for a few minutes and they were away whilst i hung on for the others. 
We topped 750metres at the trig point together. It was a bit of a surprise to see the double fencing and electric current. We knew we had to get over this obstacle at some point.
 Steve and Robin at point 706M
 JJ reaching 706M. 
Patchwork is burnt heather so that the grouse have the new young shoots to eat.
And then they get shot of course.

Trig point on Carn Dubh 750M.
We could see our route onwards to Red Bothy and it didn’t look difficult. As it happened it was not that easy and i was pleased that we had visibility and dry ground under foot. We spied the fence line for any stile over but we didn’t see one. We checked the electric current but it was switched off. JJ always carries a multi meter for this purpose as well as a car battery and portable welding kit.

Over the fence we went and headed in the general direction of the LRT down to Red Bothy. Lots of peat hags to negotiate and i was glad to reach the LRT. I think we strayed a little too far SW, hand railing the Allt an Tudair when i think now it would have been easier to follow the fence line down to the corner and then take a bearing to point 652 metres.
The way off Carn Dubh with the LRT in view to Red Bothy.
Another brew at the bothy and the night spot for Andy and Kate. We still had the Burma Rd to do to take us into Aviemore for our overnight spot.
 Red Bothy and Andy and Kates camp.
The Burma Rd is a drag, a long LRT that gets steeper and steeper as it goes. It was just a matter of head down and go for it. Croydon kept with me for most of the way but at one time he said he was going to get me drug tested as i just kept going.
 Croydon ( Mick), on the Burma Road.
Looking across to the Cairngorms from the watershed on the Burma Rd into Aviemore.

When the watershed was reached i stopped but unfortunately the wind had really picked up. JJ and Viv were quite a bit back and i wondered how Viv’s feet were doing. I donned my outer shell gear to stave off the cold. Croydon reached me and i said not to wait but carry on as he was heading to the campsite in Coylumbridge whereas we were staying in the bunkhouse in Aviemore.

I found a peat hag to get down into which protected me from the wind as i waited for the others. Viv appeared and i asked how her feet were, her feet were sore but she knew Aviemore was her last day and a train ticket home. She’s a battler that’s for sure.

Just as we all set off down the other side it started to rain. We had been watching it sweep in following the course of the A9 road. It wasn’t prolonged but quite a heavy shower.
Back down at the tree line Viv remembered we had to take a left through a gate and sure enough within 50M we did just that. A nice backroad leading parallel to the busy A9. 

This backroad led us to the old route of the A9 which we followed for a short distance before inevitably having to join the wide grassy bank adjacent to the A9 and across into Aviemore.

We found the bunkhouse and JJ’s parcel was there. I got sorted in my 6 berth room, showered and went next door for food. 
We all thought it was very expensive and considering that its bunkhouse accommodation it seemed a bit out of place. Ok have a fine restaurant menu (the food was good quality but not enough of it) but have pub grub menu too. My evening meal cost £28 plus a few beers and accommodation costs and that was £60 gone.
It was also really difficult to speak to any of the staff. Most of the time nobody was there or else they were working in the pub next door. As nice as the bunkhouse was i would give it a miss next time or eat elsewhere as Aviemore has numerous places to eat at reasonable prices for backpackers.
Winge over!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 Day 5. Allt na goire to Glen Mazeran. (Cafe Akto)

Distance. 24.4km      Accum Distance. 146.28km
Ascent. 611M         Accum. Ascent. 3673M.

I slept well again and didn’t notice at all what a cold night we had had. My PHD Minim 500 sleeping bag doing the job well. I pitched as i usually do, so that the rising sun warms the tent as soon as possible. I was glad i got it right last night as the tent was not only frozen solid but had a sheet of ice on it.
I looked out of the door way and saw some already for the off and others with steam rising vertically from the stoves in their porches. Many were still asleep.
The ground white but rapidly turning green as the sun made progress across the field. As i went for a wash i noticed the temperature drop from where i was pitched to where JJ and Viv’s tent was. It felt like 10 degree’s lower, it probably was only 2 or 3 but definitely noticeably colder.

Camp Sutherlands, just before sun up.
As life stirred i made my way into Janet’s kitchen and everything was set up for breakfast. Cereal, orange juice, green tea, full hot breakfast, coffee, toast, marmalade or jam. A really wonderful start to a warming and blue sky day.

Packing up, the tent needed a wipe down again but the sun had done a good job and evaporated most of the condensation. Janet had an outside table where i sat and dropped my sack until JJ and Viv were ready. More tea was produced and Alex stood playing marching songs on his violin. What a superb way to start off walking again.

Croydon set off up the road and it was difficult to prise JJ away from the music. But we had to go and eventually we did. We said our thanks and goodbye’s to the Sutherlands.

Our route started on a road walk along what i believe used to be a very quiet backwater but today there were quite a few logging and aggregate trucks up and down. The road was being widened in lots of places and we guessed it was for the wind turbine hgv’s. Still it was pleasant enough and great to walk and listen to many Curlew’s.
The time passed quite quickly. We caught Croydon up and we walked together passed Dunmaglass. Turning off the road and heading up alongside the River Nairn we found a good spot for lunch. The weather warm and bright and the sun sparkling in the river. Just the sounds of the Oyster catchers and the steam from the stoves. It was a nice time.

On the way up the young River Nairn

On a good LRT we made our way, sometimes steep, upwards into the Monadliath. The ravine enclosing the waterfall of Eas na caillich, deep and full of landslips. Eventually we came to the bothy at 615 metres. JJ collected some water and we made use of the large bench table for a brew and a rest.
Ten minutes later we were joined by 2 other challengers.

The grand scenery beyond the Monadhliath

Across the top there is no path much after the bothy and so we set a compass bearing of 97degrees to pick up a burn which we could handrail down to another LRT which led into Glen Mazaran.
As it happened the weather stayed perfect and the burn was pretty easy to find once we had crossed the peat hags complete with new shooting butts. A nice light green grassy pathway stretched out for us to follow, the burn being mainly deep down, running underground. Quite a contrast against the black and brown peat hags on either side.

Crossing the Monadhliath watershed. JJ and Viv.

Once on the LRT the going was easy and rounding a bend spotted 2 tents. Even from a distance it was easy to spot the Tarp Tent Stratospire and not far away a Hilleberg Akto. So we guessed Andy and Kate and AN Other. As it turned out it was Rob Jones.

Heading away from the tents and towards us on the track was the proprietor of Cafe Akto. He wasn’t going to let us slip past unnoticed. (Not that we would).
Greetings over, Mike said that he had pitched a mile away and he had plenty of beer and bacon panini’s. So away we went.
After 20 minutes we asked where have you pitched and the answer was "about a mile away." Eventually we spotted the Akto by the bridge and again Mike said, “There ya go, about a mile away.”

We pitched beside the river on a bit of a lumpy spot but it wasn’t too bad. Many challengers came and went, sampling the contents of the beer barrel and the frying pan. The charity box was getting well stocked with notes.
A good evening was had with plenty of chat as we tried our best to empty the barrel that Mike had no plans of carrying back to the car with any contents in it.

Eventually the cold got to everyone. It was bitterly cold and standing around drinking cold beer whilst your hand was shaking was not good.  Bed time.
 Thanks Mike for doing Cafe Akto.

Route Day 5.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014. Day 4. Cannich to Allt na goire via Drumnadrochit.

Distance. 26.48km. Accum Distance. 121.88km
Ascent. 515M. Accum. 3062M

A still night and one of only 2 nights that i had real condensation on the inner tent.
I was half awake when Croydon’s voice pierced the serenity. “Al, do you want your wet stuff washing”? It was 6.30am.
I replied “Yes thanks”. There’s a queue already he said, so i thought better get it done.

At 7.00am i got up and wiped down the tent. It was a lovely calm morning. I didn’t make a brew as we had decided to take up the early breakfast in the cafe. Sheila was opening at 7.00am.
I had put my boots in the drying room/boiler room but they weren’t much dryer to be honest.

Somebody woke me during the night, packing up at 3.00am! It was a Scarp 1 if i remember correctly. 3.00am, for Gods sake.

By 7.30 most folk were up and about and my gear was packed. I walked to the cafe and dropped my bag and waited for the others. JJ and Croydon hung their wet flysheets over the cafe balcony to air out.
Breakfast, full Scottish, was wonderful and nothing too much trouble. Seconds of tea, coffee, green tea, toast and marmalade kept coming. FOC. I asked if i could buy a couple of green tea bags for later and the reply i got was “Do you realise you have had 5 already”. But go on here is another couple.
Thanks Sheila for going that extra mile.

Post breakfast, Croydon was away. Not sure which route he took as we never caught him on the way to Drumnadrochit.
We set off down the road with Dennis Pidgeon. It had been hinted that around Bearnock there was a cafe. We saw the road signs but no cafe exists anymore. At the very nice Loch Ness hostel we thought they may do some food but alas no. Kindly though, the warden let us use the kitchen to make ourselves a drink. The hostel was a nice place.

We planned to take the LRT (Land rover track) behind the house at Shewglie. Dennis said he had done it before. We passed the beautiful house and approached the outbuildings. At this point we hit a bit of a dilemma. There were numerous tracks going in all directions. We started off on one and Dennis said he thought it was the wrong one. Then another one he thought ended at a high wall.
The fantastic house at Shewglie

We looked at the map and Martin fired up Viewranger on the Apple smart phone. “We are here and we want that track there, etc etc. He said.
So off we went and it wasn’t good. After about 3-400 hundred yards the path narrowed and became enclosed with fallen trees. We worked around them catching our sacks on the myriad of branches. Another 2-300 hundred yards and we were at a dead end in thick forest. A stream to our right looked a good option to get us onto our LRT so Martin, Viv and I set off up stream to investigate. Again it was a dead end.
Upon returning to where we started the stream JJ and Dennis had completely vanished. We shouted, but nothing was returned. Viv was a bit annoyed that JJ had not waited. We had no idea which way they went but we guess they went back.

We decided that the easiest escape route would be to head down to Loch Meiklie. We found a loch side green lane, gated in sections, and we exited at Lochletter.  We shocked the couple in Lochletter Lodge as we approached from the rear of the buildings. However they were lovely about us trespassers and told us the easiest way to get to the bridge over the River Enrick. They also told us that the green lane we had come on was actually the old road.

I rang JJ to see where they were and they had managed to find the LRT, so all was at least safe. Looking at the map the reason we went wrong was that when we approached the outbuildings at Shewglie we should have gone west in a big curve around the back of the buildings and there we would have found the LRT. Ho hum.

So, we were 3 and back on the road to Drum. A lovely afternoon but again road walking. JJ and Dennis would catch us up later.
Heading into Drumnadrochit.

In Drum i had pre ordered a 500ml bottle of Methalated Spirit from the Pharmacy so went to pick it up. It was there waiting. Thanks Donal, very much appreciated.
Sitting on the wall opposite, Viv stayed with the rucksacks while me and another challenger, who’s name we forgot to ask were robbed without a mask at the Post Office grocery store. They must have prices for locals and day light robbery prices for challengers and tourists.

I got back to Viv just as JJ arrived. Dennis was well behind but on his way. Here we met Croydon who was quite angry that his food parcel which he had posted using the Post Offices own Poste Restante service had not arrived, or as Croydon thought, had been returned. In any case it’s not on. Fortunately he was able to re-supply at the Co-op, but future challengers be aware of Drumnadrochit.

A few challengers were milling around the pub beer garden but soon we all had to make a move to get the 5.30 Gordon Menzie ferry across Loch Ness. It was good to meet up with Laura and Louise again.
13 of us got the ferry from Temple Pier to Inverfarigaig. Both the walk to Temple pier and the trip across the loch took longer than i had envisaged. Andy Howell lost a walking pole in the loch and it was quite choppy trying to off the ferry.
Our route onward was to spend the night at Ault na goire. The lovely home of Janet and Alex Sutherland. Its a steep pull up the Pass of Inverfarigaig and it was a warm ascent too. Not everyone getting off the ferry was going to our destination. Others headed SW off the ferry.

 The ferry crossing. Andy, Louise, Viv, JJ, Andy, Dennis.
Andy, Dennis, ?, ?, Martin, Croydon (Mick), Kate.

I had been told of the fantastic welcome at the Sutherlands and it wasn’t exaggerated. Tea and cake met us upon arrival, as much as we could drink. We had booked evening meal and breakfast and we had a fantastic night of good food, conversation and music. At 10.15pm i could feel my eyes closing and thought i would be the spoil sport and say good night. I think others were feeling the same way.

I fell asleep more or less straight away to a fantastic starry night and with the sounds of Sitka deer in the woods.

Route after ferry drop off. 3.48km and 260M ascent.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014. Day 3. East Monar Forest to Cannich.

Distance 29.8km. Accum. distance 95.4km
Ascent. 707M. Accum. 2547M.

The morning was a calm one. The reflections in the loch of the mountains just wonderful. It was such a shame that we had to move on. It would have been nice to sit a while and take in the beauty of these peaceful surroundings.
At some point during last evening a few more tents had arrived near our spot and the 2 Akto’s that were pitched before us, had gone. I never heard any comings or goings.

View from the tent door.

It was as we set off we made another slight error. Without looking at the map we just set off east along the loch thinking there would be a path shore side. The path of course being slightly higher up the fell side. It resulted in a boggy few hundred yards up through some old forestry peat haggs. It was obvious now why its called east Monar forest. All the preserved roots are still there in the peat.

The path along the loch is a good one, undulating and very scenic. After about 45 minutes we spotted Croyden about a km in front, his orange rucksack cover giving his position away.

 The path on the NE shore of Loch Monar. 
East Monar Lodge coming into view.
The lodge which is quite new by the look of it and sits in a bay which reminded me of a sea loch, although this is inland water. I had the idea that it would be great to travel to this spot by float plane. As we passed the house some dogs barked and there were signs of activity but we saw no one. 
Past the house a good track leads down to the dam and it was here that we sat for a few minutes. As luck would have it a stag walked nonchalantly past and then quickly disappeared the way we had walked. 
Fast progress was made along the service road and in no time we passed Braulen Lodge, owned by a Malaysian businessman i believe. It seemed well kept but deserted like lots of Scottish lodges.
A number of cars loaded up with bikes and provisions passed us and i wondered if Monar Lodge was being used for holidays as there are numerous out buildings.

We caught up with Croyden who was sat down having a break. So now we were 5 again as yesterday.
A little further on the bridge over the River Farrer came into view and we decided that once we hit the side stream of Allt Innis Na Larach we would stop for lunch. So far so good with the weather, it had been a pleasant morning.
It was a grand spot for lunch and the sun made it leisurely. However the clouds were building and it started spitting as we packed up.
At first the path following the burn on the east side was ok. But quite soon we came across a large land slip. Rain started and it was heavy. Waterproofs on.
We tried to circumnavigate the landslip by retreating and going up hill and although there were plenty of deer tracks it was hard going. 
JJ, Viv and Mick tried a route following the bed of the stream whilst Martin and i stayed a little higher. Neither route is good.
Many false watersheds came and went and with the peat hags, the wet and thick heather, more land slips, river crossings and the heavy rain, it was turning into a horrible afternoon. We were glad to see the watershed for real and we found a few ATV tracks leading in the general direction of the forestry above Liatrie.
We kept the burn in view on our rhs and soon came to the high deer fence our vetters had told us about. Luckily we hit the fence at a good spot and were only 50 metres away from the gate. A good ATV track led us through the forestry and to a second gate exiting us onto the minor road and a sit down on the bridge over a small unnamed burn to get our breath back.
Never again will we do that route JJ said.

After a bite to eat we set off and in a few minutes we bumped into the 3 Dutch guys who we had not seen since Torridon. They had roughly come across on the same route as us although they had not gone through the deer fences but had contoured round. It looked just as bad if not worse than taking the ATV track. 

The minor road walk into Cannich is quite steep in parts but a nice walk all the same even though its a bit long and road walking is not good for the feet.
Once at Cannich camp site we were greeted by a smiling proprietor who told us that the cafe had stayed open a little longer and that if we wanted to get a brew then we could sort out pitch fees later. Great stuff. We did just that.

I think it was Sheila at the cafe, she rang the pub to see what time meals were being served until, but got no reply. We pitched quickly as it was 8.00pm gone and then marched round to the pub. The Slaters Arms seems in the past to have had a bit of a reputation as a miserable enterprise. I can now recommend this place as good food and good beer. The staff did as much as anyone to ensure challengers were fed and watered and the quantity of food was great. 
Already in the bar was Dennis Pidgeon and 2 others when we 5 arrived. Quickly followed by the 3 Dutch, Andy Howell and Kate Foley.

Note! We heard on the grapevine that the Spar shop was running its stock down pending closure. Future challengers to Cannich may want to keep a note of this or check up closer to the time.

Route Day 3.

Monday, May 26, 2014

TGO Challenge 2014. Day 2. Craig to East Monar Forest.

Distance. 23.7km. Accum. 65.6km.
Ascent. 600M. Accum. 1840M

Said our goodbye’s and thanks to Gerry. It was 8.00am. Still raining but not heavy. A very short road walk and then over the River Carron bridge to a LRT which had been widened to allow HGV’s working on the new hydro scheme. There are a number of LRT’s but we chose the right one and followed a good route along Allt a Chonais to the very small bothy at Glenuaig Lodge. Here we found Martin Angell, Graham and Marion Dunsire already installed and enjoying a brew. There were also a couple of others just leaving and also 3 others behind us. (Frank, Laurence and Lesley, JJ said)
We decided to have a seat for 10 minutes and a chat with the others.

As the 3 who were behind us arrived, we up’d and left leaving them our seats. The onward path was a little boggy but the views all round were spectacular. In a short time we met Croydon (Mick Hopkins) who said he had been across the river and part way up An Crom Allt but the path was non existant and horrible and so returned to the Glen track.

My worry for this morning was that the River Meig was in spate. We had been told this was the case by challengers at Gerry’s. We kept a check on the water level as we progressed but it didn’t seem too bad considering it had been raining for 24 hours. When we approached the ford on the path which leads up to Creag Dhubh Bheag we decided it was a good place to cross. Martin Angell caught us up here and crossed with the 4 of us. It was not a problem getting to the other side and at worst it was just over knee deep. We noticed that further along the river did get more menacing so our choice of crossing point was a good one.

Gleann Fhiodhaig
Crossing the River Meig
The track up Allt An Amise with rain in the far glen. It wasn’t long before the rain was on us again.
Waterfalls on the Allt An Amise.

One of numerous bank changes.
Loch Monar coming into view for the first time.
The crossing from Meig to Monar was quite nice and the paths reasonable although easy to wander off on deer tracks in bad weather. The trick is to stay with the river on both sides of the watershed. The rain was quite heavy at times but was intermittent. 
I remember as the Loch came into view that Viv said she was glad to see it and i admit i was too. I felt quite tired. We were heading for a recommended camp spot in the sheep pens at NH163425. 
When we arrived there the pens didn’t look that welcoming and much of the area was boggy. We spotted a couple of Akto’s further down near the loch shore and so headed off there. 
I said hello to the guys and then sought out a spot for the Duomid. Although the footprint of the MLD Duomid is large, the actual 1 man inner tent takes up no more room than an Akto and so it was easy to find a decent place to lie.  NH164423.

JJ and Viv found a place close by as did Martin but Mick decided to go over the footbridge and camp on the opposite side of the burn. The wind picked up quite a bit during the evening and i cooked in the porch with the door open. The Duomid copes with strong winds very well and i was quickly learning the best way to pitch it.

There was no socialising that night. I think we were all tired. In fact i slept really well and it was only the noise of Martins door zip opening that woke me. Thankfully it was around 6.30am.

Route Day 2.

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