In which I lighten my load…
Up at 7am to start packing, I had breakfast in thew hotel - £10 for a full
English Welsh Irish Scottish, good value for what I had: all the usual stuff you get with a hotel breakfast, but rather having a fry-up I opted for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. It was probably the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. I’ll be using the MacDonald Hotel campsite again – it’s better than other commercial sites I’ve used in the town.
I joined John Jacklin for breakfast, he’d planned a similar route to mine – whatever that was!
The view up the loch from the campsite was quite stunning – the morning light was just right.
Up and away via the Post Office (to send some stuff home) and the Co-op to buy choccy and bread.
JJ, Mike and I left town at 10am for the long slog up to Devil’s Staircase.
Lots of kilt comments (mostly complimentary) and loads of requests for photographs….we should start charging! The vast majority of the walkers we saw were on the WHW, some hoping to get to Fort Bill that day whilst others seemed content to stop in Kinlochleven.
Miffed that the cafe at the top was shut
It got a gloomy as we climbed, then it got gloomier still as we climbed some more – then waterproofs were needed as the wind drove rain in. It got quite cold too. This was the second and final time that I walked in rain on TGOC2018 – quite a record.
As late as 4pm some WHW walkers were still heading north, it would be quite late before they got to KL.
The rebuilding of Kingshouse
Once past Kingshouse the kilt comments virtually dried up. We were now off the WHW and we didn’t come across any other walkers for what remained of the day.
The rain had now stopped but the cold wind remained, at least it dried the outer shell of my Velez quite nicely.
Black Corries Lodge
I’d intended to camp before Black Corries but it felt right to continue on beyond the lodge. And so we did.
A mile or so later, at NN322552, we came across a nice flat spot with an abundant supply of water – just what we needed. It was adjacent to a LRT but we really weren’t mithered about that.
Tents up and brew on – just in time for the Archers on BBC R4 LW.
I had an excellent meal of home made and home-dehydrated beef & ale plus Idaho mashed potatoes – these are now my favourite packet mashed potatoes, they’re delicious.
Pudding was a good sized (= big!) piece of chocolate, an Eccles Cake and a mug of tea. I was replete.
After a top-to-toe wash down in my tent I slid into my sleeping bag and wrte up the day’s diary….ie what you’re reading here.
Looking over the lochan in the fading light was really quite relaxing. The snow-covered tops added to the beauty of the scene. The sky was clearing so I expected a cold night ahead. Because I’d loaned Eden some of my lighter-weight stuff I was carrying my winter sleeping bag – cold was not on my list of worries that night.
Eden was doing his DofE Bronze expedition at the same time as my TGOC, I didn’t want the poor lad to be weighed down with a pile of heavy kit.
On the subject of DofE, which I’ve commented on previously (causing some knee-jerk reactions by those who couldn’t be arsed to read my words thoroughly – or just want to argue / disagree with my P.o.V.):
There are some absolutely brilliant and very experienced DofE expedition ‘intructors’ out there (you know who you are) but there are also some who clearly don’t have much idea at all. They probably don’t know who they are.
Expedition instructors can’t be held fully responsible for their teachings, the recommended expedition kit list can be viewed here – I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions….but we’ve all taken pity on overloaded DofE teenagers. I’m surprised that so many return to the outdoors.
Some fellow Backpackers Club members, including me, have offered some local DofE groups help and advice but as far as I know, and certainly in my experience, our offers haven’t been taken up.
End of whinge.
I slept badly, not because of the cold, I was actually VERY warm, it was just a load of crap going through my head that wouldn’t allow me to wind down. A mug of camomile tea, a listen to the BBC World Service and a bit of time spent taking photos helped take my mind of the rubbishy stuff and eventually my mind found neutral and I drifted off.
The view from my tent at 4.10am
Cuckoo count: 3 (poor)
Other wildlife encountered: Not much at all really, a just few birds lurking around the lochan. Not even any Challengers.