In spite of the rain, I slept like a log for 8 hours and was making breakfast tea as other Challengers were leaving. The rain had stopped but my anticipated breakfast rolls had sadly been turned to mush by last night’s flood so I had a couple of boring cereal bars with my tea. I was the last to leave for the walk over to Glen Dessary and then to Glen Kingie.
The walk was wet. Water everywhere, but especially on the path which was more of a burn than a path. Low cloud and intermittent heavy showers as I followed the River Finiskaig to the Lochan a Mhaim.
In spite of this, it was great to be out in this wild landscape and I was thoroughly enjoying the walk. Eventually, I had to cross the River Finiskaig – at the same time as a couple coming the other way who had been wandering in the Highlands for a couple of weeks. They were faffing around taking off boots to cross the river when I marched across without stopping and we had a discussion of the merits of trail shoes and boots. I have the zeal of a convert for trail shoes – I’d never go back to wearing boots in the summer months.
As the path started to drop down to Glen Dessary, the weather started to improve. The sun appeared so I stopped for lunch by a burn. Then a slightly challenging crossing of another fast-flowing burn (there was a bridge but it did not look at all safe) and eventually I arrived in Glen Dessary, four and a bit hours after leaving Sourlies.
The next stage was the walk over the bealach to Glen Kingie – the start was marked by a picture of a wild boar with a target on it – I wasn’t sure how to interpret this. Did I have to beware of boars or was this intended as a device for frustrated deer stalkers to take out their aggression? This wasn’t the only strange artefact in the area – there were a series of posts with 6 inch nails driven through them. It was postulated that these were scratching posts for deer but 6 inch nails for scratching seemed a bit of an overkill to me.
Anyway, by now the weather was looking up with great views to the hills to the south.
Eventually, after a bit of a bog-flog down Glen Kingie I arrived at the bothy to meet other Challengers who arrived before me – Colin, who vetted my route and provided some really helpful comments, his friend John, Vicky and Matt. The fire was going and as I approached I was met with a cry of ‘try some of this’ as a jam jar was thrust in front of me.
‘This’ was a welcome dram and I was astonished to see woodcarver Ian, the only man I know who has made his own spork. Ian and I go way back but he isn’t the world’s best communicator and I had no idea he was going to be there. It was great to see him and catch up – he’s just about to take over as MO of the bothy at Maol Bhuide and regaled us with tales of MBA processes.
A good evening – fire, food, conversation and Glenmorangie.