The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Day 81 - Kinbrace to before Dalnawillan Lodge

4 July
Distance: 16 miles
Number of people seen out walking since last Saturday: 0

It was another hard day, this time because of the terrain, but on paper it seems that it should be the last hard terrain day. We have a bit of cross country tomorrow, then the rest is on roads and tracks.

Having left our camping spot this morning it was back across the rickety suspension foot bridge bearing a warning that it was unsafe structure and that use was at our own risk, then along the river bank. The river bank gave varied walking; sometimes the going was good, sometimes it was exceedingly wet. We both hit the road, after a mile and a half or so, with comprehensively wet feet.

When I plotted the last week or ten days of the route I kept commenting on the fact that we would have wet feet. I wasn't wrong! However, I did have a secret weapon in my bag and at second breakfast I changed into my Sealskinz. Bliss!

The climb up Knockfin Heights was broken when we stopped at a good stream to fill up our drinking water (an "aquafaff"), then it was up through heather and tussocky grass onto the huge flat plateau.

The plateau is the home to many peat hags and bogs and after successfully getting ourselves to the trig point we took a bearing and headed off to try to find the correct valley into which to descend.

It was during the bearing following that I decided to take a quick swim in a peat bog.

A bit too far into wet peat I wandered and within a split second my left leg disappeared to the knee. Feeling the other foot fast disappearing there seemed only one thing I could do to save myself from sinking further: I sat down - straight into the bog.

So, not only were both of my feet stuck, one to the knee, the other to the ankle, but I also had a very wet bottom.

It's a good job Mick was there, or I could have been in quite a fix trying to get out. Hoisting me (a giggling me) from under the arms he dragged me out.

For the next hour or so I had the unpleasant experience of walking in wet trousers and wet pants. Thank goodness for Paramo Parameta A fabric - it does dry quickly. However, I am now left with filty trousers complete with very dodgy water marks that make it seem like I've had a bit of an accident...

Having found the correct stream by which to descend, we followed it, although the descent was so gradual it felt like we were still on the plateau.

It seemed that it wasn't my day when about half way down I found a concealed hole with my left leg. It suddenly disappeared down to the knee and I pitched forward, falling flat on my face - and getting the front of my trousers wet. Hey ho.

Miraculously, I made it to the track, which gave us easy walking for the final few miles of the day, without injury.

We've pitched for the night alongside the River Thurso, not far from the estate track. We went through the usual process in pitching, which we adopted some time ago. I lay down on the ground to check for flatness and levelness and Mick marked the area with two walking poles. We then pitched the tent. Usually it works well to ensure that we don't stray in the pitching onto less flat ground. Alas, just to round off my day nicely, I climbed into the tent tonight, after everything else was inside, to find that there's a lump on my side. We can't quite be moved to change the position of the tent, so it looks like I'm in for a less-than-comfy night.

1 comment:

  1. Not far now.

    Every Lejoger needs an @up to the armpits experience'. It's character deforming!

    Well done you two - excellent route choice up there.