Distance: 13 miles (Tot: 818 miles)
Weather: snow showers and cold
Number of llama seen: 6
After our comfortable night in the 'annex', we were off this morning in search of a bit more uphillness.
We found it quickly. The track up from Kinloch Hourn being probably the most continuously steep vehicle track up which I've ever walked. It helped us to gain some height quickly, and after 800 feet had been gained it all became much more gentle.
The track lasted until exactly where the map said it would expire, then it was a yomp up to the pass, but thanks to the dry conditions prevailing, it wasn't too bad - and at first it was still reasonably gentle.
Then it all became much more steep, but I excelled myself again in my refrain from whinging and by and by up to the top we got. In fact, we landed on the col a bit higher than its lowest point.
Two options were then in front of us. We could descend to re-ascend to get to the right valley, or we could contour around. My vote of contouring prevailed and away I skipped across the rocks with Mick (unusually) trailing in my wake (he usually trots along whilst I plod behind).
Contouring turned out to be a good choice, as what should we find, hiding behind a ruin of a dry-stone wall, but a path - and going in the right direction too.
With a northerly wind, the day had been rather nippy right from the start, but up at over 2000', as we were, it was bitter. Freezing, said the thermometer on the back of my pack.
Then the snow, which had been falling very very lightly on us for most of the morning, became a proper snow/hail shower, obliterating most of the view.
It was just as the shower had almost blown through (and just as I finally got a phone signal - I nearly froze my hand off sending those last 3 blog posts) that a chap happened along the path.
He was a very nice man by the name of Robert (the only person we saw out today; he was headed up The Saddle), with whom we chatted for a while, as the sun briefly came out and the Five Sisters revealed themselves to us in all their glory.
The chat established that one option we had was to keep on the path, which would lead us down to the road, but with the downside that it would have been a walk down the nasty main road into Shiel Bridge. The option we took was the plotted route: to veer off the path and follow the burn down to the valley. It's a lovely burn, with falls and pools, so it made a good walking companion as we made our way down.
Once all of the burns converged, a path was picked up which sped us pleasantly along to Shiel Bridge where the man who served us in Shiel Stores behaved like he doesn't like having customers (he should walk from Sourlies to Kinloch Hourn, that'd cheer him up!).
By contrast, the lady who served us in Kintail Lodge was as friendly as they come. The soup we had there was so good that compliments were sent to the chef, and the pot of tea was endless. And what did we do after enjoying the hospitality there, but do a runner without paying the bill <blush>!
It was a complete accident. Mick thought I'd paid when I ordered. I thought he'd paid when I'd been in the toilet.
Having not realised until we were nearly at the campsite we made it a priority on arriving to phone them with our credit card details. They were very grateful for our honesty, particularly as they'd not noticed our omission!
Rain and hail came in persistently as early evening came, but that's okay because the tent was already up and we discovered that the campsite has a heated lounge with garden chairs and a TV. We're ensconced there, about to tuck into our tea - always nice to be able to eat without being hunched over in the tent (I'll have to go back to the tent soon, mind and sort out the unfortunate rupture of a bag of muesli which has occurred rather messily in my food bag...)
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange