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, 7 May 2011

Day 41 - Glen Gour to Resipole

Sat 7 May (0740-1530)
Distance: 16.5 miles (Tot: 720.5)
Weather: overcast morning, sunny afternoon until about 10 minutes after pitching, when thundery showers started
Number of times I plunged my foot into standing water during the first four miles of the day: about 70% of steps taken

A squally night was had, although I only noticed that because every now and then a particularly violent gust would bring me to almost-conscious, whereupon I would wonder, for about half a second, whether the tent pegs were holding, before falling back into blissful unawareness.

Once again, luck was in full force as breakfast time arrived the rain had stopped. At least that meant we weren't going to get wet from above...

I think that, by its shape, Glen Gour is probably an obscenely wet place at the best of times and, as such, the sogginess underfoot wasn't entirely related to the last couple of nights of rain. Our first four and a half miles of the day were a very soggy yomp.

It's often the case that when the going is arduous on one side of a stream or river I start thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, and today was no exception. I was sure that I could see a trodden path on the other side, but with the river in spate there was no way that we could get over there safely. I told myself that it was probably only a deer trod anyway, which would soon peter out or veer off.

The water levels may have stopped us from crossing for the first mile and a half of the day, but they also served to make for some spectacular sights (and sounds; rushing water was the sound track to the morning). There was one rocky area in particular where the water is forced through a series of very narrow gaps. It was just a pity that there wasn't a good vantage point to get a video snippet.

Eventually we did manage to get to the other side (I did so elegantly; Mick didn't!) and, indeed, there was a trodden path on that side. We did lose it every now and then, and much of the way it was as waterlogged as everywhere else, but for some of the distance it did give a firmer surface.

I'm not sure whether Mick thought he could smell bacon cooking ahead or whether he had some other incentive, but he didn't half go at a pace across the long pass and down the other side. It was all my little legs could do to keep him in sight.

As it happens, there was bacon at the other end. Having reached a track running through a nature reserve (where quite a few people were out and about; Mick commented that the first people we passed smelt of soap; I wonder if they said "Can you smell Gorgonzola?" as we passed?!), we eventually came to a Visitor Centre. There the bacon and the eggs were shunned in favour of a huge pot of tea and some gorgeous date and walnut cake. By the time we left the sky was clear, the sun was out and it was hot.

The second half of the day was entirely unexciting, save for the views of Loch Sunart and the surrounding hills. It was just a road walk from Strontian to Resipole, pausing at a Forestry Commission picnic area on the way for lunch. It would have been quite tiresome if the road was a busy one, as even though it's an A road, it's often not wide enough for a car and a walker to pass, meaning we had to step off when cars did come.

Arriving at the campsite (which is in rather a nice location) at 3.30 we tarried in reception chatting and buying ice creams and pop. Little did we know that such a short time later rain would be upon us (although we had not long before said that it would rain again tonight, and that it felt like thunder)*.

Still, luck had been with us again. Another day walked without a drop of rain falling on us.

(Midge alert! The midges are out and biting in Resipole. I know that it's too early for them, but apparently they didn't set their alarm clocks correctly this year.

Maike: Ticks in Scotland can carry Lymes disease too, which is why I was particularly keen not to share my bed with them. If they were just a biting annoyance it wouldn't be so bad. Hopefully I got them all off me before they had chance to give me anything nasty - only four of the blighters that I found on me had burrowed their heads in.)

*Post Scrip: Eeek! Little did we know that our tent was about to spring leaks on every seam. Remember I said at Easter that I had ordered some seam sealant (which didn't arrive) because I didn't trust that they would still be water-tight? If this rain keeps up then we're in for a sleepless night of mopping...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. I think Glen Gour is wonderful - if slightly boggy - there is quite a good track on the south side - it does weave about a bit, but well worth staying on. The waterfalls *are* splendid though, eh?

    Not far now... hope you have enough J-Cloths with you!

  2. Oh dear, leaky seams! That's not good, hope you can find some sealant before the Challenge. Eek, less than a week to go!

  3. I love this area, and I absolutely loved Glen Gour, especially the little waterfalls and the deep holes worn into the rock under them by stones rotating in the current.

    Mind you, on reflection it was slightly boggy in places ...

    Bad news tentwise - but the tea & cake sounded nice :-)

  4. Ah, "Philip" - I wondered who he was ... turns out he's me!

  5. Phil, that's hilarious. My teenage son just asked me why I was crying with laughter.
    word:rebula Dislexic measles?

  6. Hayley thAnks for teaching me yet another thing:how to spell lyme's disease.I put it down to foreignness *grin*