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]

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Day 42 - Resipole to Ardnamurchan

Sunday 8 May (0700-1605)
Distance: 26 miles (Tot: 746.5)
Weather: wet until 2pm, then increasingly fine
Number of herds of deer seen: 1 (significant as, incredibly, they're the first we've seen)
Number of old dears mugged: 3

Today we completed all of the points of the compass!

The plan hadn't been to achieve that until tomorrow, so to explain how it came about I'd best go back to last night and the issue of the leaking tent.

Just to clarify: when I said that the tent was leaking I didn't mean that we had a little bit of seepage. What we had was water dripping through in any number of places. It wasn't a catastrophic failure (and Mick was quite right when he told me that we'll look back and consider that it was all part of the adventure), but quite how it went from vague seepage in 2 places the night before to significant leaks all over last night, I don't know (although last night's rain was absolutely torrential at times).

Having sat with torch and J-cloth during the night time showers (which, with a lack of wind, took ages to pass), there was a distinct lack of sleeping going on.

There were far worse times that the leak could have occurred, in the scheme of things, but even so, we found ourselves on an almost- serviceless peninsula with a failing tent. It seemed like the best thing to do was to get the walk finished and get ourselves out to Fort William as soon as possible.

So, at 5am this morning the alarm went off (whereupon, in my short-of-sleep state, I thought "no chance" and reset it for half past) and we resigned ourselves to omitting the last bit of interesting route and instead taking a road walk.

It wasn't all on road. There were two miles where the road threw in a big loop and we took the path marked on the map. The path wasn't discernable for much of those 2 miles (and they were soggy miles too!), but the line was easy to follow and the going easy enough.

Oh, but the weather! The day started wet and the morning continued in various degrees of wetness. That's our second rainy day of the trip! The views from the coastal road were good even in the wet, but I'm sure that they would be stunning under blue skies.

By the time we reached Kilchoan (20 miles through), the focus was entirely on the finish and there was a certain amount of bitterness that we were having to rush a walk through such a spectacular area purely because of a kit failure. There was also an amount of uncertainty as to what we were going to do when we did finish. We knew that we needed to be back in Kilchoan at 7.50 in the morning for the bus, so ideally (to save a ridiculously early start) we needed to get a good way back towards the place today.

Not wanting to contemplate a 32-miles day before we had to, onwards to the lighthouse we went. The skies were mainly blue by the time it first came into sight (we kept thinking "surely this the bend where we'll see it", but it remained coy). But the wind! Oh my. I would have struggled to walk back against that wind. Suddenly the sea had white horses and I was all over the road.

A longer than necessary route was taken to the Point (only because I didn't look at the map) and having found our way to the edge of the cliffs, loitered a while taking photos (the colour of the sea and the views were stunning) and congratulated each other on getting there, we set off to find someone to mug. Our plan was that we would try to impose ourselves on someone driving back to Kilchoan.

Three ladies were very obliging (even though they only had a small car), for which we were very grateful. Having all had a cup of tea together in the cafe at the lighthouse, back in Kilchoan they deposited us.
With the B&B full and the hotel rather more than our budget allows, we're camping again tonight. Everyone we've spoken to seems to think that it's going to stay dry tonight. I do hope they're right.

So, there we go. With all the cardinal points and inter-cardinals walked, what will be next?

(As for the tent (bearing in mind that we've still got two weeks across Scotland to come on this trip), eldest step-son went and rummaged in the kit room last night and tomorrow will be posting the fly-sheet of Vera to us. It's an advantage of having two different tents with fully interchangeable parts - we only need to swap fly-sheets.)

(Alan: we did stay on the track on the south side of Glen Gour for as far as it went (in fact, Pitch No 3 was at the end of the track). It was after that that I thought there was a trodden path on t'other side of the river (as there did prove to be when we finally did manage to cross).
Phil: I did wonder who Philip was!
Louise: as you'll have seen above, we decided not to trust finding the right sort of seam sealant, nor applying it correctly in the field. A whole different fly-sheet seemed the best answer. As for the imminence of the TGOC, how are your excitement levels faring with just a few days to go? You all set?
Maike: I'm sure it was your auto-correct that thought you meant 'limes' when you typed 'lymes' :-). Incidentally, saw a meerkat in someone's window today (just an ornament, I mean).

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. An adventurous end to a great adventure! Well done, you two.

  2. Congratulations guys! Another really enjoyable blog to distract from work.

    I did like the idea of 'limes' disease!

    Perhaps Europe beckons next?


  3. Wicked well done both of you!!!!absolutely fantastic.I am even fuller of admiration than before you started to walk!I bet you will want a sit down for a while :-). Funny you should come across an ornamental meerkat ;).I almost bought myself a pen with one in the other day.....hug, Maike

  4. Congratulations M&G! I've enjoyed reading your blog.

    "From sodding cuckoos to sodden tent in 42 days." :)

    I look forward to hearing about your next year's route.


  5. Well done. Look forward to seeing you somewhere on the Challenge!

  6. I did think seam sealing in the field might be tricky! Children often have their uses, I like ours on a family camping trip in The Palace, we can place a child at each corner as we stroll round clipping in poles and pegging out. Good luck with Vera's fly-sheet!
    My excitement levels - mostly if I think about it too much, I feel a bit sick. I'm hoping the rain is enough to quell the fires, not enough to swell the first major stream I've got to cross... All my gear is piled together in a corner ready to pack first thing Thursday.

    I could go on, but I'm beginning to ramble (ho ho). See you both soon, so looking forward to meeting you!

  7. Well done! I've really enjoyed reading this walk. Looking forward to the TGO account

  8. Congrats to you both. I have loved reading about your adventures and look forward to reading about your TGOC.


  9. Congratulations!

    No doubt you'll be starting yet another one of your adventures soon enough...

  10. Great! I have a 3G signal to enable this comment. Many congratulations. From what I've read I think this has been a tough one, but you persevered. Well done indeed.
    Beat of luck with the next trip.

  11. Once again congraulations. Looking forwardt to hearing the TGO account.


  12. Well done you two, and it was good to see you looking so cheerful in Fort Bill. I do hope the 99p dust sheet did its job!

  13. Great to meet you both at the Kilchoan House when you finished. This blog looks great and I'm looking forward to reading all of it.

    Cheers, Julie and Chris