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]

Monday, 10 October 2011

East to West Photos: Day 37

Tuesday 3 May (0840-1550) (Killin to S of the W edge of Rannoch Forest)
Distance: 20.5 miles (Tot: 649.5)
Weather: mainly sunny; 4 oktas of cloud early on, clearing as the day went on. Hardly any of them obscured the sun

Is it just me, or does there seem to be something missing from in front of that front door? Like a flight of steps…


That was on the way out of Killin. It takes a while to really get out of Killin as it’s a strung out place. On the way we passed the Killin Hotel, where we had dined the evening before, and I was tempted to detour and loiter outside so as to use their wifi to download a new reading book to my iTouch. Having already had a late start, I didn’t want to disrupt our stride again so early in the day, so I didn’t take the time, and it wasn’t until we got to Fort William, after we’d finished the East to West, that I finally found another wifi signal where I could get a new book. That’s a bit of a digression though, and nothing to do with this next photo, which was Mick modelling how far his beard had progressed over the course of the walk.


Although there were a few more clouds today, they were high and fluffy, giving us some good views:


I particularly like this photo looking down Glen Lyon from in front of the dam. Perhaps I like it so much because it was my random choice of photo for my wallpaper when I got a new laptop a while ago, so it’s a photo I look at almost every day.


And here’s the dam. This photo was taken from almost the exact spot where we camped during the TGO Challenge in 2009. We had lunch at that spot this year.


I couldn’t help myself. I took photo after photo:


Remember that boulder on the path on day 21; the boulder that hadn’t long fallen from the cliff above? This one looked similarly fresh. Was someone going just ahead of us and dislodging them?


Another one of Loch Lyon looking particularly fine:


Then we left the loch to head over to Rannoch Forest. There was no path, but I can’t really describe it as a yomp. With short grass and firm ground, it was an easy walk up an attractive valley.


Once again there was a plentiful supply of good-looking pitches and at some of them we dithered over whether to cut short or whether to carry on. Each time we carried on I muttered about “there’d best be somewhere good down by the forest’. I had a foreboding that we would get to our destination to find that it was all bog and tussock without a campable pitch to be found.


On the way down there was a gorgeous stream, running over rock and complete with clear pools:


Happily, when we did get down into the valley there wasn’t a lack of river-side pitches, although not quite as bowling-green smooth as those we’d seen earlier. It was at this pitch where I got most worried about wild-fires, as we could see yet more great plumes of smoke not massively far away from us. Fortunately the wind was blowing away from us, although I do confess to having been a tad nervous as to the possibility of the wind shifting and us finding a fire heading towards us. It was at this point that I decided that as lovely as the dry weather of the previous 5.5 weeks had been, we were in desperate need of some rain.


As per our routine, once camped we needed to sort out the following day’s drinking water. I never filter water for cooking or for cups of tea, but I do filter my drinking water. That turned out to be something of a trial on this trip, as I didn’t get on at all well with the Delios water filter. It caused me a few grumpy episodes* and much, much cursing. One of the only ways I could get water through the damned thing was to use my knees. I have since found that using the bottle it came with makes it massively easier; I also cursed myself roundly for not testing it both with its own bottle and with a Platty before we left home.


(*and when I say ‘grumpy’ I mean *really* grumpy. Grumpiness right up there with that caused by the scaling of deer fences)

If you should feel inclined to read more about this day, you’ll find the original blog post here.


  1. Hi Gayle - I recognise that position when squeezing a water bottle filter - I think you might get sympathy from Louise about how difficult it can be!!! I'm sticking to the aquamira drops......

  2. You beat me to it Laura, I struck a similar pose in the Borders with my Travel Tap. I assume you too had a pot nestled between your feet? It caused much mirth in the audience. I too am sticking to my aquamira drops!
    word: gringell an excellent word!

  3. Hi Laura! Hi Louise!

    Perhaps I would have worked out the knee thing myself, but I confess that it was Louise's knee-squeezing on the Borders trip that gave me the idea when I found that I couldn't force the water through with hands alone.

    Call me stubborn, but I will stick with a filter, albeit that I will never again make the mistake of the Delios/Platty combination.

  4. Hi Gayle,

    I went for the DrinkSafe AquagGuard Eliminator Inline myself ( and I have been quite happy with it. It made the dark tea at the Peak District come out like apple juice with absolutely no flavouring.

    I've (now) set it up so it's connected to a (dirty) 2l Big Zip platty bladder which can on the other end be connected to:
    - another 2l Big Zip
    - 1l soft platty bottle (screwtop)
    - mouthpiece
    - water tap attachment for back rinse

    It comes with a host of different connectors which is absolutely great. I actually bring one (slightly modified "handle" for the bigzips as I can use that to hang the bladder from my poles so I don't actually have to be concerned about any squeezing to get it to flow fast enough. That said the flow is good enough to use the mouthpiece without turning your mouth inside out.

    I'll take a picture of my setup with the options so you can get an idea of how it's working.


  5. Oh, I also just bought some Aquamira for when the only concern is organisms in the water. An example of this is when we were walking in Norway and the water was crystal clear and probably quite safe. The only reason we chose to filter it then was the issue of dead and pooping lemmings in the water because of a lemming explosion this year.