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]

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

East to West Photos: Day 38

Wed 4 May (0735-1650) (S of W edge of Rannoch Forest to NW of Corrour Station)
Distance: 20 miles (Tot: 669.5)
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine

I knew it was going to be another nice day as soon as I set about making a cup of tea. Ice in the water in May is a sure sign of clear skies. As the hat and gloves suggest, it was a bit of a nippy morning, although the first mile of the day did its best to warm us up. That ground may look reasonably easy-going in the photo, but I can assure you that it was not. Tussocks, bogs and oozing peat hags that caused great detours meant that we walked far further than a mile to cover the first linear mile.
As you might expect, we had to cross a deer fence to get into Rannoch Forest, but at least this one had a crossing-aid (I think it’s a bit generous to call this style of crossing-point a ‘stile’). As is usually the case, there was equal evidence of deer on both sides of the fence.
Mick crossed it far more elegantly than I did!
I had expected our passage through the forest to be a narrow track hemmed in by trees, so the first three-quarters of a mile, before we reached the forest track, was surprisingly pleasant (if you overlook the bogginess):
I didn’t feel it necessary to take any photos within the forest, not even when we left the forest track and joined an old long-disused track which nature was reclaiming. I didn’t photograph the bit where we ran out of track and carried on through a bit of a break to get out the other side either. Get out the other side we did and after a short while we managed to work out where it was that we’d popped out. This body of water was a bit of a clue.
To get there we had to cross over a brand new deer fence, and one without a stile. It was going to take another half dozen of these crossings before I concluded that they’re much easier without the chest pouch on. Until I came to that realisation I bruised my forearms a lot and uttered (or maybe shouted) many words that my mother-in-law would be surprised to find within my vocabulary.
Once over the deer fence there was a river to ford. Mick unzipped his legs, donned his crocks, and went first.
I don’t have zip-offs so, to Mick’s great amusement, I took my trousers off to save getting them wet:
There were plenty of rocks to choose from on the other side for us to take a comfortable seat whilst we dried out in the warm sunshine and took the opportunity for another snack.
Heading past Corrour Old Lodge towards Loch Ossian we came across the first evidence we’d seen of the Scottish Six Day Trials, which were taking place at the time, in the form of these orange and blue flags alongside this burn:
With the end of Loch Ossian in view we could see the attraction of staying at the Youth Hostel there. What an idyllic location! (I know you can’t really see it in this photo; see the next one for a closer view.) We would undoubtedly have stayed there if there’d been a girl’s bed available. As it went, there was only room in the boy’s dorm, so we walked on.
Here’s a snap where you can actually see the hostel.
and here’s the view from slightly further up the glen. Superb!
Having carried on another couple of miles we found some (apparently) flat grass alongside the Allt a’ Chamabhreac and then wandered on another hundred yards or so constantly thinking that the area five yards hence looked a bit flatter. Eventually we decided that it was all a bit lumpy and just set about finding the flattest of what was available. What we ended up with was a perfectly level and comfortable pitch, with any slight lumps nicely ironed out by the Thermarest NeoAirs. As well as their other virtues, I have to praise those mats for being very forgiving on lumpy pitches.
Here’s another evening shot of the pitch. What neither photo shows is the railway track thirty paces to the north of us, but there aren’t many trains a day running along that line. Of the three or four that we did see one of them was comprised of vintage carriages.
Some of the evening entertainment was provided by this ant who spent quite a while transporting a caterpillar of twice his own length across our porch.
More about the day (including the fortuitous finding of a chunky KitKat!) can be found here.


  1. Gayle (and Mick!) I have to say, despite this being the same trip from a different view if you will, I'm thoroughly enjoying every step again. You never fail to make me giggle, even when I'm feeling out of sorts. Brilliant job!

  2. Glad to hear that you're enjoying the re-hashing of the trip, Louise. I can't say that it's proving to be a popular series of posts, and it's taken a lot more effort than I expected to put it together, but given the lack of any other blog-worthy activities at the moment I thought I may as well finish it off. Only a few more days to go then we're going to have to get back out walking to give some more blogging material!

  3. I also am enjoying the trip - a well worthwhile effort.

    I presume you walked to Corrour Station this day, not Rannoch Station?

  4. Conrad - Ooops! Well spotted, and now corrected.