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 21 May 2013

Day 11 - Water of Mark to Tarfside

Monday 19 May 2013 (0800-1220)
Distance: 11 miles
Ascent: not a lot
Weather: misty start, then fine
Number of premature snack breaks: 1
Number of adders seen in perilous positions: 1


It was a warm and damp night, the dampness stemming from the fact that we spent the night inside of a cloud which had descended sometime around nightfall. When we awoke this morning we couldn't even see the bothy, a little way upstream.

As we set off for a yomp/navigation exercise up Muckle Cairn, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that Mick's cold was vastly improved. The bad news was that his wrist was very swollen, with no movement.

Our navigation exercise in the mist was a success - kind of. We managed to land exactly at the end of the track we were trying to find, but the triumph was lessened by the fact that we had intended to aim off. Still, we were where we needed to be and from there it was a fast and straightforward walk down to Tarfside.

A pause for elevenses was had on the way. I'd been looking out for some convenient flat-topped rocks for a while, until, at the end of Loch Lee I decided that no comfortable perches were going to appear and so I declared a halt at two of the least comfortable rocks ever seen. Finally dragging ourselves back to our feet after our break, I'd gone about three paces when I spotted the huge bench, not ten yards around the corner from where we had stopped. Pah! I hate it when that happens!

It wasn't long after we'd stopped kicking ourselves about the bench incident that our attention was taken by a slow-worm on the road, but that sight was topped a few minutes later when we came across an adder (of quite a size), basking exactly in the line of the wheels of the next car to pass. Obviously, we didn't want to get too close, and our attempts to shoo it into a more suitable position using our walking poles only caused it to coil up and start hissing at us. At a loss as to what else we could do, we left it to its fate, and on we went for the last few miles to Tarfside.

Even though all of the beds were still available at St Dronstan's when we arrived, we stuck to our plan to camp. It's been a fine day and the damp sleeping bags have aired just as effectively in the tent as they would have in a room.

We even managed to drag ourselves away to pitch the tent after just 2 hours of chatting, eating and drinking, albeit we did return later for more tea and cake.

As I type this the jury is still out on tomorrow's plan. I think our intended route will likely be abandonned for another finish in St Cyrus. Mick's hand probably needs some medical attention, and it will get it sooner that way (or as Mick said "I don't want to take any route where I might fall over").


Click here for Day 12

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1 comment:

  1. According to 'Tick' Tock slow worm sightings are much rarer than adder sightings, so you were lucky to see one. Hope Mick's wrist survives another couple of days. ..