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 14 May 2013

Day 4 - Mamore Lodge to beyond the NW end of Loch Ossian


13 May 2013 (0740-1610)
Distance: 18 miles
Ascent: 2000'?
Weather: sunshine and showers (mainly snow of various degrees of wetness, until 3pm when they became rain)
Number of 'I don't want to plunge my feet into this cold river' moments: 2


Our night hiding behind the old Mamore Lodge Hotel was peaceful (except for 20 seconds at midnight when the alarm on Mick's watch went off).

We awoke this morning to even more peace - the rain had finally stopped. Taking my customary look out of the door vent whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, I saw that the rain had fallen as snow a little higher up. More than just a dusting too.

We had already decided we were going long instead of high (given the option of three moderate days with two more nights with everything wet or damp in the tent, or two long days and one night, we opted for the latter and changed our reservation at Dalwhinnie Bunkhouse), so off we set to track our high route at a lower elevation.

Most of the day was on tracks, of varying age and quality, apart from a few miles alongside the Abhain Rath (a river that was running fast and high today, although not to the extent of some we passed later). Our first two miles alongside that river were a veritable bog-fest. In fact, worse than that as the amount of standing water made it more of a wade than a walk.

The real wade came just before the bothy, which was originally to have been our night stop but had now been earmarked for lunch. Our feet had just warmed up as we got to the bothy, but it was a shame that we weren't ten minutes earlier arriving as we were caught in one of the longest snow showers of the day.

On and on it went as we sat in the bothy awaiting a break so that we could get water to make tea.

Finally the sun did come back out, but it was shortlived and when, after an hour of sitting, eating and drinking, we headed back out it was snowing yet again.

More sploshing, along a path which would be a delight in drier weather took us back onto tracks, although water obstacles were still plenty (I'm sure you're getting the idea: it's pretty damp around these parts just now).

The heaviest snow of the day came as we headed towards Corrour Station. Huge flakes fell fast and furious for about twenty minutes. Then the sun came out and we declared it time for afternoon tea.

After the previous three hard days (which wouldn't have been nearly as hard if I wasn't so unfit), my muscles were protesting loudly as we reached Loch Ossian. The end of the day was almost in sight, and the track on the north side of the loch (ooops, our route sheet had us on the other side - it was a spur-of-the-moment change of plan) got us there quickly but without much to capture our attention.

A whole selection of potential pitches presented themselves at the point we intended to stop. We've chosen the highest we could find, but we are right on the banks of an absolute torrent of a river. Fingers crossed that it doesn't rise by another 3 feet over night (given that I won't be posting this until at least tomorrow, if you're reading this then we didn't get washed away. We have the sound of crashing water to lull us to sleep tonight.

(Today's photo is the view through the vent of the fly this evening)

Click here for Day 5

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  1. Good, good...keep it up. I'd really appreciate it if you could just arrange for improving weather from Thursday onwards.

    You both seem to have managed to avoid trench foot & frostbitten toes so far - well done!

    Best wishes,


  2. Well you should be where we are in Blair Atholl. We are sunbathing and looking across at the Cairngorms in clear blue sky. Dry underfoot too with only one shower so far today.
    Hope it gets better for you asap.