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 5 - NW end of Loch Ossian to Dalwhinnie

14 May 2013 (0740-1550)
Distance: 18 miles
Ascent: no idea! Haven't got a map on me.
Weather: mainly dry, with some sunny periods
Number of snowmen found to be blocking the path: just the one

Today looked very straightforward on the map and the only bit which I perceived as being strenuous was the final pull up to the Beallach Dubh. I was wrong again!

After setting off under grey (but dry) skies, we took to the path beside the torrent which today was raging slightly less than last night. Perhaps it didn't rain all night; perhaps it was only for the hour and a bit that I lay awake waiting for it to stop so I could go and use the en-suite.

That river-side path was a good, solid path in some places, which were a joy to walk. In other places it was waterlogged and quite often it disappeared into bogs and wallows. Combined with the undulations, it made for hard work for my weary legs. I was definitely ruing that we'd brought forward our reservation at the bunkhouse, meaning that we had to make it to Dalwhinnie.

Then we crossed the valley and climbed up to the path which would take us all the way to Culra Lodge, and found it to be about as perfect a path as you could ask for.

Along we sped, only slowing when patches of snow proved to be very wet and slippery.

So good was the path, that I barely noticed the final ascent up to the pass.

Down the other side, some of the snow patches were surprisingly deep, but it was the thinner areas which had us skating about. It was down there that we met the snowman blocking our path. We had no doubt that it had been left by Adrian. He had camped by us last night and his were the only prints in the snow.

Culra Lodge Bothy was reached just before noon, and who should we find there but the snowman-maker himself.

He left before us, but missed the path which gives the shorter route to Dalwhinnie, and so we found ourselves in front until we stopped in the sun, alongside Loch Ericht, for afternoon tea.

It was then just a fast 3 miles into Dalwhinnie where we wasted no time in creating a veritable kit explosion in our room in the bunkhouse. Hopefully everything will be dry by morning.

After having only met a few Acharacle starters over the first 5 days, this evening we are in the company of 5 others Challengers from various start points.

And on that note, I have some chatting to do...

(Thank you for the comments - even Alan R who cruelly pointed out what good weather he's had further east!)

Click here for Day 6

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. It sounds like a fairly tough crossing. How does it compare with others so far? It is bringing back many memories as I follow you on the map.

    I have bought a Senior Railcard so am now a bit committed to setting off somewhere, and I'm busy going through all my backpacking kit which has lain dormant since the middle of June 2011.

  2. I think I can safely say the weather will improve for you from now on.
    Not that I have a complex or anything....

  3. Greetings from a bog near Inverness. Well done on finishing before 5pm even on your long days. Hoping things are still going well.