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]

Friday, 17 May 2013

Day 6 - Dalwhinnie to River Feshie

15 May 2013 (0815-1730)
Distance: 18.5 miles
Ascent: 3500'
Weather: dry morning, showery afternoon (all pretty light and some wintry)
Number of accidental summits: 1

A few hundred yards into our walk today we had to make the decision we had been putting off. To go high or to stay low. We decided that an amble along our low route was the order of the day, so off we went along a track which turned out not to be at all attractive.

Ten o'clock came, we had covered five miles and had come upon a sheltered spot outside of a shooting hut. Sitting there having second breakfast (along with Adrian and another chap, who caught us up within minutes of us stopping), I looked at the map. Then I looked at the lump in front of us, which we were about to skirt. Then I looked at the map again.

My sales-pitch to Mick pointed out that with a baggers' path visible on our side of the hill and a path marked on the map on the other side, and with the extra ascent being only 1600', it would be almost as easy to go over as to go around. And it was good weather for it too.

To my surprise, Mick didn't just agree with me, but he added to the list of benefits the thought that the low path would involve a very wet yomp, whereas the high route would be dry.

And so it was that elevenses were had in the lee of the summit cairn of the Munro Meall Chuaich (along with Adrian, who scampered up faster than my little legs could go). The views were excellent, with the Cairngorms in one direction and Ben Alder and its pals in the other, all snow capped.

Back down the hill and back on our intended route I had thought that the rest of the day would be pretty straight forward, being all on tracks and paths. Alas, one path proved elusive (and the excellent old track we found in the right direction suddenly ended), so we spent about two and a half miles yomping across a rough hillside. Having ascended quite a way to seek better ground, we were smug about avoiding the bog lower down - until we got to a valley we had to cross. Splosh, splosh, splosh.

The pull up the opposite side of the valley had me thankful that my legs seem finally to have accepted that they're going to get this sort of abuse every day. Even when the next path we intended to take, through a patch of forest, proved impassable due to blow-downs, my legs didn't baulk at the thought of another 300' of ascent to follow an alternative track around.

We should have ended our day a couple of miles further on, but the weather was being a bit inclement at the time and we thought it would be nice to get to the Feshie tonight, ready to ford it tomorrow.

Of course, when we got there we thought that we may as well get across tonight. It then took a while then for us to find a passable pitch on the other side, hence our day was prolonged further, but we now are well placed to reach Mar Lodge tomorrow. That will put us the best part of two days ahead of schedule. Ooops. We do, however, have a plan to use up an extra day (weather permitting).

But, for now, it's time for me to add some instant mash to my lentil stew and hope that some of the heat of the evening meal makes it to my feet. We had to ford four channels of the River Feshie (each only shin deep), and it seems that my feet haven't quite forgiven me yet.

(Conrad - we received your comment atop Meall Chuaich, just as we were saying "Conrad's been here, you know". Glad to hear you have a rail card and the back pack is being dusted off :-))

Click here for Day 7

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1 comment:

  1. Gosh, FOUR channels of the Feshie....that's a lorra, lorra water.