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]

Sunday 16 June 2013

TGO Challenge 2013 Photos (Part 1: Acharacle to Mamore Lodge)

Having finally downloaded and looked through the photos from this year’s walk across Scotland, I thought that I would post some of them. I’ll do it in a few parts, and here’s Part 1, covering the first three days.

Day 0

Here’s a photo from the day before, taken from the window of our room in the hotel at Acharacle, as the sun went down. It was looking promising for the fine forecast for the following day to hold true.

Day 0

Day 1

Yay! The same view-from-the-window as taken the night before, with plenty of blue sky in evidence.

Day 1_1

About an hour and a quarter through the day, walking through a forest, our main objective for the first day, Beinn Resipol, came firmly into view. What happened to that lovely fine weather? I clutched at the straw that the cloud would lift before we got to the top. My optimism was severely misplaced!

Day 1_2

Fifteen minutes later, we said goodbye to easy walking on a good surface, as we set off to yomp through a boggy, tussocky break in the forest:

Day 1_3

The yomping saw us cover a mile and a half and involved a few deer fences (only one of which required a clamber), before we joined the baggers’ path which leads up to Beinn Resipol. That’s Adrian behind me, and Kirsten was ahead of us, having all arrived at the same point on the path within a minute of each other, even though different routes were taken to get there.

Day 1_4

Harrumph! So much for the cloud lifting. Not only had it descended further, but by now it was raining steadily too.

Day 1_5

After a quick (and soggy) lunch break, we made it to the top of the hill. We stayed up on the top for all of, oooh, 30 seconds, before legging it eastwards. It wasn’t an inviting place to be and I’d lost the feeling in my fingers and toes (soon restored as we got out of the wind on the very top).

Day 1_6

No doubt as a side-effect of the weather, not a single photo was taken on the seemingly-endless descent. The next time the camera made it out of the bag was when I thought about how ridiculous we must look as we all tried to dry our trousers in front of the wood-burner in the tea-room/restaurant at Ariundle.

Day 1_7

Even though we were lucky, and the rain let up for a few minutes whilst we pitched the tent (by luck, not judgement!), we completely failed to take a photo of our first of three consecutive ‘back garden’ pitches.

Day 2

It was another grey day as we headed up the River Strontian. Bit damp underfoot too, but when we’d opted to go via Glen Gour, we had known that would be the case (I had commented on the dampness in 2011, when we walked this route in the opposite direction, after 6 weeks of dry weather).

Day 2_1

We hadn’t gone very far when we got to rather a swollen side-stream. It didn’t bode well for the rest of the day, but it turned out that this was the only significant wade of the day (that’s Kirsten up to her knees, whilst I await my turn).

Day 2_2

See all of that waterlogged ground? It wasn’t a localised thing! Thank goodness the weather was quite warm, and thus it was no hardship to spend the day sploshing!

Day 2_3

There is then a huge gap in the photos. The sunny photo I took of Mick, Laura and Kirsten eating ice cream outside of the shop at Clovullin was on my phone and the next time my camera made an appearance was after we had crossed on the Corran Ferry and headed up through the forest above Inchree. We took the route I’d marked on the map, rather than the route we’d taken previously, and it was a good choice. Aside from being a path (the alternative was a forest track), it took us past some impressive waterfalls.

Day 2_4

Finally, we pitched up in the back garden of the empty farmhouse Gleann Seileach, thus continuing our accidental theme of pitching in back gardens! It was clearly raining further up the glen (the rainbow being a bit of a give-away), but I think that we escaped that particular shower.

Day 2_5

Day 3

A gentle 1-mile stroll along a forest track warmed us up for the day. Then we got down to business and took a brutal route to head out of the forest and towards Leac Mhor.

Day 3_1

Phew! The stile in the deer fence was exactly where we thought it was. Kirsten’s not fond of stiles over deer fences, and I struggled with this one (they’re not easy to climb one-handed and at this point my right hand was pretty useless to me).

Day 3_2

Up onto the open hill, it was another tussocky yomp:

Day 3_3

It was obviously the day for taking brutal lines up hills:

Day 3_4

Another big gap in the photos then occurred, with the next one being a couple of miles later, atop Mam na Gualainn (hmmm, no views from up there!). We nearly didn’t go up there, as my knee had been quite sore coming down from Tom Mheadhoin, but I really wanted to go up Beinn na Caillich and the only way that was going to happen was if we went over Mam na Gualainn first, so I opted to talk very nicely to the knee and hope that I wasn’t going to cause it any great mischief during the descent.

Day 3_5

As we stopped for lunch in the dip between Mam na Gualainn and Beinn na Caillich, the cloud drifted away (rain continued to fall, mind!) and we thought maybe we would enjoy some views on our way up. It wasn’t to be. The cloud was soon back down and even though we could appreciate what a lovely ridge it is, we saw absolutely bugger all!

Day 3_6

Finally, this isn’t technically a Day 3 photo, as it was taken on the morning of Day 4 (it was raining too much to consider leaving the tent to take a photo on the evening of Day 3, but there was no snow on the hills at that point). It doesn’t look too a bad pitch from that direction, does it, even if the wind did dictate that we couldn’t have the view of Loch Leven?

Day 4_1

The view from the other direction isn’t so pretty, but when we pitched there I was just happy to get the tent up and get out of the rain. That big tree in the left of the photo was particularly important – it meant that we were hidden from view should anyone come into the car park (not that anyone did, to the best of our knowledge).

Day 4_2

Click here for Part 2 of the Photos


  1. Looking at your excellent photographs (almost) made me want to be there too!

    Next stage please....


  2. A 'hug gap', how lovely!

    Your photos do look a little damp and atmospheric.

    1. I blame the proof reader! I shall just go and correct it (although I'm sure that a hug did feature somewhere during the gap).