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, 11 May 2014

Day 2 - Glenuaig Lodge to W end of Orrin Reservoir


Saturday 10 May (0740-1655)
Distance: 17.5 miles (on paper, the reality was somewhat more; we wiggled around today)
Weather: rain, interspersed with light rain and heavy rain.
Number of other people seen: 1, in a 4x4, on an estate track. Not a single other person.


The rain that fell for many hours last night started again just as we were packing away this morning. Looking on the bright side, our packs were made lighter by wearing all of our waterproofs. On the not-so-bright side, the wind was easterly and we were heading east, straight into the rain.

Having been spoilt by good paths and tracks for the entirety of yesterday's walk, today we were far from spoilt. Slow progress was made along the patchy path, interspersed with significant sections of yomping across waterlogged ground. It made for slow progress, such that 3 hours into the day we had covered under 5 miles.

At that point a clearly visible track, in the direction our route-sheet said we were going, enticed us to revert to the original plan. During the morning we had decided to go a different way, but both were unknowns as to underfoot conditions, so when we saw the path, we worked on the principle of "better the devil you know" (or, in our case, can see) and off we veered. That required us to ford a very large, although not swift moving, river, hence a delay as we searched for somewhere suitable to cross and then carefully picked our way across its 3 braids.

My goodness, that water was a bit parky! I can't think of a time my ankles have been colder.

Half an hour later (a half-hour of dryness on a rainy day) we were the other side, but had still only covered 5 miles. I decreed that, as we were powerless to make the ground easier or faster, we wouldn't worry about the intended mileage for the day, but simply walk until 5pm and pitch at the first available spot.

That seemed a good tactic, as the track up to the pass was patchy as well as steep in places so our pace didn't increase.

Down the other side was not only easier, but we knocked a kilometre off our day (only to add it back later when we took a diversion to avoid a bogfest) by leaving the path to dead-head to the loch below us. That loch shore, once reached, gave us the most blissfully easy miles of the day and we strode out all the way along. If the rain had stopped we probably would have appreciated our surroundings more, as they looked mightily fine.

The path along the River Orrin was (as was the theme of the day) patchy and, where it did exist, of varying quality. It was still faster than the morning's miles, though, such that by 2.30pm, it was looking like we would reach our intended night-stop by 5pm.

Our resolve wavered as we saw ahead of us a building that looked like it could include a bothy. It was only half a kilometre off our route, and we considered detouring to take a look. The final decision, however, was that even if there was a bothy, we ought to carry on, so as not to leave ourselves too big a day tomorrow, so I shall now have to rely on Google to tell me the background of that building.

Across a bridge that would make Health-and-Safety-Man recoil in horror we went, before continuing pathlessly along the other side of the river. I expected the Orrin Reservoir to soon become visible and was surprised when it didn't. Then I became suspicious. Then I pored over the map. It turns out that the reservoir as marked on the map is missing at its west end. Where we are camped tonight should, according to OS, be under water.

We didn't quite make it to our intended night-stop, nor to 5pm. At 4.50, the rain stopped and we wasted no time in seeking out a good pitch and getting the tent up in the dry. It's raining again as I type this, but in the intervening period we've had the longest dry spell of the day.

I do hope tomorrow is a bit drier...

Click here for Day 3

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

  1. Countryfile says it might be less showery, cool, little wind...or something. A smooth crossing will suit Laura!! Hope Hoppy is surviving.