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 17 June 2008

Day 63 - Kippen to Gleann Nam Meann

15 June
Distance: about 20.5 miles

It was a day that linked tracks together and in doing so used too much tarmac.

There's not a handy path running out of Kippen to the north (or at least not as far as I could find), so our first 8 miles were on roads, where far too many motorists (whose time is clearly too precious to spend ten seconds avoiding pedestrians) glared at us and some shook their heads. We got the feeling that the general concensus amongst those on one particular road was that pedestrians had no right to walk along it - not even those taking up only six inches of the road edge.

We finally got off the road only to find ourselves on a tarmacked track. Groan.

Tarmac finally gave way to unsurfaced track and that led us into a forest where tracks wiggled around and about, doubling the straight line distance that would have seen us to the other side.

I had thought that once we got out the other side of Brig O'Turk (where the 'Tea Room Open' sign was a complete lie) the track would be kinder to our feet. Alas it wasn't to be. We had another couple of miles of tarmac to contend with.

Things did start to get a bit more interesting up this track, mind. There were the two women who were very pleased to have completed the 13.5 mile Mell Circuit. There were the three shepherds who were making an absolute meal of rounding up a small flock of sheep with seven dogs.

And there were the five D of E chaps who were 3km away from completing their Silver expedition. They had a story to tell as one of their number had been airlifted to hospital yesterday after two of the lads had run 2.5 miles to the nearest farm to raise the alarm. It sounded like it had been a trip that they'll remember for more than the weight of their packs (in typical D of E style there were some big packs going on with lots of things lashed to the outside).

In an effort to reduce tomorrow's mileage, we didn't stop at the intended place today but decided to push on until 17.15 and see how far we got. The answer was that we got about 2 miles into tomorrow's walk, reducing it to a more palatable 20 miles.

We found ourselves a rather nice pitch too, with good views and good water close to hand. Unfortunately we didn't get a dreadfully long time to enjoy the location before the rain started.

It's rain that's forecasted to last for three days.

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