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 27 June 2008

Day 73 - Loch Monar to River Coulin

26 June
Distance: about 17.25 miles

It's feeling like our customary setting as I type this. The tent is sitting perched on the very edge of the bank of a stone-bedded (and therefore noisy) river. Once again the rain is drumming down, and today it's being battered by the wind too.

It hasn't been bad weather all day, though. At 6.15 this morning, as I stuck my head out of the tent, I found that my wish had been granted. There were blue skies with fluffy clouds setting off nicely our surroundings of big hills and water.

Off we set at the usual time, under an increasingly cloudy (but still dry) sky, along the wiggly, undulating path along the loch shore until an hour or so later, after a tricky stream crossing (there were the remains of a bridge, but not sufficient remains to consider using them as a means to cross the torrent below) we started heading uphill to our first pass of the day.

It was a similar story to yesterday (although much prettier surroundings, in my opinion). Once the path up to the pass ran out it was a cross country yomp that slowed down our usual pace considerably. It was a tad drier underfoot than yesterday, mind, and at least it wasn't raining, although we were being thrown around occasionally by the blustery wind.

Dropping down into the Glen Carron, amid spectacular scenery, we opted to take a slightly higher path than I'd plotted, which gave the knees a good test on the downward side (the jury's out as to whether it was a test they passed)!

The wind was getting us good and proper as we made our way along the glen to Craig and, perhaps as a result of yesterday's hard day, the limbs were starting to feel tired even though we had a way to go.

In Craig we would have succumbed to the hostel except that it wasn't open at 3pm and we didn't fancy hanging around, so on we plodded steeply up to the Coulin Pass.

The schedule had our day ending at the top of the pass, but even from the map it looked unlikely that there would be suitable ground there, and so it turned out to be.

So, with complaining feet and weary bones we continued on for 2 more miles - giving the heavy rain just enough time to reach us.

The good point about having walked 2 miles into tomorrow (as we kept reminding ourselves as the rain got heavier) is that we now only have a 7-mile day tomorrow. That equates to both a lie-in and an early finish.

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