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 74 - River Coulin to Kinlochewe

27 June
Distance: 7 long miles
Number of people seen out walking in last 6 days: 0

Last night's wind and rain had gone by this morning, which meant that we awoke to a midge-fest.

It was an exercise in packing away not just within the confines of the tent, but within the confines of the inner tent.

Once out trying to out-pace the midges the walk started easily enough along tracks, where the rain started gently to fall again.

As we left the track to make our way through a forest we expected the going to be hard. For the next seven days we're following the route described in the Cicerone End to End Trail book, and the description for the passage through this forest did not give us an optimistic feeling.

That bit of the route turned out to be fine (wet underfoot, but that's expected).

It was the final couple of miles into Kinlochewe, which the route description made sound so easy ('pathless but easy walking' then 'follow the path ... into Kinlochewe') that turned out to be today's trial. At one point we became so convinced that we weren't where we thought we were that we broke out the GPS. It told us that we were exactly where we thought we were. It didn't make the going any easier, mind.

We did finally pick up the path into Kinlochewe and after what felt like a much longer walk that it was, we arrived in the village at just after noon.

After establishing that the Post Office closes at 10.30am (so that's me carrying the dead Steripen for at least another four days), we headed for the campsite.

'Sorry no tents' said the sign outside. Now that was unexpected. Not only do I have a note on the schedule that says 'It does take tents', but we phoned earlier in the week to check too.

So we popped in to find that we had been given erroneous information earlier in the week. The main reason that they don't take tents is that they have no grass - except for one tiny corner where there's a small lawn laid on hardstanding.

We weren't to be homeless for the night. The warden is very friendly and helpful and said that if we could use the little patch of grass then we could stay there. She warned us that we'd likely need rock pegs.

Funnily enough, I didn't pack rock pegs and a hammer, but I also wasn't in fear, in this sheltered corner, of a wild gale (famous last words?), so we made do with shallowly laid pegs. Even better, the warden then donated the £9.30 fee to Macmillan.

For the fact that we got a pitch at all, I'll overlook the fact that there's a midge gathering happening at our tent as I type this.

Looking at the schedule we find that we've now spent 50 days in a tent and that we're well under-budget on B&Bs. So, as a special treat, we've booked ourselves into the hotel at Oykel Bridge for Monday night.

Alas, we then went on to find that the two hotels in Watten, where we're due to stay next Saturday, are fully booked. That leaves us with a smidge of a problem for the moment. Vic (our emergency crisis resolver as well as web-master) is on the case.

Today's rant (by way of a general rant and not in any way looking a gift horse in the mouth): What's wrong with conventional mixer showers that work with a knob and a valve? They work and they're pretty reliable with little to go wrong. Electronic showers on the other hand, that turn on when they sense someone in front of them (showering that person with cold water) and then randomly turn off and even more randomly think (when your back is turned) that you're touching the 'cold' sensor repeatedly, and then fail to acknowledge repeated touches of the 'hot' sensor - well they're just a bad idea. That was not a pleasing shower experience after three days of smelling.)

1 comment:

  1. We followed the directions in 'North to the Cape' for this section and had navigational problems through the first forest and as for the second: down right dangerous descending on felled wood and then when finally out of it to find a 'Walkers Welcome' sign encouraging you to walk through that hellish mess! Humph!!!

    We too found the last section to the road at Kinlochewe tricky, due to the dense undergrowth.