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]

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Day 6 - Bridge of Balgie to Tummel Bridge

13 May
18.5 miles

As we bade farewell to our fellow Challengers at 0730 this morning we set out on what, at a glance, had looked like a pretty easy 13.5 mile day. We even rued, under the clear sky, not having planned a 'fair weather alternative' over some more hills.

The track up to the pass over to Loch Rannoch was indeed easy and fast. Our plan to then yomp for 3 miles across country was modified when we weighed up wading thight deep through heather with the alternative of extra road walking and extra miles and took what appeared to be the better option.

The tracks we took through forestry were pleasant enough, offering as they did some views and even the road had its merits. But my feet! Oh they did protest at the pounding - particularly my poorly toe.

The route I had planned from the road to the river Tummel looked so straightforward on the map but proved to be tougher on the ground - which was actually a relief for the toe after the repetitive pounding of the road.

After an incident of Mick climbing over a remarkably tall deer fence without noticing the gate a few yards down (I opted for the gate myself) we reached our intended destination - only to find that the expected access to water was missing.

On we went, with me changing to my crocs and back again, and getting increasingly desperate for somewhere to pitch.

Even foregoing the usual comfort requirements there was nowhere we could see that, even with the desperation factor, looked feasible. With faith in the fact that something always turns up, on we plodded, but as we approached the main B road our faith began to dwindle.

It turned out not to be misplaced faith. There, about 100 yds down a grassy side track, alongside some houses and just before the road we found a grassy pitch on the side of a large pond.

It had been a long day, but with this pitch I think that we fell on our feet at the end of it and as an added bonus we're now 2.5 miles into tomorrow.

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