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]

Monday 10 May 2010

Day 45 - Fort William to Glen Finnan

Friday 7 May
Distance: 16.25 miles (Tot: 773.75 miles)
Number of ticks found on me: 1
Highest altitude reached today: a dizzying 52 metres.

I went on a ferry this morning!

That may not seem like an extraordinary declaration to anyone unaware of my intense dislike of boats.

It was quite horrible. It smelt like a ferry and it bobbed up and down like a ferry, even if it was only a tiny craft that took 10 minutes to cross Loch Eil from Fort William.

With the time of the first ferry (7.45) not being achievable if we wanted breakfast at our B&B (and we did want breakfast; most definitely), it was another leisurely start as the next ferry wasn't until 10am.

By quarter past we were walking; a 9.5 mile walk along the A821. As road walks go, it was rather nice. It may be an A road, but it's single track with passing places and not what I would call busy. Following the loch shore, it's as flat as a flat thing and the views really were quite something. Looking behind us, Ben Nevis was in view - even the top. I don't think that I've seen the top before.

From the end of Loch Eil I had plotted one of those routes that makes Mick ask "what made you think that this route would be possible?". On this occasion I had us going straight through a forest, without any path or track marked on the map, and as we all know, conifer plantations are not something that you can just bash through.

This wasn't one of my plotted-whilst-drunk routes (where I suddenly think that it is a good idea to bash through a conifer plantation). I recall having spent a while poring over aerial photos which told me that there was a break in the trees that ran the whole way through, and through that break we were going to walk.

The problem was always going to be locating the start of that break, and we were sidetracked by a track, which led us too high in the forest before stopping abruptly. Fortunately it stopped by a stream so it was a simple case of following that (quite delightful) stream down until the break was found.

With deer all over and the break featuring great knots of tall grass the issue of ticks sprang to mind and it wasn't a difficult decision to go for the always-attractive look of trousers tucked into socks. Standing back up from the tucking activity was when I spotted the tick crawling up my arm.

Our way through the forest turned out to be perfectly feasible. It was a bit of a bog-fest at times, but the deer had helped us by leaving some good trods, which often led us to the best way through.

Reaching a clearing much sooner than expected (we were making good time) I declared that we only had a third of a mile to go. It was a hard-won third of a mile, though, as the reason for that clearing became apparent: it hadn't been planted as it was a huge bog. Often a walking pole was lost a foot and a half down as we tried to pick a route through that wouldn't see either of us disappear to the waist.

After an interesting interlude in what would otherwise be a day of road walking, we were back on tarmac, this time on the big, proper A road. It later became apparent that the road walking (only a mile and a half) could have been avoided, but again it wasn't busy and there was a good verge.

The walk up Glen Finnan was done with my jaw on the floor. What an absolutely stunning place it is.

We walked so far up the glen and spotted another tent. "That looks like a good place to pitch" we thought, so we went an pitched next to it.

No, really, we did!

But, being outside of a bothy, I don't think that's an unacceptable thing to do (and by 'next to' I actually mean as far away as we could get whilst still being on the flat grassy bit).

It's Corryhully bothy we're at, which has electric lights and a kettle, and I'm typing this sitting outside in the late afternoon sunshine with the most tremendous blue-skied views all around. It's not a bad place to be, you know...

(Just looking through the bothy book I see that Phil & Tini were here last November. Coming through on the Challenge, eh?)
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1 comment:

  1. Is it not possible to follow the railway line until it hits the A road?