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 11 May 2010

Day 49 - Morvich to Attadale

Tuesday 11 May (0830-1745)
Distance: 18.5 miles (Tot: 836.5 miles)
Weather: showers (rain, snow, hail, snow, hail, hail, snow, sun!, rain, sun!, rain); cold
Number of really spectacular waterfalls: 1

It was a later than intended start today. The alarm went off at the usual hour, but after snoozing it three times I decided that I didn't much fancy getting up, and so turned it off and snuggled down.

An hour later I managed to drag myself away from down-heaven and out into the big wide world I crawled - to find that above 200m the world had turned monochrome, in contrast to the green of the valley.

The smattering of snow was already melting as we set out (and we would have been away 10 minutes earlier except that having put our packs on we noticed the rain heading our way and paused to don waterproof trousers).

Our first objective of the day was the Falls of Glomach, 5.5 miles away, and we soon gathered by the sign-posting and the very well trodden path that it's a popular walk from Morvich.

It's no easy stroll though, topping out at around 1700 feet (and made a bit tricker today by snow and hail being hurled at us by a head-wind as we reached the pass).

The falls are impressive, and so big and located such that I couldn't get the whole thing in one photo. In fact, the only way to see the bottom of the fall was to go to the lowest viewing area and stand perilously close to the edge. With the wind coming from behind, I didn't pause in that position long enough to take a photo.

Having admired the falls over elevenses, the task of finding our route down was before us, and it seemed likely that it would be equally well trodden. So it was, but it took us a short while to find it; perhaps looking at the map would have been a good idea, rather than working on the basis of 'well we should be able to see it'!

That path down to Glen Elchaig from the falls was not for vertigo sufferers, and Mick repeatedly reminded me to be careful. He obviously didn't think I was heeding him when I stood on a wet stone and my leg shot out from under me. It wasn't at one of the perilous points in the path, and I did spring back up, but sporting a rather wet seat and with cold water dripping down my leg - never pleasant.

In the glen we took advantage of one of the rare sunny periods and hid behind a wall for lunch, and found that when in the sun and out of the wind it was quite warm. Ten minutes after setting off again, I had everything back on as the temperature plummetted as more rain hit us (overtrousers on, overtrousers off, repeat - a bit of a theme of the day).

After chatting to an Australian shepherd in Killilan, who is looking forward to going back home to a more agreeable climate in a few weeks time, we veered off the road again for our last climb of the day.

Approaching the top Mick seemed to put something of a sprint on and it was all I could do to huff and puff and keep up with him. Finally slowing as the terrain flattened at the top I asked if there was some sort of race, as he doesn't usually go that fast even on the flat.

He grinned and said there was a race. Looking at his watch he said "I wanted to get to the top by 5pm and it's now 5 exactly".

A rather more sedate stroll was had through some neglected-looking forestry, and then we had reached the end of our day. We had already decided, however, looking at the map earlier, that it looked like the camping would be much nicer if we continued on down to Attadale, so that's what we did.

We're pitched by the river, in a place that I'm not convinced is entirely proper, being in a lush, enclosed field. It's not being used for anything else though, so hopefully no-one will mind us occupying the corner overnight.

(News of the new shoes: I didn't carry my old ones beyond Morvich, but put all of my faith in the new ones. I did put the old ones in my pack, but with all the food in there they didn't fit too well, so in the bin they went. Happily, the new ones have been just fine today.)

(Stephen/Mike: well done on your K2B performances and glad the weather wasn't unkind to you this year.
Dawn/Martin R: it is indeed a splendid area, and enjoying it we are.
Odyssee: re. following the train line on the Ft Bill day - I have no idea and that map is now long gone!)
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