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, 22 May 2012

TGOC Day 12 - Hill of Badymicks to Leachie Hill

Tuesday 22 May (0750-1510)
Distance: 14.5 miles
Weather: hot and sunny
Number of wildcats seen: 1
Number of deer population analysts encountered: 2

Let's start with the highlight of the day: Clachnaben. What a fantastic little hill! In a sea of rolling, heather- and peat-clad hills, it stands out due to an unmissable big rocky outcrop that sits on its summit. Thanks to that outcrop, we had the hill within our sight for much of yesterday afternoon, and three minutes before we camped today it was still visible through a break in the trees.

At just gone 9am, we clambered up to the top of that rocky knoll (which looks like it belongs in the Peak District) and took in the views. Hazy, but extensive.

Our delight wasn't over as we descended under stunning blue skies, as after the steep stone staircase of a path we found ourselves next to a gorgeous burn, complete with some fine pitches. We will keep them in mind for future walks!

Opting to ignore a 'private access only' sign, a track too us down to a B road, which we followed for 1km, before heading off into the forest. Nine miles we've just walked through the forest and that could have been a bit of a dull, cold green-tunnel of a walk. As it went we walked seven and a half miles before we got hemmed in by trees, and then it was only for a few minutes, so we were in the sun and enjoying views almost all of the time. The combination of sun and views led to some unusually long breaks being taken!

Leachie Hill was where we'd had in mind to camp so it was with pleasure, on our approach, that we saw that it sported as many grassy areas as heather. The grass is tussocky, but some hunting around, just beyond the trig-point, found us a flat-enough pitch and so we've the rest of the afternoon off. It's also quite pleasing to be pitched within sight of the sea.

As for the weather - well, we seem to have gone from deep mid-winter to mid-summer in the blink of an eye. Even though we camped at 1800' last night (a height at which we were walking through snow on Day 1), and even though there was a clear sky, it was a warm night. It's been another warm day too, which does make a nice change - even if it does make the bag a bit heavy, what with carrying all of those clothes that I was wearing for the first week or so!

(Alan - I'm not using my lovely PHD bag on this trip. I decided that, being in need of a clean, it couldn't cope with both this trip and the US trip, so I'm saving it. Instead I've got my Rab Quantum 400W, which is far warmer than I remember it being (mind, it is also far heavier). I've not had to use the hood once on this trip.
Conrad - I was also advised that it's 'clack na ben', with a short 'na' and emphasis on the 'ben'. I'm so pleased that you pointed it out to us; having been there I would hate to have missed it.)

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