About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Thursday, 29 May 2014

THE TGO CHALLENGE 2014.....DAY 3 (Going Commando)

Day 3 Loch Arkaig to Spean Bridge 16 miles

 Long road walk today, but its a very quiet road (and its a sunday, I think) so no worries about traffic, being an avid fly fisher I love lochs, rivers and water in general (except when its in my boots, or going up my nose, that really pisses me off). Im a bit of a dreamer, my mind is more often than not some place else, so I'm quite happy to wander down the road with the loch to gaze at while day dreaming . 

 A really good sleep was had, it rained, I sort of noticed between rolling over and stripping off bits, I went heavy (Rab 700) on the sleeping bag, it was a good decision in hindsight, butt naked every night was far more comfortable (and dare I say hygienic) than the hundreds of times ive slept fully clothed.
I unzipped the scarp to be met by a couple of red deer hinds grazing about 20/30m away, they soon scarpered when they noticed me (natural reaction to a smiling chubby bloke with no pants on I suppose).
It was a fine morning with the loch looking like a mirror (a couple weeks and it will be a midge fest), so brew on and a BBQ beans and sausage boil in the bag and I was ready to roll, rather bloody efficient this morning and on the road for 0800. I quickly passed a couple of lads who were happily dawdling along chatting,  then another three that were just emerging from their tents (lazy bar stewards......). The first cuckoo of the day anounced it presence with its sweet call.

 Boat and paddles ummmmm, I would be lying if I said the thought never crossed my mind, looks like a ferry to me. Just as well I didn't though, 20 minutes later a van passed me heading up the glen, 45 minutes later it passed me going down the glen with my ferry on the roof

 Nearing the end of the loch after a couple of pleasant hours walking, my bivi had been way up beyond the second plantation, on the far right (that the north bank of the loch by the way, not a national front/torry/lib dim alliance). Nae dramas with the walk down the road, nothing unpleasant about it at all, if anything I think it allowed my blisters a bit of respite from the uneven, rocky stuff.

 The end of the loch, the local council had kindly put good bins out too and I managed to lighten my load a wee bit.

 It was good to reach the Cameron family seat, its my clan (although I pay homage to the McDonald's of Union Street too), I was going to ask for a family discount on an ice lolly, but sadly it was only about 1130 and the place didn't open until 1300 or 1400 I think, bloody Camerons.

 Just as I hit the road in the great glen I noticed this sign on the other side so i wandered over to check it out, the things you see and learn about while bimbling around in the back of beyond is quite amazing. 

 Loch Lochy, there was a big rain shower coming down the loch towards me, I headed off hoping to keep in front of it and stave off the waterproofs and rain cover requirements.

The canal,  it felt like a big moment reaching it, some sort of milestone in the walk, phase 1 complete.

As soon as I stepped onto the bridge the rain caught up with me and it really started to belt down, I stood under a tree like a kidnapped garden gnome for 15 minutes,  gambling/hoping on a short summer shower scenario, it got heavier so I donned the rubber gear (sorry thats from the other blog) waterproofs and headed back onto the road for the climb up to Spean Bridge,  200yds later the rain stopped and I started to sweat like a glaswegian in the subsidy que as I headed up the hill.

I hadn't planned on going up to the commando monument, having been there a few times throughout the years, the path I had planned on taking into spean bridge seemed to have had a caravan park plonked on it. I wasnt sure so just kept to the road, while muttering anti caravan obscenities under my breath, further up the road the path actually came alongside and I debated jumping the fence and getting on it, but one look at the mud fest that it was and the easy decision to stay on the road was made. It was a very easy walk, even on a now lovely warm day while clad in a dozen layers of goretex and merino.
Shit, Tomorrow looks lumpy

The wee sweaty overdressed ball of gortex slithered into the village at 1355 and waltzed straight into the Spean Bridge hotel full of trepidation after reading the reviews (4 months after booking it), two very friendly wifies on the desk immediately handed me my resupply parcel and then fought over who was going to show me to my room, a perfectly natural quandary for women the world over to find themselves in be fair. I suggested, that for a joke they should put any other challengers in the really shitty condemned chalets out the back...........

My room was sound, I rattled the radiator right up to full, did a washing, had a shower, hung the tent and inner up in the bathroom and plugged in everything that needed plugging in.

A quick look out the window confirmed the sun was over the yard arm (I dont actually know what that means), but it felt like time for a deserved guinness, copious amounts of guinness in fact. The quick look out of the window also confirmed my room view was on to the car park with a fair few folk wandering to and fro, maybe I should stick some clothes on or at least close the curtains before someone called the RSPCA.

I dressed in my dinner outfit and went through to the commando bar just as it opened, two afy nice wifies that were walking the great glen way also came in and we chatted for a while, fellow challenger Ian (hope that's right) who I'd chatted with the previous day at the top of Arkaig also came in and we enjoyed a few swift lemonades and a fine bar meal, I had steak and chips, it was ace and I managed to aquire a couple more sachets of mustard. Ian was having a bit of a drana with his shoulder and was hoping a good nights sleep would sort it out, it turned into a really really late one and I eventually retired to bed about 2200 (yes it is bloody really really late), in a happy and contented mood for a night between crisp sheets. The room was a tadge warm but everything was dry.

Day 3 impressions

A very straight forward easy day, Arkaig was fine enough, no problems road walking, and the decent weather probably helped, I dont like caravans and are those cuckoos following me.



  1. Really enjoyable read so far, keep having to explain why I'm giggling! Some cracking photos too.

    1. Thank you very much Louise, I fear this walk report could drag on for a wee while yet

  2. I agree with Louise.
    A great read, Sir!

  3. Also Alan, thank you for your comments, It is very much appreciated

  4. I also agree with the above comments. Just read all of the first three days. Much to my wife's annoyance with repeated comments of what are laughing at now.