About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Friday, 30 May 2014

THE TGO CHALLENGE 2014.....DAY 4 (Right Planet, Wrong Grid)

Day 4 Spean Bridge to Loch Treig (a couple of miles beyond actually) 13 miles

This was the day that before i left home i thought might just be a right ball buster, not through what lay ahead on the day, but more the mental attitude after a porcelain toilet, a good night in a hotel and being 4 days on the road. I need not have worried, it turned out the only problem i had that morning, was full Scottish or healthy? aye that was a major decision right enough, so, both it was then with heaps of coffee and fresh orange to boot. 

Ian also appeared at breakfast and wasn't in great spirits having decided he was going to pull out with his knackered shoulder. A great shame after all the prep and planning that go into taking part. I must be a jinx as I'd also spoken to a lad on day 2 who had also decided to walk out to Fort William and withdraw with a goosed hip. Dont speak to me if you value your health it seems.

 After checking out and parting with 50 of my hard earned sheckles, (happy with that tbh) it was back on the road with a jaunty spring in my step, a wee bitty too eager perhaps as i had forgotten to go to the shop, a quick about turn and back to the Spar shop then. Arrgghh No steak, so only Richmond sassages and wholemeal wraps were purchased and packed away for tomorrows breakfast, there were another three or four other challengers darting up and down the aisles or getting a breakfast from the hot counter. 
Finally with less spring this time I headed off again, sound, the routes even signed, a piece of cake this navigation lark.  A few hundred yards later I came to the train station,  in fact the train station car park, pretty decent as station car parks go but the distinct lack of exit rung some "this doesn't look right" bells. I got the 1.50 map out, it wasnt much kop, even less so without my specs, a couple of dog walkers pointed me in the right direction,  "back the way you came" oh the shame, map reading instructor lost in a one horse town car park, even worse, I passed a couple of young ladies in hiking gear for the 3rd time, best I stride out a bit and exude confidence like I'm some sort of seasoned adventurer.

 Someone knew I was heading this way then, seriously, there's sign posts appearing everywhere these days. It was also about here I realised I hadn't bought my sweet ration in the spar, i do like my snickers each day, I sure as hell wasnt going back though.

 Still a decent skelp of snow about up high

 The wee meenister, wishing luck and safe travels to all, even tourists (but not including caravanners)

 Some pics of Lairig Leacach, another of Scotlands stunning mountain passes, i had noticed this morning how fit I felt, it was almost like I had walked myself into shape, it was remarkably easy going up through the glen this morning.

Just before I got to the bothy a major mountain rescue incident occurred, as I followed the winding track I was vaguely aware of the only ewe and lamb for miles around wandering in between some low humps, when i rounded a corner a few hundred meters away there was another wee lamb standing by a burn bleating away like a maddie and shaking like a leaf, I think it had been in the burn and it was now cold, wet and split from its mither (or it had had a great night out), being a softie at heart I spent the next 10 minutes doing the one man and his Lekki pole thing, shepherding it through between the wee hillocks, finally both parties spotted each other and were reunited, as I left both lambs were getting a spot of brunch from mother. I expect this gallant act will go well with my MBE application. 

 I decided to stop in the bothy and have an early lunch, I hadn't seen any challengers since Spean Bridge, although I did walk for a short distance with a lad who was aiming to do a couple of corbets, just as I was getting some water everything went all European, first Nicole appeared, then 5 minutes later Markus and Philipp also turned up, an Austria/German invasion by stealth (spooky eh), having lived in germany for 12 years im pretty decent at the old deutsch, but I didnt let on, from what I made out they thought I was very intelligent and rather cute, Fact........ this revelation caused me to spill the whole cup of coffee id just made, all over the bunk and me, I wasn't thirsty anyway, much. 

I wandered off on my way up to loch Treig on what was going to turn into a bit of a man made bog fest.

 The naturally boggy path had been ripped to shreds by a motorcycle trials competition the week previously,  the ground was saturated anyway and it was hard enough going, but some sections were a nightmare to get past, it was like this from the bothy right up to the loch.

 I loved this narrow wee ravine,  in one side from the glen, out the other side to the loch. I slipped on my arse in the middle of it though, its becoming a habit. 

 New bridge, biker friendly too

 Christ, they really are everywhere.

 A nice evening over a full loch, I had planned on pitching at the old lodge, but it was still early so I pushed on to the track and railway crossover a mile or so further on.

 I was rather surprised to find this large spot empty, I had a wander around and picked what I thought was the best patch and settled down to camp routine, I was later joined by another challenger and a few passed by on there way to corrour.

Finally, the one and only attempt at shit food, ainslies cous cous (I love it at home) and matesons smoked sausage, if its any consolation it did taste as bad as it looks, thankfully I had a tomato soup and salami stick in reserve. I think the rain came on and it was a case of sleeping bag and kindle for half an hour before unconsciousness took over.

Day 4 impressions

Pay attention to your route, stick to steak, sausages and boil in the bags, next time find out about the 6 day trials routes and go somewhere else. Furry boots has the cuckoo gone.



  1. Really enjoying your blog.


  2. Every year those bastard bikers destroy a whole section of Scotland. They even get funding from the Scottish Government for it as well.
    I'm really enjoying your write-up though.

    1. Alan, It was soul destroying and the most un enjoyable section of the whole challenge for me. I had previously read one of your blogs were you had the same problem, the pictures dont show how bad they rip the place apart

  3. Ah, that was you in the bothy then... :)

    It was nice to meet you, and a very funny Challenge report so far, looking forward to the rest of it!

    1. Thanks Nicole, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you (and the lads), im not always that clumsy, honest........