About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Monday, 9 June 2014

THE TGO CHALLENGE 2014.....DAY 6 (Snakes and Adders)

The Land of Hills, Glens and Heroes.
Where the Ptarmigan thrives
And where the red deer finds shelter. 
As long as mist hangs o'er the Mountains
And water runs in the glens. 
The deeds of the Brave will be remembered
Health and Success forever
To the Lads from the Highlands
Cabarfeidh gu Brath!

Day 6 Coille Bhienie to Loch Errochty 14 miles

 My original plan was just to walk to the west end of Loch Errochty, i got there and it was only about 1530 and tbh it didnt look the greatest of pitches,  so I just mossied on along the loch side, eventually at the far eastern end I found a bowling green esq spot. 

 Another breakfast (beans and sausages again) with a view, its a beautiful country and its looking like another great day, how lucky can you get with the weather, this is Scotland for gods sake, we want rain, we need rain or all conversation will cease.

 Another view from the pitch, it's about 4/500 yds away from the road (its just below the pine trees on the left) its a very quiet road as its a dead end about 5 miles to the west at Rannoch station.

The scarp was soaked with condensation this morning, there wasn't even a hint of breeze last night or this morning, so after giving it a token wipe down, i stripped it apart an packed it away and headed off for another day sightseeing.

I was only a hop, skip and a jump from the western end of loch Rannoch itself and it barely took me five minutes to get to the road junction at the head of the loch, as i got there another challenger (yes ive forgotten,  sorry), the first id seen for over 24hrs came along the other road. We walked and chatted for two or three miles until our routes split at the power station. We were both heading to Errochty that night but we had different routes planned.

I haven't a clue how this picture turned out like this, pretty cool I thought, but its actually been taken on a really bright still morning (as seen in the pic below)

 The views going down the side of the loch were really good with Schiehallion featuring rather prominently in most vistas.

 To be honest, I was really glad to get to my turn off just before Craiganour lodge, although it was very quiet i was a bit fed up on the road and had started looking at the map constantly, willing the miles away, it didn't work.

I was a bit worried as my turn off had a very very faded half hidden "private road" sign, luckily I never saw it and wandered along a nice track that splits away up the hill well before the lodge, a right of way was actually signposted here (so I dont know what the sign I hadn't seen was all about tbh.)

This is the marked path, slightly overgrown, it was easy going and didn't last long, there is actually one of the highest, narrowest stiles ever just up ahead, after that the path becomes slightly more distinct. The woods were also home to a herd of highland coos, they were moving slowly away from me, so I was moving even more slowly behind them until I reached my escape stile

No stile or style at this one, being a highly trained gate ninja I was over it in a flash, thankfully there's no witnesses to the flash. I can't remember if the same sign was on the other side, I really hope not, as it's only since I've been writing this up that ive noticed it says the key is beside the lock, aaaaggghhhh

It's starting to look less burn more path now, although it probably doesn't look it, this was actually another one of the really enjoyable sections, nice going underfoot, dry and so so peaceful. 

The last view of loch Rannoch. Since I had left the road it had been wonderful walking, this picture is taken from within a large fenced plantation, not the money making dreels of pine nightmares seen below,  but propper trees, really glad to say that I passed many more on the challenge and ive noticed loads on subsequent wanders around the eastern cairngorms.  The forestation is going along just dandy. I disturbed another two capercaillie here as well, wildlifes coming along just fine too it seems.

Agh, first problem of the day, to the left is a serious bog, all the way to that ridge, to the right is a deer fence that this goes under and theres no bloody way im going back. No retreat, no surrender....

Normally I can jump these or find a tuft or two to use as stepping stones, but on this occasion it wasn't happening, luckily as well as being a recently qualified gate ninja im also now a deer fence ninja, so I scaled the fence for about 10 foot sideways, fun with no solid footing, a heavy bergan and a flexing fence. It worked pretty well and I continued on with my spidey sences tingling away.

A couple of miles with no path, but there were plenty of sheep/deer tracks that vaguely went in the direction I wanted, so it was just a case of go with the flow

Eventually I got to the old sheilings,  although the ground slopes in most parts, theres plenty scope here if anyone planned to bivi up, wee crystal clear burns aplenty too.

After a wee river crossing the path starts to become quite distinct and quickly turns into a wee LR track with Loch Errochty suddenly appearing ahead.

There's got to be a reason every bridge in the country only has only one side to it.

The pre planned bivi site at the western end of the loch, it didn't take my fancy and it was still early, so onwards it was.

TGO Challenge 2014 MBE nomination No2, I had just passed a couple of 4x4s and a tractor on the track, it was lads planting another mixed plantation (that looked like bloody hard graft). Anyway I came upon this wee beastie on the track , I knew the vehicles would be coming along just after me, and as I had already seen two flat adders on the walk I decided to do my lollipop man impression and assist a snake in distress.

Two walking poles, no ladder, some careful juggling and he was relocated onto the hill. Becoming a regular Dr Doolittle.

I had been scanning about for a decent pitch while walking without joy, I stopped at the dam to read a wee cairn just inside the fence,  I assumed the dam would be secured against the public, but a "please close gate" sign is always a give away of free access, so I went through to have a look at the dam anyway and happily also found the second best pitch in the world (Kylie, already there, with her come to my scarp eyes would have elevated it to top pitch).

I crossed to the other side on a wee recce just in case Kylie had pitched over here, it also gave me a great route option for tomorrow. 

A couple of pitched up views, note boots, insoles and socks on the ready made airer. Chicken and mushroom pasta BIB tonight and very nice it was to. 

Just as I settled down for a night in with a fine pinotage and kindle book a jogger and his dug ran by with a cheery wave, pretty much confirming my "open to the public" view.

Day 6 Thoughts and impressions. 

Another fantastic day although long road walks on hot days can get a tadge tedious, cuckoo soup sounds like a plan, flat pitches are the dogs, will this write up ever end.


  1. Keep it coming soldier,great blog.


  2. Yeah don't give up - the funniest account I've seen (Andy educated me on the cheese for trout bait thing - you must think we are right heathens down here! - Probably are, but the cheese guy is Welsh...)