The Crossing: TGO 2019 – 1 Strathcarron to Fort Augustus

Discussion in 'Trips Reports' started by edh, May 27, 2019.

  1. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    The Crossing: TGO 2019 – 1 Strathcarron to Fort Augustus

    Novitiate.

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    Blink awake in a glittering ice-palace suffused with an amber light from the 6am sun. I chose the right sliver of light-catching space in this valley. Mists rise with the warmth of the new day, spicules crack and swirl with limpid plasticity in water bottles.

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    Pre-blink accompanied the dawn at 4am…sometimes being brought up on a farm has disadvantages. Roll over in my Zeeepacks 10 and slumber on. This is the second day of the TGO Challenge and I’d pitched early evening after being caught in a late rain, sleet, and snowstorm at the bealach, drying a tad in a descent past the Iron Lodge.

    A 5am wake-up in Newcastle on Thursday presaged the long journey north to Strathcarron; first via Edinburgh where the TGO clans were shuffling or being purposeful, slyly glancing at each other’s packs, furtive assessments being made of who is doing the event. This becomes more evident as we head to Inverness and beyond, the backpackers gather. Pack weights are to the fore…my 6.5Kgs are greeted with amaze (or is it suspicion) by Dougie and Tim…we all do what we do…and this game can be fruitlessly played out forever.

    It’s a tad gloomy…..

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    …but alpenglow will out.

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    A pleasant evening chatting to fellow Challengers about route choices is overturned the morn with a swollen jaw and worries about even starting. A call to my dentist to discuss the joys of the post-radiotherapy jaw furnishes freedom to play.


    Around 26km (16 miles) and 900m

    Off late, like a grey hound.

    Pass others in the first long uphill as cares drop away.

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    It was pretty evident as the train slipped through yesterday’s countryside that the high tops have received late snow, ergo plans must change….neve (nervé) and trail shoes don’t mix for me. So circuitousness must out.

    A bothy is a nice place to contemplate a switch to tomorrow’s lower alternate…which I’ll begin today.

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    Kick along easily to Loch Calavie where the expected wire crossing is absent and a bridgette has been laid.

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    Cut across the eastern flank of Beinn Dronaig hoping the River Ling is not a tumult; it isn’t, a mere dribble crossed dryshod.

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    Yonder to the luminous Maol Bhuide bothy where an incumbent prophet of doom announces the fine weather is set for the day.

    Yeah.

    Right.

    Thanks.

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    We will draw a veil over the aforementioned sleety end to Day One eh?

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    Around 23km (14 miles) and 400m

    We have sun, an orangey pack, and joy in our heart…ahem

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    Pull up past waterfalls to a barren high moorland that presages a very soggy…some might say glutinous, Gleann Gaorsaic.

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    Pause to take flower pictures as a thin veil for bursting lungs…lack of will, self-disgust…

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    Spirits are revived by raspberry chia poohding; yum.

    Not frogspawn as the less than charitable Mel will later characterise my dietary staple…yeah well Sugarpop – I don’t mainline on ibuprofen for breakfast (well, I do…a bit).

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    Pull on breathable waterproof socks after the horse has bolted…

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    Lose hat.

    I hate losing things.

    Looks cuddly no?

    No.

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    Triffids.

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    Dry the ice palace outside Alltbeithe YHA.

    Discuss the joys of cancer recovery with the rather great warden; she has a name tag and everything.

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    In this friendly place I meet someone I’m doing some research into technology and backpacking with; a small world (in the middle of nowhere) and most pleasant surprise. Then I meet someone else I vaguely ‘know’ online. We walk to the head of Affric to camp (hoping he does not have an axe in his pack).

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    I reveal my true approach to ultralight backpacking by ‘borrowing’ his Jetboil to make my dinner.


    Circa 34km (21 miles) and 900m

    This is a fine pitch and another great dawn.

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    Leaving Scott to slumber I slip out into the crisp day.

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    The roiling mists display the second fog bow I have seen…

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    On the left…

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    Someone’s idea of humour.

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    Chocolate chia poohding today.

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    Wet feet also.

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    Little wonder I walk alone.

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    I was not meant to be solo on these first few days…no. Yet I fear my erstwhile companion had seen my Taylor Swift trip tape…thus out he bowed….

    Uh huh…

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    Mmmmm hmmm….

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    I finish the day with Scott (this guy can walk)…despite having tried to give him the slip…

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    Yeah.

    Well.

    Needs must.

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    Casual 12km (7 miles) and 300m

    An easy few miles takes us into a nero (American hiker-speak) at Fort Augustus.

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    Chia is OK n all that, but….

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    Hang outside B&B until it opens, charging gear, doing a bit of work.

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    Oh YES.

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    The fleshpots of Aviemore await….and Ashers…cake shop of note

    Read more in Part Two
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
    Mole, Taz38, craige and 25 others like this.
  2. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Bedtime here so I've just had a quick run through of the photos. I'm looking forward to savouring it properly tomorrow.
    edh likes this.
  3. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    Very nice. :)
    edh likes this.
  4. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    Some great photos there. Look forward to the next instalment.
    edh likes this.
  5. Dave V

    Dave V Moderator Staff Member

    Fantastic Ed! Some lovely pics there!
    edh likes this.
  6. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Nice trip report as always. Judging by your shoes, the side effects of that chia pooding are pretty severe.
    gixer, WilliamC and edh like this.
  7. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    Great pics and trip report! Looking forward to hearing more as you progress : )
    edh likes this.
  8. Henry

    Henry Ultralighter

    I love this @edh !

    Wish I could take such great pictures...
    edh likes this.
  9. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Great TR, Thanks for sharing. :)
    edh likes this.
  10. Arne L.

    Arne L. Section Hiker

    Brilliant, good read.

    As always.
    edh likes this.
  11. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Very nice Ed :thumbsup:
    edh likes this.
  12. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Good stuff,some cracking light shots....love early morning light ...just sometimes a bit too early !
    edh likes this.
  13. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Fantastic, well done :thumbsup:
    edh likes this.
  14. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Looks and sounds like you had a good time in the hills... :)
    edh likes this.
  15. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    I really enjoyed reading your captions and looking at the brilliant pics. Very motivating!

    Love the (very) Dirty Girls! I'm planning on using that pitch at the end of Loch Affric in September, looks fabulous.

    Do you have a route map you can post? I'd really like to see it.
    edh likes this.
  16. Patrick

    Patrick Trail Blazer

    Lovely photos. I'm guessing the second half of the walk didn't provide such stunning light!
    edh likes this.
  17. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    Looks a great place, some good pics. Pity it didnt rain as much as i hoped...
    Balagan, Arne L., Shewie and 4 others like this.
  18. Robin

    Robin Thru Hiker

    I’ve camped there twice on my Challenges, once before the boathouse (or whatever it is) was built. It’s a lovely location. There’s also a great place to pitch where the Allt Coire Leachavie empties into Loch Affric.
    edh likes this.
  19. maddogs

    maddogs Trail Blazer

    some truly stunning photos! thanks!
    great wordage too "bridgette" and "glutinous" being two of the best I think. :)
  20. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    Cracker shots
    I was going to suggest your approach to lightweight cooking on a different thread a few days ago, thought better not to in the end.
  21. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    Thanks for the tip. It's good to have an alternative in case of overcrowding :)
    Robin likes this.
  22. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.....you'll not be so effusive once parts 2 and 3 grind you down :D

    Surely; I will put it in one of the next 'episodes'...

    The next couple of days were good....and some thereafter, but Affric was quite something.

    I might have to go back in the next week or so.....
    PhilHo likes this.

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