Time creeps up then kind of jumps out like a bear in the forest, just to make you aware that shit happens. Like time going so fast.
So day four. We called Mission Control to say we were good and on course the morning of day 4; ooops, it should have been night 3. Alas the pub had prevented said call so a we got a junior bollocking BUT also were asked to cheer up Louise AKA The Bid. Louise was going solo hardcore style but the 50+mph winds were causing her thoughts that needed banishing, and it was our responsibility, the fundamentally inept us, Pine and Pathetic, Piss Head and Stoner, to cheer her up and bring hope. Which we naturally did with aplomb, sharing the best banter (The Bid may have thought otherwise) and a whole fruit cake and tea, as we travelled along Glen Nevis and through lush woods and past waterfalls and then into a vaste, wide featureless Glen, surrounded by the Mamores and the Grey Corries, that became a bog trot in shite weather. Yet strangely enjoyable – it felt like the first time we were in the wilderness.
We left The Bid in the safe hands of her friends who caught us up as we ate more cake and continued up the Glen to Meanach bothy, my third visit (previous visits included abandoning mountain bikes due to excess coal and snow with Jut and Sarah, and the infamous Geoff arse bearing chaps incident that will remain a myth; but George knows Geoff’s arse better than most; nuff said). In the mist drizzle and winds it remains a dark shelter, one that needs a fire to feel welcoming. So we put up the tents and waited, and waited.
For today was the the return of the Pong. Pongo was to meet us at the bothy. But Pongo was late having eaten beyond her 3000 calories and done a Munro and quite a lot of miles. It was ace meeting again. Tomorrow her Physcho tendencies involve a mere 26km, preparation for 30 or so km the next day, when we will allegedly ascend Ben Alder.
All this without whisky. Bollox I forgot to put some in my re-stock box to Fort Bill.
Oh we found a funky gate too. And it was the return of the Pongo. Jennifer joined us. Blimey. Pongo is now Physcho woman.
After our camp in a forest, not the best, not the worst, but woken by a dog and walker; pleased to say Nick smelt more than me as the dog made a be-line (sp?) to him.
It’s insane; yesterday morning I was sat on a rock, it seems so long ago. It feels the challenge is no longer a challenge and that has led to complacency. And we cock up. But cocking up is fine as we know how to deal with it. And that leads to more complacency like wet down sleeping bags which is dumb.
Anyway; a day of joy and a very friendly farmer and dog, until we hit the West Highland Way for two hours: ye gods… culture shock. So many people. Shit scenery (well, the forest had been cut down).
Oh yes, we took a short cut and it was a bit hard. Some trees seemed to have fallen over. A lot of trees.
Oh, took a shower in the Hostel; we had both failed to see the women’s sign. A woman was showering but we both naively thought ‘how cosmopolitan’.
And then we sat in the sun and drank beer and partook, watching the clouds gather over Ben Nevis and the Grey Corries.
Glen Gour is chuffing ace and to be returned to. A big glacieted valley with beautiful trees, huge pools, drama everywhere. It was a joyous journey. I had tea and Nick had something else.
Then it rained and we walked a lot of miles and camped somewhere odd and one of these photos is the view from my tent door. But good day, very chilled, low mileage. Whisky weed and pork pies.
Oh and I look deep and meaningful but don’t worry, I’m not, as you all know I’m a shallow git.
Oh and we are camping immediately beneath the loudest owl on the planet. Ye gods.
A good start, a fantastic breakfast with the best granola ever (lots of nuts and sticky oats), and off, on a road, through a beautiful wood, up a hill, down a hill, up a hill and down a hill then a rather shite experience trying to get through myriads of fences into Scotstown which resulted in knee deep bog action and pretty blue air.
I met Nick at a very nice spot 2 miles from camp and we had a lot of unplanned food and a couple of beers before heading of to camp. We bypassed some TGO wankers who I’d sort of met the night before but hadn’t really as they were too busy telling each other how great whoever was speaking was.
A fine first day with no tales of depravity… but with a pork pie finale.
Once I got to the Loch Shiel Hotel I set off for the coast blessed with sunshine and more importantly two tins of Stone IPA, brewed in Berlin, a fine city.
Anyway it took longer than I thought but I dipped my toes and drank my beer and retreated for a night of what I thought would be faffing. But I couldn’t be arsed faffing so it was more beer and a lovely three bean spicy casserole with possibly the best chips I’ve ever had. And the best sleep in ages: for the first time in a week I didn’t wake at 5 thinking about what to pack for this trip in minute ridiculous detail.
My road to the coast at Kentra Bay:
And a bit earlier in the day, from the Corran Ferry terminal, if it can be described as a terminal:
And me in my room looking sexy:
Owing to complications I will be going solo on day zero. I like solo action and am very familiar with it. Nick will be joining me a day late. Nuff said.
I felt nervous this morning, I’m not sure why, you worry about the little things… like what have I forgotten and why is my bag so light and this tends to be a cycle, one being the result of the other.
Anyway, here is the beauty that will be my sweaty companion for 2 weeks.
And that phalic shaped thing you can see through the bag is sadly something to do with my arse.