|Day 3: Route|
|The Allt na Muic, just beyond my camping spot|
I wake up early. At home or in a hotel or in a tent. Today was no exception. Well before 5.00am. I do not actually start walking early, rather I potter around, if one can potter around in a single person tent. Pottering around in such circumstances means slowly brewing up, usually a couple of times, getting sleeping bag clothes off, and walking clothes on, making porridge and brewing up again, eating a cereal bar and, of course, taking the early morning trip with the MSR Blizzard to do what a man has to do.
Most of the copulating ants had now, it seemed, left for wherever flying ants go when they are not pestering humans. Presumably their lust was now satiated and, no doubt, their mission to promulgate their species successful.
|I know that looks like a path but it didn't look like one when I was walking down here.|
|A nice spot for a break by the Allt na Muic|
I was walking by 8.15am. I first blundered through the heather to the deer fence at the edge of the forest, and then down hill between the Allt na Muic and the forest. Unsurprisingly, the OS’s idea of a path, which should have materialised at the deer fence according to the 1:50k map, seemed to be at odds with how a dictionary would describe such a feature, for I saw little signs of one until much further down. The ground was pretty wet underfoot but not too difficult. Towards the bottom of the hill I was pleased to find Hugh and Barbara again, breakfasting at a pleasant spot by the stream, and the sun appeared to be winning its battle with the clouds at this point. We walked together for most of the rest of the day, first plodding along the road to Torgyle Bridge where we lunched at a picnic table in heavy rain shower, with other Challengers materialising here for the pull over the hill to Fort Augustus.
|On the way to Fort Augustus|
It is very easy walking from Torgyle Bridge to Fort Augustus, first on forestry tracks and then on awful new tracks built to allow the construction of the massive replacement pylons and power lines. I am afraid that whilst I make use of these tracks I also resent the ruination of the landscape that they cause. I guess that is a form of hypocrisy but that’s how it is. I could, of course, have planned a different route to avoid this area, but that wouldn't have meant that the countryside would have been any less spoilt. The way, though, was redeemed by the last kilometre through Jenkins Park which is a pretty way in to the town. I was at Fort Augustus by half three, quite early for the B and B, so I forced myself into The Bothy pub and bravely sank a couple of pints of Guinness.
Hugh, Barbara and I ate in The Bothy later. Allen and Fran were there too, Fran with a pair of shiny new boots bought from the gift shop, and gradually more Challengers arrived, including John Woolston, who I had shared Day 3 with on the 2013 Challenge. It seemed like only yesterday. Time certainly is “the subtle thief of youth”, as that guy Milton banged on about back in 1632 when he was just 23 years of age.
|I would be happy to accept an offer of sponsorship from Guinness. If their marketing director would like to contact me.....|