26-Aug-2006 -- Continued from 57N 03W, I have been planning this weekend for 3 months, since our holiday to Scotland in May of this year, I need three points to complete all of the British onshore points. I had thought that all three may be possible in a long weekend trip, lets see....
Friday 25th August 2006 - up at 5.20am and downstairs for some breakfast, a couple of slices of toast and blackcurrant jam. I had packed the car last night (clothes, boots, tripod etc) all that remains is to put in the laptop, SatNav units and cameras. A quick kit check reveals
Canon Eos 300D + 18-55mm + 50mm + 70-300mm + 4 batteries.
Canon MV750 + monster battery plus wide angle and telephoto lens
Garmin eTrex & GPSMAP 76C for the confluence hunting PLUS the in-car SatNav.
Just about got everything so put in the road atlas as well because sometimes SatNav's do silly things.
I had planned to drive up via several repeat visits but as already stated the idea is to complete all outstanding points, there are 3 to do and each one probably needs a day to do. Besides it's a 464 mile drive to where I am staying.
Last thing is to strap on the mountain bike - I've checked the maps and the previous reports!!!
Wind the clock forward 9 hours and 464 miles and I pull into the car park of the guest-house, get checked in and see that it's only 3.30pm and it won't get dark until about 9.30pm or later.Soooo...
...decision made and it's only 3.1 miles to where you park the car and get on your bike. Down to the end of the street, turn left, past the railway station, past the Ruthven Barracks (remains from 1746 anyway). A very sharp right turn along a dirt track then an even more extreme left turn along a track barely wide enough for the car. Stop for a minute to ponder things and then I spot the SIGN!
Bike off the car, change footwear and set off. Turnback, carrying too much. Rearrange and take only the minimum required (no video cam).
Now for a private road with no cars allowed I'm passed by an awful lot of vehicles, mostly with foreign number plates. Hmm....more on this later.
I don't know about "you wouldn't want to walk it" at stages it wasn't much fun on the bike either - when you haven't ridden a bike for 25 years. The mind is strong, I'm sure the legs can cope (I can deadlift 200 kilos) but what about the bit you sit on??
Straight on down the track as per the map, which in reality is a single track paved road. After about 2 1/2 miles I think I've found the reason for all the traffic - what appears to be a block of holiday apartments! Maybe you could get away with parking there? After all who would know??
All this time the hill on my left is about a 45 degree or steeper slope, impossible to climb safely, I am aiming for what topo map says is a gap between two peaks, by a waterfall before a weir. Found the weir but the waterfall is about 18 inches, perhaps it's been dry here? (Update on next day, never mind the map the waterfall is about 400 yards from the road)
Decision time. It's 1.80 miles to the CP gaining about 800 feet in altitude. The hike doesn't worry me but the weather does. I'm at about 1080 feet altitude going to nearly 2000 feet up. In the direction I want to go the sky is full of dark angry cloud. Weather changes very quickly around here and more importantly I am on my own.
Discretion wins out, I'll come back tomorrow.
Saturday 26th August 2006 - up at 7.30, showered abd down to fill up on a full Scottish breakfast - black pudding, bacon, mushrooms, fried egg, beans. Toast and coffee. Have a feeling I'll be burning that off later today. The legs feel a little bit stiff so the bike ride could be fun.
As I reported yesterday, there is the block of holiday flats with a large car park, this would cut the bike ride down from about 3 1/2 miles to just a mile, but in the spirit of the challenge laid down I am going to park at the start of the private road and "stick to the rules".
Mind you I see that Kevin has yet to make it down to England and climb over *any* fences yet, or even to the three that you do simply by sitting in your car!
Park by the telegraph pole and get changed ready to walk, including new leggings that cover boots & trousers from knee down and hook over the bottom of the boots (will turn out to be very handy tomorrow....)
Right, 1.88 miles in a straight line off we go, through the heather, minding the hundreds of bees and up the first hill. Over the crest and it's a long steady uphill peaking at abut 1,950 feet. I then have to lose some of that hard won height! 3/4 mile to go, 1/2 mile then 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1 and then the satnav counts down in feet 526....
The photo's are taken but I can't get a WAAS fix on the 76C. Repack everything and back towards the bike and another 3 1/2 mile ride back to the car.
Total time taken 4h 23m, total distance 11.4 miles (7 on bike and 4.4 on foot). and then there were two! Continued tomorrow at 57N 05W, and by the way watch out for the beehives!