27-Aug-2006 -- continued from 57N 04W.
Normally I don't need much sleep but last night I slept for 10 hours straight! what is it they say about fresh air and exercise. Apparently it's true.
Downstairs for the full Scottish breakfast again - potato scone, tomato, baked beans, bacon, sausage, fried egg, black pudding and a fried slice (of bread). what more could you ask for? Well, maybe some fruit pudding as well. As with
yesterday I rather suspect that I'll be burning it all off later today.
Pack the rucksack with 3 bottles of water, camera, boots, SatNav's and off down the A86. A fairly uneventful run of about 45 miles, apart from seeing a car on it's roof on the other side of the road that is. Across the Caledonian canal
before arriving at the car park shown on the map at the end of the Mile Dorcha.
The altitude here is only 178 feet, so a huge climb lies ahead. The SatNav says it is 3.13 miles in a straight line - that I don't expect to get to follow. As soon as you leave the car park it is a VERY steep uphill climb, past some lovely falls that I said I'd photograph on the way back down...
It is all uphill for the first mile or so, gaining nearly 800 feet in height up to around 950 or so. I catch up with a couple out walking - German I'd guess from the accent - and I press on making very good time. Eventually you come to the end of the path. Hmmm.
I had planned to follow the path until due East of the CP as the topo map suggests may be possible. Ah well, 0.68 miles to go North West. Rather coincidentally there are a nice set of steps to get over the 6 foot fence. (56d 59m 13.0s / 04d 59m 15.8s) over the steps and down to the river edge.
I tried to cross it, several times. Where it's shallow it's very fast flowing and mindful of what water can do in terms of sweeping you off your feet I'm wary. The deep parts are two feet plus though! Follow the river around, try another couple of times and by this time even though my boots are 100% waterproof my feet are getting wet...and I still have 1/2 a mile to go.
I'm resigned to paddling across when I spot a bridge (56d 59m 28.0s / 04d 59m 05.1s). It shakes when you walk on it, but it gets me across. Resume my line to the CP.
I have decided to follow the valley and then aim diagonally up the slope. I still have about 900 feet to gain in just 0.48 of a mile, roughly a 1 in 3 slope. Strike off to the CP.
Now it's getting serious, the slope very quickly becomes a 1 in 2 hill (45 degrees) and it's still 0.3 miles to go. This is very hard work. In places this becomes a 60 degree slope bordering on unclimbable. I'm reduced at times to scrambling on my hands and knees. It's not the going up that worries me (though it's serioulsy beginning to), but getting back down safely afterwards.
45 minutes later and this is getting dangerous. It's 750 feet down to the valley below, down a 1 in 2 slope punctuated with outcrops of granite, 4 miles back to the car park and any higher is a 60 degree slope. Time to take stock and be sensible. I'm 72m from the CP so well within limits. Take the photo's. Walk sideways to start dropping down and I spot a possible route up, back at only 45 degrees over a grass slope.
Up and over the outcrop, drop down a bit and I'm there!! Spot on, sodden underfoot. Click off the photo's and head back down. At the bottom of the slope, follow the river out, past the waterfall, over the bridge and the steps. All I have to do is walk out. Straight back and past the waterfall I was going to photo.
Back at the car and i have been gone for 4h 52m and covered 8.37 miles, and the small matter of gaining and losing 1773 feet.
And then there was one! I now only need 58N 05W to complete mainland Britain. It will have to wait until next year.
Coordinator's Note: This CP can be and is dangerous especially if you are on your own or it's less than perfect weather. This is August and in the space of 30 minutes on the hillside it went from sun, to rain, to sun, to rain and back to sun again. If later in the year it can white out in minutes.