TGO Challenge 2017: Day 3 – Raincoat Hokey Cokey

Rain falls during the night, not unexpectedly given I’m in the Motherland of Rain, and does little to speed my leaping joyously out of bed. I lay and doze, listening to the geese overhead, the song birds somewhere near, and the patter of precipitation closer still. Even so, it’s a relatively early start at 08:35, at least by the standards of yesterday. My first job after bundling my gear in my pack is to find a way back up from the lochside to the track. Noises suggest it’s the work of a few moments and I’ll quickly fall onto it. This turns out not to be the case, and instead I fight my way around trees through long grass, bracken, heather and long ragged grass. It’s a relief to finally gain the track.

A new day at Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin

Oh, if only….

I start off on the Cannich-wards march, two pairs of geese flying in formation down the track overhead, as if to salute the success of my bushwhacking efforts. The sky is indecisive, alternately showing clear and (heaven forbid) blue, and then spitting with rain. Clothing choices are difficult. My windproof is on and off, then on and off again. Trees line the track on both sides; there are only occasional glimpses of loch. It’s a head-down and walk sort of day. So that’s what I do.

River Affric near Dog Falls

I reach Dog Falls and take a short break just before crossing over the River Affric. The climb up onto the opposite hillside initially seems to be heading a long way in the wrong direction before then suddenly bringing me out above the trees on a nice wide track. Now I’m exposed to actual sunshine and actual blue sky. Until, of course, another light shower comes. Each shower is just that little bit too long to tough it out, and so the windproof is donned, only for the sun to come out a few moments later. This continues for the rest of the afternoon.

The forest track

I churn up the miles and it’s still only lunchtime when I join the road for the final bit into Cannich. Here I walk with Kate and Keith to the campsite, where the Belgian contingent are already pitched – a nice pair of Tarptent Double Rainbows and a Trailstar. I pitch up a short distance away and over the course of the afternoon am joined by numerous Aktos, Enans, 3 more Scarps, a Notch and a pair of Tramplites. With each new arrival there’s the admiring and discussion of tents, and the afternoon soon disappears.

Early arrival at Cannich

It transpires on the way to the pub that I’ve made a schoolboy error in not booking to eat at the pub. Everyone else, who stopped at the pub on the way to the campsite, of course has, and the slots for meals are running out. I encounter Lisa (another Dornie starter) on the road to the pub, who imparts all of this news to me. Not wanting to waste time chancing it, I simply retrace my steps and eat in the campsite cafe, where a bit of minced Bambi in a bun is devoured.

I’m making an evening hot drink when Darren and Scott, who I met at Dornie, arrive. It’s clearly been a long hard day and Scott looks finished. A cup of tea is offered and gladly accepted. However, this eradicates my entire contingency stock of tea, as I only packed enough for 1 each dinner time, 1 each breakfast plus 2 more spares.

Getting fuller

It’s not a late night and I retire hoping the pub crowd don’t stagger in and fall on my tent. As it is Croydon’s tent looks like it’s had a bit of an accident.

Day 3: Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin to Cannich – 19km and 262m of ascent

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