TGOC2011 – Day 8 – Lairig Ghru and Mar Lodge

The Lairig Ghru was amazing. The scenery is outstandingly beautiful and the weather was OK – strong winds but no rain in the morning. It was Saturday and there were quite a few day-walkers walking in both directions. In terms of walkers met, this was the busiest day of my Challenge.

By the time I’d passed the highest point, the weather was starting to get a bit grim. The wind was still strong, and mainly blowing into my face, but now it was raining too so a stop at Corrour Bothy seemed like a very good idea. I’d heard so much about this bothy but never been in. I reckon there must’ve been about a dozen people in the bothy at one point including two lads who’d spent the night there and two MBA members who’d come to maintain the toilet. It was quite cosy in there with the fire lit and it was good to keep out of the wind and warm up.

I’d read about the Corrour toilet and was keen to see how it worked, so I asked if I could go below. It’s a very simple system: two seats, side by side, but only one is “live”. Underneath the seat is a porous sack. Liquids soak through the sack and drain away. Solids remain in the sack and, once it’s been allowed to hang to dry for a while, and whilst the other seat becomes live, the bag is taken away for disposal. I think they said there’s 10kg of waste generated every month.  I’m so glad I did not camp around here before they built the toilet.

The walk from Corrour to Mar Lodge was not very enjoyable in the constant rain.  I cheered up a bit when I bumped into Martin and (Poor) Michael, who seemed to be walking East to West.  I was disappointed that Martin didn’t have any shortbread but it was nice to see a friendly face…. even if I did not recognise him with his Wild Man of the Hills beard!

At Mar Lodge, I followed the signs round to the kitchen and found a handful of people sitting round drinking tea.  I couldn’t be certain if any of them were actually Challengers as they all looked so clean, dry and rested. (I found out later that they were; what a difference a shower and cuppa can make!)  Thankfully, the Lodge did have my booking details and I’d been allocated to a bed in the annexe to which I was given simple directions …. which I then had trouble following.  The annexe was further than I’d expected, so I ended up going back to Reception for clarification.  By the time I found my bunk, I was absolutely done in.

There must’ve been about 15 Challengers in for dinner; a lot fewer than the Friday night, apparently.  I could barely stay awake to eat and went to bed soon afterwards.

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