Today’s route was a mishmash of Scottish Hill Tracks routes 125, 126 and 127 taking me North out of Comrie up Glen Lednock then East along the River Almond & Rob Roy Way and intending to camp somewhere along Glen Lochan.
It was Sunday and I had company throughout the morning. Not that I actually walked with anyone; I just kept catching up with, passing and then being overtaken by the same group of people who – like me – were struggling with the uncomfortable heat and humidity.
The carpark at Coishavachan was already full when I reached it at 1130 and I wondered how many of the daywalkers were coming here for the first time or if this was a popular Sunday afternoon walk area. I also wondered how fit the water would be to drink in such an overcrowded location. (Nine days into my crossing, I was regarding overcrowded as anywhere where I wasn’t on my own!)
The tracks were good but the views limited –
The BBC’s forecast of “White Cloud” was accurate, but I’d expected it to be a little higher in the sky!SHT warned of difficult navigation in poor visibility, so I turned on my GPS as the ground flattened out at the highest point to the East of Carn Buidhe.
Then a miracle happened – the cloud disappeared. Not completely, but enough to be able to put my GPS away and see the lay of the land for myself.
I could now see that, with my intention to go East after crossing the Almond, I’d be better using the weir north of Dundornie rather than the bridge near Dunan. I took the chance that I’d be able to cross at the weir but it soon came into view and I could see it would be a nice, dry crossing.
I like reading the OS map in this sort of area. Glen Shervie forked to the left and Glen Lochan to the right. The tracks near Auchnafree were confusing, but the contour lines clearly showed me where I needed to go.
I was going to camp near Lochain Uaine but all of the pools of water I passed looked very unappetising and an unhealthy bluey green colour. Also, I couldn’t find a flat tent-sized patch of ground anywhere in the glen so I kept walking in the hope that something better would crop up. By now I’d walked about 28km, which is about my limit for an enjoyable day’s walk.
Dropping down towards Glen Quaich, the water improved and so did the potential for nice pitches, but I could see some large construction machinery down near the road and large areas of ground seemed to be marked out with canes and tape. There were also some signs saying DANGER KEEP OUT – although it wasn’t really clear why or exactly where. I wondered if the canes marked part of a shoot? Not wanting to be either shot, or run over by a big truck in the middle of the night, I plodded on.
Now finding myself down on the road near Loch Freuchie I found a good pitch but was in clear sight of a house. I knocked on the front door and got no answer. I went round to the back door but still got no reply. The door bell had bare wires sticking out of it and I imagined Control’s bemusement at a retirement due to electrocution.
I walked a little further along the road, through a gate and put my tent up as far away from the road as possible. I’d walked about 3-4km further than planned, had just enough water to make my dinner but couldn’t collect any more, and was worn out. I felt grubby and tired and wished I’d stopped a lot further back although there’d not really been a huge amount of choice.