The 2* hotel was better than I’d been expecting and I had a comfortable night, despite the generator running outside my window all night. There were a small number of campers next to the hotel, and I would have camped if necessary, but it had been good to have a room and a shower.
Today’s route would take me along the track to Black Corries Lodge then cross-country following the A’ Chruach ridge before meeting the road again at Rannoch Station. Today’s primary objective was to reach the tearoom at Rannoch Station before it closed for the day at 4:30pm – although, having bought a packed lunch at the hotel, my food crisis wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.
I looked back at the hotel. What a setting:
On a dull overcast day, the views were amazing. Not picture postcard pretty, but impressively imposing. I knew my place in the world; I was the small inconsequential being slowly making my way at the whim of the weather and the mountains.
After the lodge I had a choice to make: follow my planned route which would take me uphill and off the track, or take my FWA and follow the path marked on the map across the moor and through the forest at the north end of Loch Laidon. I can’t remember exactly why I chose the FWA but I think it was probably because the tearoom was calling.
At first the going was relatively easy:
Despite (or maybe because of) the rough ground, I was enjoying myself. This is what the TGO Challenge means to me – an opportunity to take myself off into the wilds with no worries apart from keeping warm, dry and fed whilst heading vaguely east.
I reached the Tearoom at 4pm. Toasted muffin, lemonade and tea. Delicious! I also found that there’s an “honesty kettle” in the waiting room so that walkers can make themselves a hot drink if they’re there when the café is closed.
Refreshed and content I set off for the last few km of the day. It had been raining all afternoon and the walk along the road was a bit miserable. I had a potential camp site planned and I was hoping that it would be dry and flat.
The path sign was in the right place but I was a little concerned at the works signs.
I’d planned to camp at the south side of a small forest but, as it came into view, I could see heavy machinery and yellow flashing lights. Oh bother, it looked like they were working exactly where I planned to camp. I weighed up my options and decided it was better to stop short rather than push on and find that there was nowhere to camp. Stepping off the track I tramped through the bog towards the Allt Eigheach and, having tested out a few tent-sized spots for bumpiness by lying down, I found quite a nice pitch right on the river.