Yesterday’s boggy yomp in zero visibility proved that I had finally found my Challenge legs. It had all been a little bit too easy so far, and it was good to be warm, dry and well-fed in my tent after being wet and windswept for most of the day.
I was relieved to be able to walk along the edge of the loch rather than going up behind the forest. At first the track was rough …
I inadvertently chased a flock of sheep for half a mile along the track. If they had waited another couple of seconds I’d have passed by and they could have stayed where they were but, of course, as soon as one took fright they all followed and I had visions of them toppling down the bank and into the water. Eventually the bank flattened out and they were able to “escape”.
At Trinafour, this map gave me the reassurance that I was now halfway(ish) to the East coast.
I was booked into the Struan Inn that night and I knew I’d be able to get dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch. However, I needed a few other supplies and the only shops nearby were at the House of Bruar. Walking past the turn-off for the Struan Inn I continued on the minor road to the shopping centre. I did wonder about leaving my pack at the Inn, but that’s cheating.
The shopping centre was exactly as I’d anticipated. Full of clean, well-dressed people in large cars buying stuff that had no relevance to my current needs. The food hall was laid out in a way that made it very easy for me to knock down entire displays with my rucksack.
However, it wasn’t all bad. After sitting in the courtyard to eat my lunch of sandwiches, lemonade, and a glass of iced water I went round the food hall again and selected a few odds and ends that would tide me over to at least Killiecrankie and possibly until Kirkmichael if necessary. The deli counter had some posh veggie quiches so I bought a couple of them, some smoked cheddar cheese, some plain scones and some bread rolls. After a very nice ice-cream I walked back to the Inn and pondered on what state my quiches would be in after 24 hours sweating in my rucksack.
I had a comfortable night in the Inn and made good use of their wi-fi. I hadn’t yet met any other Challengers but through Twitter I had a pretty good idea what everyone was up to.
Today’s beer: Belhaven Loch Errochty Lager.