It was an early start for me, once my nose became aware of how cold it was my body naturally followed and well, once I was up seeing to watering the Roses, I was up!. So I brushed the ice off the tent, made a brew, ate some porridge and got started hitting the road at 7.30.
Leaving the others behind still slumbering I was in no hurry, sauntering up the track which passes above the lower section of Loch Affric, where the sun was rising ti wake the few challengers who had camped there on the shore. It looked a lovely spot and something to consider in the future.
I was in no rush and soon I had the company of Tim Medforth and we enjoyed the type of casual chat one does on the challenge. Of life, families, gear, death and the universe.
We made our way towards Coogie and were one of the first to arrive at this famous ‘off-grid’ homestead. I say famous as many challengers call in every year and accept their hospitality of accomodation or food. They only open their doors for the challenge, the rest of the time the family continue with their normal remote life.
After some tea and scones I parted ways with Tim and headed South West along Allt Riabhach through the wooded area along the track. I was in no hurry at all and took my time to walk the 5 or 6 km watching wild ponies grazing in a handful of otherwise perfect camping spots.
Finally just before the last climb up to the col I decided to set up camp. I didn’t have very far to go to get to the arranged meeting spot the following day, so I basically took the rest of the afternoon off.
This was a strange feeling, made even stranger when I realised that it wasn’t the 4.30 my watch indicated, but 2.30. I had misread the Altimeter!
So the afternoon was spent, doing camp admin. Drying the tent, checking for ticks and any potential areas of concern on my feet and a naked wash down in the stream. Obviously I didn’t get into the stream to wash myself down, but dipped in a towel and washed myself down with that. It was ruddy freezing, but extremely invigorating. I was positively glowing afterwards.
After that, well, what to do? I sun bathed in the nude, slept, read my kindle, drank tea and ate when I felt like it. However it just felt so wrong and ultimately I was bored!
However the rest was good and maybe after the previous 8 tough days on Skye I needed to chill out and rest for a bit before the Challenge really got going.