No 471 – TGO Challenge 2018 – Pt3

It was no good, I just couldn’t take it anymore!

Too much enforced hanging about the previous day and dozing while it rained in the morning had refreshed me, but bored me to death. There’s only so many books you can read on the Kindle after all.

So I packed up in the rain which gradually petered out and set off over the col to head for River Doe and then along the established track to Ceannacroc Lodge. The dull overcast morning gradually changed into bright sunshine once again and I found myself walking an easy path and descent to River Doe. If anyone reads this, don’t be tempted to cut over the deer fence into the wooded area, but do what i did and take the fence line directly down the the river. A bit slippy in places, but compared to the wooded area, much more direct and better visibility.

Looking down onto River Doe and the track which heads up to the hydro plant

Once I got down the river I noticed it was another hydro scheme at the head which was pretty well hidden into the landscape. Once across the river, which was very low it was just a simple wander along and the hydro track down to the lodge.

I wasn’t in a rush and passed through some lovely properties down onto the tarmac road to the Ceannacroc Bridge. I met a couple of Challengers who were most furtive. They almost refused to talk and were quite aloof in their manners. So I left them to it and continued over the bridge and turned left onto the diused road. There were fallen trees on the road and it obviously didn’t go anywhere, however I was hoping by the time I reached the end of it, there would be a simple fence to cross onto the main A887.

Once there it appeared to be high deer fence cutting off the road from the neighbouring property and access to the A road. However it was a slight optical illusion, and I slipped between two fence posts, up a bank and over a ditch and I was free.

I then turned right along the main road and headed for the access gate which opened to the power lines and station. Once again this seemed to be an impassable gate and obstacle, with numerous locks and a rigid structure. However on reading the instructions, it was possible to open the gate and lock it behind me. I just hoped Lee and Tony woudl read it too.

Then it was just a case of finding the right path of the three and heading the 2km up to Easan Ban Waterfalls. Once there I was slightly underwhelmed. I thought it was a place Tony knew well, as he had suggested it, and I would find lush grass, level camping and flowing water.

Sadly the warm weather had dried the stream to a trickle, the ground was extensive rock and stone washed there by the winter and there was just one small patch of grass suitable to pitch a shelter. I was concerned that another 2 wouldn’t fit on, and so dumped my pack and walked high and low around the area for an alternative. But there was nothing to be found.

It was the first time I regretted bringing the Luxe F6, as the foot print was huge, it required greater attention to get the tension correct. Goodness knows how Tony and Lee would fair with thier Scarps.

They actually had a Notch each, which was perfect for small spaces

So I sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally they showed and after hearty greetings (it was 2 years since I had seen them) normality was resumed, as Lee wandered off and covered all the same ground again, looking for a pitch, only to end up right next to me.

Just before the route got heavy going underfoot

In the morning out route took us across country due East, looking for a fence gate just before Inchnacardoch Forest. It was tough going underfoot, lots of heather bashing and occasional bogs and we finally made it into the forest and then the established track that should take us to Fort Augustus. Well that was the plan, but once again more tracks had been constructed and we lost our way, walking away from, rather directly to Fort Augustus. However the GPS put us back on track after a few ‘short cuts’ and we wandered into town on a blistering hot afternoon.

So warm everyone sat outside the Loch Inn to rest their weary feet

Lee the Tony directly to The Loch Inn and me to Morags Lodge, to book in. Later I joined them for the traditional Guiness hydration top up and a good evening was enjoyed by old and new Challengers alike.

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