Saturday, 28 May 2011

Up The Uisge or What I did on my holidays 1

cafe akto up the uisge
I seem to be back. It was very windy in Scotland. There was a storm and I broke one of the tents, but more of that later. In the meantime, this is part one of my not-the-TGO-Challenge doingses in Scotland over the last two weeks.
Part One is the bit where I opened Cafe Akto on a small and green and pleasant camping spot by the gushing waters of the Uisge Labhair, just a bit to the right of Loch Ossian. This is on a TGO Challenge trade route which heads, generally, although not exclusively for Dalwhinnie. Challengers were invited to drop in for tea. A few did. Others just shouted abuse form the path and yet others stumbled past dejectedly and , often, quite damply. As for me, I was either cosy inside my den or tramping the hills.
loch ossian damply
I left knipetowers on Monday, having the drawbridge pulled up behind me and instructing the Nurse not to let in anybody called Long Lankin and to look after the baby and, secure in the knowledge that everything would be alright, I went for a hurtle up the A68, stopping only briefly to bag the little HuMP  Hartside Hill , just next to Dere Street near Soutra. It were right damp.
the train
Later – much later, I arrived at Rannoch station in time for the train to Corrour. Again, dampness prevailed.
I wandered damply past the SYHA and up to the Uisge where , in driving dampness, I took the opportunity to put up the karrimor Ultralite bluetent and brew some tea.
beinn eibhinn
Later, it was morning again and I moved camp to where I should have been in the first place to the junction of the Allt Glas Choire and the Uisge Labhair and, marvelling at the sudden appearance of warm sunshine, set off hopefully up the hill to bag Meall Glas Choire and it’s dad Beinn Eibhinn. This went well.
clag descending
I progressed on to Aonach Beag on a lovely curving ridge where I noticed that hills to the West had recently disappeared. Mist began to curl around the top of the hills just passed. I batterred on to Geal Charn (strangely spelled Gael Charn on the map…?) where everything went a bit blank. Time to navigate.
I used the compass to get across a blank felltop and down to a wide bealach, buit resorted to GPS to find the top of Sgorr Uitharn (cudder just walked uphill, I suppose) and a rather intricate route to the top of the Bealach Dubh where there’s a very well made path.
morkels ate my jelly babies
Wednesday was wet, so I stayed in. Various people called. Unfortunately, i can only remember the names of Dave Wood and Heindrich who was accompanied by a coffee house waitress from Vienna. Hendrich took the piss out of my tent and the lass ate most of my jelly babies. Others just passed by.
camp at alder bay
On Thursday, I moved to Ben Alder cottage and , in another brief and sudden bit of sunshine, bagged Beinn Bheoil and fell off some scree, putting a slash (actually a long and impressive, but superficial scratch) across my shin. I did some swearing.
beinn bheoil
Somebody had left a bottle of plonk in the bothy, so I supped it with my Real turmat.
Despite the fact that it rained and rained all night, I was, in fact, having fun.
No, really.
All except one of my target Munros had fallen to the knipe ticking pencil. It was time to go to Braemar.


Martin Rye said...

You most likely got as many tops in and wild camps as those on the Challenge. Extending the days millage to find a B&B and dry out seemed to be an in thing with lots of us. Glad you got out in the hills Mike.

QDanT said...

Did the Dawg let you back in ?
or growl at you ? I bet it would have eaten the skirting boards if you hadn't already burnt them !
cheers Danny

peter crawford said...

Excellent as ever - looking forward to the rest. One thing I've never understood is how your leg end is considered something unusual. We all have them, after all.

markswalkingblog said...

Despite the rain, it sounds like you had a good time. Look forward to part 2

Mike Knipe said...

Martin - Staying in one place close to the target hills for a few days could be the key to success - it takes a very short window of clear weather to bag the hill. Its nice in the tent when its chucking it down ouitside too...
Dan - bruno's greeting method is to ignore me and run to the gate to bark at people. Eventually he decides to greet me properly. Its a dog thing. Burning the staircase was probably the biggest mistake..
Peter - I don't like to talk about my leg ends. They are rather special, though. Veteran, I would say.
Part 2 coming up, Mark. The Part 3, I should expect. There's no part 4. its all caffiene-powered y'know.

darksky said...

Hello again Mike ! a blog worth blogging and photos worth showing...good stuff!

darksky said...

Ive just got back from bonnie Scotland myself Mike, i didnt enjoy myself as much as i did when i was there in the winter due to all the bloody rain plus i got caught in some hurricane winds whilst i was there which i wouldnt of minded if i wasnt on the cmd arete at the time LOL!

Mike Knipe said...

cripes, Darksky, I'm surprised you're still with us. I expect that many people had "interesting" experiences on the really windy day, as opposed to just the very windy days...