TGO Challenge 2017: Day 2

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Distance: 19km, ascent: 656m

Before the Challenge I had suffered from a cold and the previous day’s walk had taken a bit of a toll. I felt quite lethargic. Rich left reasonably early to get to Shiel Bridge to meet his brother. However, I was a lot slower and didn’t leave until gone 9.30.

Eventually I was on my way, passing a couple of herds of cows and calves, including some having a morning snooze. As I walked along, I became concerned about the weather outlook and my proposed route. I knew the outlook was not great over the next three days and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to chance going high if I wasn’t feeling strong. I decided that I would divert to Gleann Gaorsaic, which I knew from my last Challenge but climb up via Carnach, giving me some options both later in the day and on the next day.

I soon passed the turn off to the Falls of Glomach which I went up in 2015. Tempting though it was to repeat the climb, I pushed on towards Carnach. Along the way, the gorse was in full bloom. The scent was delightful and almost overpowering in places.

Half way along Loch na Leitreach I bumped into another Challenger (John) who was resting on a convenient boulder. We had a quick chat and then I was on my way again.

I passed the house at Carnach and crossed the river.

While the ascent from Carnach looked easy enough, it turned into a long slog and was quite tiring in the mild, humid conditions.

Near the top, I decided to have lunch, finding a convenient boulder to perch on with a good view back down the loch.

As the cloud was thickening, I had a relatively short lunch and pressed on to the top. When I reached Loch Lon Mhurchaidh, I was felling tired and time was getting on. I toyed with the idea of climbing up to the ridge to the east but decided that I didn’t really have the energy and that the weather was probably deteriorating, so I elected to walk down the glen.

At first I had a clear track, but soon the track became less distinct and the going harder.

The rough ground made for relatively slow progress, although I enjoyed the desolation of the area.

As I approached the Lochans, there was the occasional spot of rain, although nothing too serious.

However, as I reached Gleann Gniomhaidh, the spotting became more like light rain. I spied a potential camping spot by the river. When I reached it, while not perfect, it was good enough. Up went the tent and I collected some water before diving for shelter.

I spotted a tick on my groundsheet and one on my trekking pole. I was concerned that I’d picked a poor spot, but I didn’t see any more beasties. Considering that I hadn’t walked that far, I was quite tired and was grateful to get into my quilt for some sleep. I guess the combination of the previous day’s exertions and recovering from a cold had taken their toll. At least for the next day, I now had the option of either doing the tops or taking a short day.

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