TGO Challenge 2017: Day 6

click to enlarge

Distance: 24km, ascent: 956m

OK the write-up for today is going to be difficult. This really was the most depressing day of my backpacking life. However, it started well enough. After a good night’s sleep, I had a fine breakfast at the Bank House B&B. After having a chat about camper vans to Sue and Ian, I packed my rucksack and I was off.

I passed a wood full of strong-smelling wild garlic, and then found a footpath along the edge of a field full of sheep on the shore of Loch Ness.

I wasn’t sure where the path led to so I returned to the road (a mistake as it led all the way to Glen Doe, but it’s not on the OS maps yet). Eventually I reached the reservoir road and the gatehouse. I dutifully reported to the guard and trekked up the track.

A little further on I met a lady walking her Jack Russell (Daisy) and we had a little chat about dogs. It took about an hour to reach the green hut, where I took a break and had something to eat. It was getting quite sunny, so I applied some sun tan lotion as well.

So far, the reservoir road was little changed from when I was here two years ago. There was the occasional lorry or vehicle but not many. Apart from the dust kicked up from them, it was no bother.

When I caught my first glimpse of the reservoir, I thought to myself that it didn’t look too bad. How wrong I was!

The first inkling of how bad the next few hours were going to be was when I saw the works compound. At the entrance there was a security guard. I had a pleasant chat with him and he kindly gave me some water (a bit of a life saver as it was getting hot and there were limited opportunities for water once on the construction site). It is worth mentioning that all the workmen and women I met were all very courteous as were the drivers of the various vehicles.

I could have a bit of a rant here about the destruction of this wonderful piece of wild land but what’s the point? The pictures convey some of the story, but actually it’s even worse than the pictures.           When I planned the route, I had hoped that the construction work would have barely started but as you can see it was in full swing. I knew it would be bad but it was shocking to see the devastation.  Once I was past the substation building works, the landscape opened up and I followed the track to the Chalybeate Spring.

In front of me I could see another backpacker, but I didn’t catch up until I was at the spring itself. It was Sandy, who I’d met on the Challenge a couple of years ago. It was nice to see a familiar face and have a chat.

We selected our respective camping spots and pitched our tents. After my evening meal, Sandy came over for a quick chat and then I turned in for the night. The weather forecast was good for the next day, so I had high hopes that I’d finally be able to do a couple of Munros.

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2 thoughts on “TGO Challenge 2017: Day 6”

    1. Absolutely. Unfortunately my incompetence as a photographer fails to convey the full extent of the devastation. One thing that made a very strong impression on me was the inappropriateness of wind farms in upland areas. I’m less bothered by them on the coast as they are generally on farm land. It also seems to me the coast is better as you get a regular cycle of onshore and offshore winds. I’m going to do a post at the end with pictures of wind farms and the hydro schemes that I encountered.

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