Day 3: 16.1km distance, 318m ascent
Before we’d parted on the previous day, I’d been told that my companions wouldn’t be with me until 10 o’clock, so I felt able to laze around and soak in the sunshine and views. I had just started to pack when the others arrived nearly half an hour early. They had a bad time in the hostel which had been packed and not very welcoming. I was hugely glad that I had chosen to camp. They were all a bit hacked off and told me not to hurry, so while I had a leisurely pack, they lay around looking at the panorama in front of them. Alan availed himself of a particularly appropriate Snickers bar.
We didn’t get away until nearly 10:30 but it didn’t matter too much because today was scheduled to be a low mileage day. We scooted along the track merrily until we reached the bridge over the Allt Gormag. Andy was complaining about a pain in his foot, so he had a little paddle by the bridge. By now it was pretty hot so water bottles were filled.
We decided that the north shore of Lochan Sron Smeur might be easier than the southern shore as there were no deer fences on that side, so we crossed the Allt Gormag again. It was a lovely walk along the shore with small beaches punctuating our path. At the eastern end of the lochan we made for the forest over some boggy and uneven ground and then followed a track north eastwards. Along the way we spotted a herd of deer galloping along the valley bottom.
We took our time as the sun beat down. After another boggy stretch we reached a proper track. Instead of following it we went uphill to Meall an Ullt Riabhaich. It was slow progress in the heat, but we were rewarded with some fine views at the top of this minor hill, proving you don’t necessarily have to go high to have a good view-point.
We lazed around for yet another lengthy break, but who cares when you are in the midst of such glorious scenery? Eventually we had to leave and made our way over rough ground to the forest below. We had to climb a high deer fence before locating a boggy ride through the trees to the southern end of Loch Ericht across the dam.
From the dam it was a short walk along another track to Ruighe Glas and the Challenge Cheese & Wine party. The remoteness of the spot meant that only two other Challengers who were not part of our little group made it. Well done Craig and especially Paul, who had a monster day to be there. Despite a relatively short day in terms of distance and only modest height gained, it was a superb day’s walk and one of the best days I’ve spent in the Highlands.