Not The TGO Challenge Day 5

Day 5: 25.2km distance, 587m ascent

For some reason, again, I didn’t sleep well. However, I was up in good time to make our 8 o’clock start and I hadn’t died from ingesting any pathogens from the dead sheep. I couldn’t believe our luck with the weather; it looked like another fine day.

From our camp spot, we followed the Allt Ruighe nan Saorach down to Loch Errochty.  This was an unexpectedly rewarding little walk, following the meanders and hopping over the side streams. There were also some excellent places to camp, much nicer than Saunich.

All too soon we were at Loch Errochty. We took advantage of a side stream to have a short rest and fill our water bottles with fresh water. The track along the loch made for faster progress. At the end of the loch, there was a rusty old vehicle which looked like some kind of old armoured trailer. It had some bullet holes in it. I can’t find any information on it but it looked as though it might have been from WW1.

We made quick progress through the forest until we saw the dam. I thought I’d check for a phone signal. To my delight, I found one and phoned home to let my wife know that I was OK. We made our way down to Trinafour and at the junction with the minor road, sat down for an early lunch.

This was the finish of my walk with Alan, Andy and Phil. They were going to Struan, while I was heading north, eventually to Aviemore. It was a bit sad to leave them as I had really enjoyed walking and joking with them over the previous three and a half days.

The next 5kms were along the military road from Trinafour to the A9. Although it wasn’t particularly busy, it was a cut through for some heavy lorries. About half way, in a layby in the forest, I met a guy on his motorcycle who was scoping the area for some mountain biking trips. He’d done all the Munros (walking) and had decided he was too old to do them again and had switched to mountain biking. I would’ve spoken to him for much longer but I wanted to get on, so I said goodbye and resumed my trudge.

I reached the A9 at about 3 o’clock and managed to get across without being killed. I took the track into Dalnacardoch Wood and a little way inside found some shade to sit down for a rest and something to eat. I still had a fair way to go, so I didn’t take too long.

Not long after leaving the woods, I had a nasty fall. I wasn’t paying attention and slipped on the loose stones on the track. Until I released my pack, I couldn’t get up. Fortunately the only damage was a slightly grazed knee, some small rips in the knee of my trousers and a bruised hand. It could’ve been worse. A little shaken, I dusted myself down and continued along the track with more care. If I hadn’t fallen, I would’ve enjoyed the walk along Edendon Water more.

In the distance I could see An Dun, which was near to my destination, Sronphadruig Lodge. I was a little worried about the ford that I had to cross but the water was quite low. In fact, I was quite surprised on the whole trip how dry it was underfoot and that I didn’t have to make any serious river crossings.

I arrived at Sronphadruig at just before 5 o’clock. I didn’t know whether the lodge was in use or not. I had a look at the south end of the woods for a pitch and found a decent place. I decided to walk past the lodge to see if there was anything better further on.

It turned out the lodge and the outbuildings were pretty run down and a fence and locked gate enclosed them. There weren’t any decent pitches, so I returned to my original choice having added another 2km to my day.

There’s actually very little flat ground (i.e. without tussocks) around the lodge, although my pitch was perfect with room for two to three tents. Despite the fall, it had been another good day, but I was looking forward to the next day even more.

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