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TGO Challenge 2007 day 6 - 7

Thursday 18 May - day 6

distance 24km - ascent 430m

have any ill effect on me although I didn't have an early start. Todays route was quite straightforward and level. After taking down the tent I left the old ruin and turned left on the A889.It was overcast but dry. 2 km down the road I turned left again to follow a B-road to Glentruim. An hour or so later I reached the Macpherson Memorial. The memorial commemorates the life of Ewan Macpherson of Glentruim, colonel of the Badenoch men in the 45-rising. The shield on the fence says : "Touch not the cat but a glove". Wendy Olsen, born Macpherson, had asked me to take a picture for her and her brother. Shortly after the Glentruim campsite I crossed the busy A9 to follow the track to Phones. At Phones I turned left to follow General Wade's Military Road once more to Kingussie. Mr.Wade must have been a busy man building all this roads, fortresses and bridges.Even after hundreds of years after being build it was still easy going. It stayeddry all day, in contrast to the opposite side of the River Spey. Just a few kilometres to the north frequent showers passed over Newtonmore and Kingussie. Glen Banchor, my intended route, must have been a wet place. When the going is easy you tend to give less attention to maps and compass. I thought I was still following General Wade's Militairy Road but must have taken a wrong turn near Luibleathann. I was going downhill and houses appeared and according to my map I was heading for Milton of Nuide. I turned and went back to look for Wade's road. Unable to locate the turn-off point I decided to head for Milton of Nude and the A9 again. In hindsight I can say that the crossroad at NN734971 doesn't resemble as such on the ground.After Milton I walked parallel to the embankment ofthe A9 until the Milton Burn blocked my progress.I had to go up and walk alongside the busy A9.A dreadfull slog for 2,5km with heavy and fast moving traffic just a couple of feet beside me turnedme into a walking robot. It was the only way to survive the noise and smell of this busy road.Definitely my worst 2,5km of this Challenge.In The Netherlands every vehicle would have flashedhis headlights (walking next to a highway is illegal)but here everybody seemed to find it perfectlyacceptable (but I can imagine drivers pointing attheir foreheads).As soon as I was able to I left the A9 and in sight ofRuthven Barracks turned north to Kingussie. Kingussie is a busy little town. I crossed the railroad and walked down the mainstreet to find me a store for the necessary shopping. I stayed at the Typsie Laird bunkhouse (fully booked the night before) and had diner with fellow Challengers Susan and Brian Hawkins. They had just married and were walking the TGO Challenge as their honeymoon. Better than sunbathing in the Bahama's. After diner we discovered that other Challengers had come into the bar. You meet Challengers, you loose sight of them and then you meet them again and they look like 'old faces', no offence intended. Another great evening followed.

The Macpherson Memorial

General Wade's bridge

Nameless loch near Phones

Ruthven Barracks

Friday 19 May - day 7

distance 27km - ascent 650m

on the roof of the Typsie Laird bunkhouse wasn't very promising this morning but itturned out to be a lovely day with lots of sunshine. Only during the first 15 minutes of todays walk I hadlight rain. I went south under the A9 and passed the Ruthven Barracks.Civilisation was very quickly left behind and after a couple of km I entered Inshriach forest.Soon I reached the 'junction' for either the Lairig Ghru or Glen Feshie. I opted for the Lairig Ghru with the possibility of going over Beinn Macduibh, Britain's second highest mountain. The Lairig Ghru being my Foul Weather Alternative although Challenge Control doesn't regard it as low level. In May there's a distinct possibility of snow in the Lairigs in the Cairngorms. After Corarnstilbeg some roadwalking had to done. I was about to leave the road when I saw two walkers coming towards me. It wasn't difficult to recognise them from afar. They were Tim and Kate Wood whom I had met during the Dutch Challenge Reunion in March this year. I joked they were heading in the wrong direction but the were actually going to Glen Feshie. Going east or west we'll all end up in Montrose in the end. After saying goodbye to this lovely couple I headed downstream along the River Feshie and crossed the river at Feshiebridge. This part of the forest has older pines andwider tracks so orientation isn't too difficult.At a certain point (NH878056) there was afork in the path with a pile of white rock.My map didn't match reality and my gps pointed right between them. I wanted to reach the open hillside and chose the lefttrack and that turned out to be the wrongone. The path took me to a broken downold wall surrounding Loch Gamhna.I had lunch sitting with my back against thewall, admiring the views of the windy lochwith the whiteheaded waves. As I was packing my gear after lunch otherChallengers came through the wall and stopped for a quick snack. They also had taken the wrong turn but were likewise rewarded with beautifull views.I moved on and passed Loch an Eilein on the 'tourist track'. On the eastside of the loch I saw the first sign pointing for the Lairig Ghru. It was really going to happen. The famous Lairig within reach. I had been looking forward to that for more than a year.The difference between Inshriach Forest and Rothiemurchus Forest was obvious : Inshriach consists of conifers and old pines with wide tracks and Rothiemurchus has even older pines with small winding paths and waisthigh heather. Just beautifull.Shortly before Loch Deo I got the first glimpse of the LairigGhru while passing an open spot in the forest. I crossed the Am Beanaidh at the Cairngorm Club Footbridge. One km further southeast I pitched my tent near a group of old pines on the grassy banks of the Allt Druidh. A wellknown spot for many Challengers before tackling the Lairig Ghru. It was a lovely sunny evening with the sun setting behind the northerly hills and a perfect end to a long but rewarding day with lots of forestwalks. With 34km my longest day sofar. Tomorrow will be tougher.

Inshriach Forest

Near the Lairig - Feshie junction

Lunchstop with view of Loch Gamhnae

Rest and be thankfull

The northern shore of Loch an Eilein

The first glimpse of the Larig Ghru

A gorgeous wildcamp in Rothiemurchus Forest

Last night didn't

The sound of rain

River Feshie

TGO Challenge 2007


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