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Slow Road to the Cape

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2023 3:35 am
by CapeWrathSnail
FORT WILLIAM TO GLENFINNAN June 2023 - 5 Days

At the ripe old age of 64 the Cape Wrath Snail set off heading north. Starting from Fort William I took the lovely ferry to Ardgour. The ferry from Corran was out of service so a very convenient service direct from Fort William to Ardgour was really good for me. I had planned to go by bus to Corran and then take the ferry over to my start. Sometimes things happen that present a nice opportunity and a great adventure. From Ardgour I walked into Glen Cona. I stopped the first night beside a lovely stream and camped. Next morning I walked a few miles up the glen taking in the beautiful scenery and taking my time. I camped that night by the Cona river. Tent worked well and cooking kit did the job but my pack turned out to be way too heavy. Next day I walked further up the glen to where the climb up to the bealach started. I passed a herd of highland cattle in the afternoon heading the same way. That night the cattle caught up with me in the middle of the night so it was heavy footsteps and grass munching all arround me. Luckily nobody got caught up in my tent lines and they soon passed by mowing the lawn as they went. Next day I went up over the bealach and into the next glen. I camped again by the Callop river in a lovely spot. The weather was sunny and very few midges. Next morning I headed into Glenfinnan. From there I caught the bus back to Fort William. My first section of the CWT was complete,I learned a lot about what worked and what didn't and started planning my next section. That would have to wait until later in the year due to my work commitments and travel requirements (I work in various parts of the world).

GLEN FINNAN TO INVERIE September 2023 - 6 Days

Continuing where I left off I arrived by train in Glenfinnan. The train crosses the viaduct at Glenfinnan and you get a great view of the walk ahead. As I started to walk towards the viaduct the steam train Hogwarts Express puffed by. Many people had gathered to watch and everybody enjoyed the spectacle. I can distinctly remember watching steam trains as a small boy and I was intrigued by these huge machines belching fire and smoke. Back on the trail I walked up Glenfinnan to Curryhully bothy. I renamed it Corry Hilly bothy. We met the estate manager Alastair who was really nice. He needed some help moving a landrover and offroad vehicle so I volunteered to drive the landy. He was very appreciative that I saved him a long walk. Later he brought a big bag of firewood to the bothy and I enjoyed lighting a fire and warming up a bit. I wanted to walk further that day so did not stay at the bothy. It was very rainy and in hindsight I probably should have stayed. Nevertheless I found a great camp spot beside the river near where the road ends and the 4-wheeler track starts to go up to the bealach. The rain was bad, the roads were about a foot deep in places and streams over their banks. Oh well, normal for the CWT I think. Next day I headed up over the bealach to Glen Dessary (or Glen Dissarray as I call it). I camped in another nice spot by the river near where the bridge crosses. My pack was a lot lighter than in my June hike. I ditched cooking gear and got a lighter 1 person MSR tent. The next day it was on through Glen Dissaray forest and a climb up to two small lochs again in the rain. My Craghoppers jacker was working well and I mostly stayed dry. I camped that night just about A'Chuil bothy (Ah-Choo if you have a cold I think). That night was really cold and there was ice on my tent in the morning. Usually the condensation dries up but this night it froze and started to melt inside my tent. It effectively started raining when the sun came up. The tent worked great but I needed to open the vent windows to stop condensation building up so much. Next day was a spectacular hike to Sourlies bothy (aka Sore Legs Bothy) . I had the bothy to myself and got a good fire going. I gathered enough sticks along the shore of Loch Nevis to keep warm. There were many dear arround the bothy and these were very tame and unconcerned by my presence. I stayed at Sourlies for two nights, It was such an enjoyable place that I wanted to take advantage of it fully. After my stay I headed of on the way to Inverie. I had read about Inverie and since I was so close I thought it was a shame not to go. I timed my departure for low tide mid morning and walked along the beach and across the Carnach river estuary. This was much easier than wading through the boggy crossing further upstream by the bridge. The tide was so low that the river crossing was easy. It was a little confusing with one side of the channel flowing downstream and the other side going upstream as the tide had turned. Safely across I truned left at the brige and headed uphill. I had no idea this was such a climb. I could see what I thought was the top but this turned out to be only half way there. The rain was now torrential and the steep and narrow paths were just streams flowing back downhill. It was like walking up a river bed. Anyway I got to the top one step at a time which is how you accomplish big tasks. It was nicer over the top and down towards Inverie. The rain was off now and downhill is always better particularly this failry gentle decent. It is a long hike to Inverie from the bealach. I thought I was near when I reached an estate bothy but it turned out I was still several miles from town. In hindsight I should have camped near the bothy as others have done. Anyway I got to Inverie after dark but found my way to the Old Forge for a couple of pints and a fish supper. After that I went to the hostel and got a comfy and warm bed for the night. Next day a nice bacon roll in the cafe and off on the ferry to Mallaig and the train home. My second stage was complete and I was very satisfied with the hike this time. All my gear was working very well and my pack was not too heavy. The best part is I get to go back to Inverie whan I resume my trek likely in June 2024.