Sunday, 30 June 2019

Adventures with Ellie - West to Glenquoich Forest

Another opportunity presented itself for Adventures with Ellie, so preparations were made and come 5.30 pm on Friday night, we headed west with a vague plan for Saturday. I also had vague plans of where we could camp, having stopped at a reasonable good layby on  Day Two of the Challenge last year with Laura, Paula, Stephen, Liam, Paul and his son, but soon after we entered the glen, I thought we might need to stop sooner as it was getting late and we were hungry. Sure enough, a nice enough appeared shortly after Poulary, so we stopped. We got organised and set up without being bothered by midgies, but knew we wouldn't head out again before bed as they would most definitely be about. We had a lovely Thai Green Curry that I'd prepared earlier in the day and relaxed.

 Looking west
 Looking SE, Ben Tee on the left

Thai Green Chicken Curry

After not a great night sleep (hot, damn hot) we had a fairly slow start to the day. Eventually we moved off and found a tent and car in the layby I'd thought about, we were glad we'd stopped where we had. We were soon at the parking place for our chosen walk, the Spidean Milach, Gleouraich circuit and after a small amount of faffing we were on our way. There was a chap setting off for a run by his car and another chap and his little dog just exiting our walk on to the road as we made our way towards our start, but we saw no one on the hill.
We made hot, steady progress uphill, there were views and there were flowers. We stopped for lunch at around 600m, the foot of our target hill and consulted the map (we had one!) and I became more unsure as to whether this was a good idea. Spidean Mealach looked fine, but I was not keen on the ridge linking to Gleouraich. I decided it was unlikely I would attempt it, my worst nightmare is to try something and get stuck, at that height, so I agreed the first peak was fine and that I would look at the ridge when we could see it, but I think I'd already decided I would not be trying it. Suitably refuelled, we headed onwards as Loch Fearna came into view, then more steeply upwards, following a fairly good path (according to Walkhighlands, there is none at this point...) directly to the summit. At one point I heard what I thought was thunder, and called out to David, "An airplane." was his confident reply. We walked on. I heard it again shortly after, this time I was certain, "Yes," he said when asked, "We'll walk on."
A shot time later, probably less than 100m from the summit, "Lightning! I saw that!" away over to the east of us. "We're nearly there!" says he. We scampered up to the summit (amazing what a good hit of adrenaline can do...) took the quickest summit pics ever, and did an about turn, straight back down again. "It's okay, it goes for the highest point" says he, as he virtually runs down ahead of me. Thanks.
We were down at the small bealach in good time and continued downhill, with just the odd few moments for a drink of water or to apply midge repellent, every so often we could hear not too distant thunder and saw lightning. When we returned to the car, there was another runner preparing to leave, the first not yet having returned. I was pleased to be off the hill, and having remembered I'd forgotten the pasta for dinner, we headed to Fort Augustus. It was evident there had been heavy rain in places as we drove and it was raining in Fort Augustus while we were there.

 Loch Cuaich

 Spotted Orchid
 It was huge!

 Scampering to the summit
 So dark, the auto flash flashed!
 Down towards Loch Loyne
 The ridge, along which I would not have walked (quite happy for that decision be taken out of my hands!)
 Scampering down again!
A rock on the horizon

 Caledonian Canal
Fort Augustus

Shopping done, we made our way to the Loch Ness Campsite at Foyers as I did not fancy being in an exposed spot with all the storms around us and besides, a refreshing shower was required. This is a super little site I have stayed at before, again during a Challenge and we were soon installed, refreshed and preparing dinner. There was heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning during the evening, but we were safe and relaxed. It was very entertaining watching the antics of other campers, there were one or two domestics in other vans. Also some ignorance, I will return to this. We were looking forward to a better night sleep, tired from our walk, the lack of sleep from the previous night and a much better temperature.

 Looking west from B862
 Along Stratherrick

Total distance 5.43 miles and total ascent 2707 ft
We really had no plan at all for today, so headed for Dores and popped in to the new Tesco at Holme for pastries to supplement our lunch. We then drove on to Nairn Links where we would stop for lunch before heading home.
 Bacon butty

 Nairn Links

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