Saturday, 19 March 2011

Can’t see the wood for the trees

What is it about walking into a wooded area that suddenly causes navigational difficulties?

I’ve had a relatively quiet walking week. After a rest day on Sunday, I had a regular Monday walk, four miles Tuesday including walking home from the station having dropped the car in Inverness for repair. On Wednesday, I took the longer route to the station to return for the car and notched up five miles. On Thursday I did my daily brisk one  and planned yesterday’s walk.

David  has another long weekend, so we’ll walk. Yesterday was not a good day for big hills, the forecast was windy and there was plenty of snow around, so it was a stroll from Insh, to Drumguish, through to Glen Feshie, then back into the Inshriach Forest to return via Uath Lochan. We sometimes use a walking website for walk ideas, which this was from, but they can be a bit ‘iffy’. Like this one.

SDC11286 Sgor Gaoith is out there somewhere, but not for us this time

I don’t know why the 8” of snow took me by surprise, but it did. This made for a strenuous walk and I’m quite sure I shall feel it today.  Initially there were footprints to follow, but shortly after Inveruglass, they disappeared. On we went, the going got easier as we reached the forestry works beyond Drumguish, as they’d kindly cleared the path. We had lunch sheltering from the stiff breeze before we made our way to the bridges and made a decision.

SDC11292 Practising, but this isn’t a nasty, wibbly, wobbly bridge

We felt that, given the depth of the snow we were about to encounter and the heavy grey clouds approaching, discretion was the better part of valour. We diverted through Corarnstilbeg before joining the Glen Feshie road as planned. From the point we re-entered the forest, things were ‘interesting’.

SDC11296 I’m going this way

SDC11298 I know my place, bringing up the rear

It was deep, virgin snow. David broke the trail for me for a while, but shortening his stride for me wasn’t too helpful, plus I was pulling my Achilles from time to time, which worried me. Then, the directions took us off the main track and on a rather strange/unnecessary route over rough ground and through bog for a while. When we did find the forestry track again, the directions didn’t make sense even when the grid references were right, so we went our own way.

I think this will be a nice one to do when the snow has gone. Oh! Part of it is on my route in May, fancy that!

10.4 miles 863 ft total time including stops 5 hrs 10 mins.

Post script

I drafted this before I went to bed last night and have woken up this morning to find I don’t have any aches or pains, yey! There’s hope for me yet.


Laura said...

You're right about the forest and getting lost thing - I spent 2 and a half hours trying to get out of one about a mile from home (beside Balmoral) - not only no tracks to correspond to the map but no landmarks (only more trees) and very high fences with no gates - - therefore:- avoid forests whenever possible...

Louise said...

Not kidding! Although, of late, the major cause of my lostness in forestation has been down to my Trusty Sidekick. P'raps a good job I'll be on my own on the Challenge afterall (then I'll only have myself to blame!)