A decent night’s sleep is had, despite some snoring from the room’s other occupant, and so much so that we’re late to rise. We’re also slow to breakfast and slow to set off. Basically we’re slow in every way conceivable. Just as we seem to be making progress towards starting the day’s walk, Howard and Paul turn up bearing tales of their companion Nigel’s breakfast of porridge, croutons and anchovies. This sounds a bit far fetched. A few minutes later, Nigel himself turns up and confirms it’s all true.
We leave them to it and continue the walk east into Glen Affric. A further stop is taken a couple of miles into the walk at Alltbeithe. Having met Ten Tents Tony just outside, the three of us repair inside for tea and scones and a bit of light chat. And a bit of sparkly, fluffy slipper-wearing.
A good time is had, but we must be on our way. Loch Affric stretches out in front of us and we begin to enjoy the views.
The track is easy and we dither along it, looking at some odd-shaped trees. Passers by are more frequent now, and we pause to chat just as frequently. The walk is a gentle one done at a gentle pace. We come up to Loch Salach a’ Ghiubhais, which I’d put down as my stopping point for today. Whilst pleasant enough to look at, it’s not looking a particularly good spot to camp, leaving aside the fact it’s still a bit early. I instead look forward to a spot near the Allt Garbh, suggested by my vetter as a good spot to pick up water, and maybe even to camp.
How wrong he was! We arrive at the Allt Garbh and it’s a Hydro construction site. All is stone, dirt and machinery. The path to Cougie is also diverted and we spend a few minutes sussing out where it is. And it’s here that Andy and I part. It’s been great walking with him for the best part of two days, but it’s time to strike out on my own, and for him to get his own route back on track. With a cheery wave he is gone and the track is mine alone.
After yesterday’s more than planned distance, this has given me the option to shorten today and roll over some of those gains to tomorrow and to have a short day. In the event, this is dictated more by finding a camp spot. I walk a couple of miles further, nipping over to the public toilets at the head of the loch. Well why would you do it behind a rock, if you didn’t have to ?
Back on the track, I spy a bit of lochside beach through the trees and attempt to make my way down to it. It’s a bit of a fight. The beach is extensive and it takes a while to find the best looking patch to park the tent on. The water source is easy though as there’s a stream outflow nearby, gushing over rocks.
I settle down for the first camp of the trip. Almost as soon as the Scarp is up, a few spots of rain fall, meaning I’ve done my usual job of timing it right. Geese fly noisily overhead, and song birds are singing nearby. The last few cars leave the picnic site on the other side of the loch. A light breeze stirs the tent flaps. The stream tumbles lochwards nearby. Cloud shrouds the mountains and I give up hope of anything much in the way of sunset.