TGO Challenge 2022 – Day 3: Redemption

There aren’t many midges and they’re not biting yet, is what I was hearing before the Challenge. But, in the time it takes to pack up, I’m covered in midge bites. And boy are they itchy ones. It’s a relief to start putting one foot in front of the other.

We are now firmly on the Cape Wrath Trail trade route, and evidence abounds – every 10 minutes or so we encounter them coming the other way – singly and in pairs. We stop to chat to several – although not desperate for the excuse to rest yet, it’s fair to say that my walking partner is obsessed with footwear, and many of these chats turn to whatever the CWTers have on their hooves.

One pair early on warn us about the state of the path ahead of us. It turns out to be a bit muddy, necessitating a bit of diversion, but surely nothing to what these people will have to deal with in a week or so.

Other than the mud, it’s a straightforward drag up the path to a sort of T-junction of glens. A flat grassy shelf winds its way around an outcrop to the left, and we follow it, the path becoming more defined and recognisable as such. A short pause is taken by a rocky outcrop.

More CWTers pass. One is very heavily laden, with a decent sized rucksack on his front as well as an even bigger one on his back. I’d be surprised to see that load make it all the way to the lighthouse.

Another figure grows larger in the distance behind us, and we sort of let him catch us – he looks a bit like a Challenger, if only because he’s going the wrong way for the Cape Wrath Trail. The hunch proves well founded and he tells us he’s number 225, making him the very next on the list after our little group. It’s Scott Kinghorn, a fellow three-timer. We walk together for an hour or so, before Darren and I decide to use Corrlarach as a lunch stop. Scott ploughs on.

Corrlarach, or somewhere in the vicinity, was to be day 2’s end point, so that we could now start day 3. It starts raining as we pack up to resume.

We quickly spy Scott not that far ahead – he’d stopped for a brew a short way on, so we are again a party of 3 for the lower reaches of Cona Glen. The valley opens out into a pleasant grassy vista with easy walking.

But we part ways when we reach the A861. Scott is bound for the “other” ferry at Camusnagaul, and us for Corran. The walk along the road to Corran is slow – our target is in sight for much of it, and the surface is hard. A “boots off” stop is called beside the road. Darren is starting to suffer with his feet.

The word “brewery” on a sign just outside Ardgour, seems to resurrect Darren, and we dive in for ice cream, keeping our drinking legs reserved for the ferry wait.

And at the Inn by the ferry, we duly partake of cold fruited apple-based beverages, sitting drinking them in the sun, and watching the ferry plying back and forth. It’s also the first House of Ease of the trip, and I make sure I get my money’s worth.

We eventually have had our fill and board the ferry for the intrepid voyage. When Darren came this way before, he stopped off to dine at a place called Roam West, and we do it again. Cullen Skink followed by fish and chips, and washed down with more apple-based fruit beverages, in front of a roaring fire. The staff at the restaurant seem pretty thrilled by our presence, and enthralled by our story of what we’re up to. I find it difficult to believe they’ve not had Challengers in before.

Finally the moment comes when we can put it off no longer. We slip down the path next to the Roam and join the road up into Glen Righ. The rain is trying to fall as we divert to look at the falls, then we’re hurrying onwards and upwards whilst looking out for a spot.

It’s much the same story as yesterday, with not much on offer, but we do find a reasonably flat and level patch of rough grass. And there’s water nearby. It will do.

Somehow, we’re now only about 2km behind plan, and that’s only really because we’ve run out of day and entered that zone where you grab a pitch when you find one.

Today’s Distance: 29.98km | Ascent 468m | Cumulative Distance 63.69km

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