The rain slashes down for much of the night – definitely the worst night yet. I had to adjust my door configuration twice to successively hunker the tent down more. I wake to find daylight poking though a small hole in one of the doors.
I’ve not idea how it happened, but almost certainly I got clumsy with a tent stake in my haste, and didn’t notice. At least it’s not in a critical place. Worse is the hole in the bathtub of my inner, and that is totally my fault. Before the trip I sewed a strip of grosgrain and a ring into the midpoint of the front side of the inner and smeared them liberally with Silnet. At 260cm long, it’s a large expanse to not have any additional tie out to keep things pulled out properly. What with all the bending and flexing, possibly with some over-enthusiastic tensioning, it ripped clean out, leaving me with a rectangular gap. Bugger.
The loch also looks a lot closer than it did last night. This means the river that we need to cross will almost certainly have got bigger too. Last night we decided that we would aim for a shortcut over the Corbett we’re parked below (Leum Uilleim) and recover some ground that we lost yesterday. But that’s dependent on being able to cross the river.
More heavy rain delays our departure. I manage to pack up between downpours and leg it for the bothy leaving Darren to finish packing up. We chat a bit more with the couple who visited us last night and then go to look at the river. It’s way too deep. Yesterday there were stepping stones across it – now we can’t even see where they were, let alone see the stones. A trekking pole is inserted and goes in over the second knuckle and even then hasn’t found the bottom. A crossing is a fool’s errand.
There is another potential option though – the bothy couple suggested we might be able to cross at the other end of the loch at a spot they eyeballed yesterday. We set off continuing on the path towards Loch Treig to give it a look. But already, I’m thinking we should just stick to the path and suck up the extra distance.
The path is a boggy and muddy obstacle course, and increasingly so as Loch Treig itself comes into view, taunting us with it’s unreachableness. We make it eventually and find a spot on the beach for lunch.
Now things improve as we’re on a proper stony track. I surge up the path to the point where the track dips under a railway bridge. Here we discuss next steps – the plan all along has been to divert to Corrour Station for refreshment, but neither of us are that bothered any more. That was yesterday’s plan anyway!
We plough on, enduring a number of twists and turns in sight of Loch Ossian Hostel that hold it at bay for longer and longer.
We drop into the hostel and are shepherded around to the shed at the back where we partake of tea and chat with a chap doing some maintenance work.
It’s 3pm or so, and once more we’re at the point we should have been at the end of the day before. Once more the brain engages catch-up mode. A bit of map staring whilst we quaff our tea tells us what we already know – making Blair on Friday is going to be extremely difficult with the route we have and with the progress we’re making. We need to straighten it out a bit, and that means one thing: the road.
A rough measure shows that we’ve got about 70km to Blair, and if we can position ourselves so that it’s then two 30km days, it should be doable. We need to crack on a bit now and get ourselves as close to the road as we can. So we do.
Gone is our main route option of a climb over Carn Dearg, let alone the unwritten possibility that we could have tacked on Sgor Gaibhre as well. We’ll continue south along the track below that was our Foul Weather Alternative. We have our eye on a wood to the west of Lochan Sron Smeur – that might provide a bit of shelter from the wind, as that is still our companion. But we do look at Corrour Old Lodge on the way.
Here anything useful for putting a tent on is too exposed, and anything sheltered is crap for putting a tent on. We push on. The wood comes and looks ok, but Darren is pushing on. We get to where the track crosses Allt Eigheach, and there’s loads of flat grassy pitches. The only problem is they’re not all very sheltered and some of them are on islands that look tricky to reach, and potentially even worse to get back from if the river rises in the night.
We do find a spot though and I pitch with my tent facing the Munro that should have been.