Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Day 97: Kinlocheil to Gualann nan Osna

The day started fine and clear and we set off up the A830 for a couple of Km before taking a track NNE alongside the Fionn Lighe. The track was at first well made and easy to follow 

but then became a path that swung North and became increasingly rough and boggy as it followed Allt a Choire Reidh until it disappeared all together and we were left struggling through increasingly difficult terrain as we climbed up towards Guallan nan Osna. The views back, however, became more and more spectacular.

Whether it was the accumulated tiredness of the 2,000 km we had already walked combined with the climb and the terrain which increasingly required all our concentration as holes, partially hidden by the bracken and grass lay in wait of tired legs and heavy packs in order to trip us up: but we were beginning to visibly tire and were falling further and further behind schedule if we were to make the Achuil Bothy in good time. We struggled on and reached the crags that marked the end of our ascent.

But that was not the end of our problems; we followed the contours around the crags but found that the terrain was going to be even more difficult and dangerous going down. Those hidden pot holes that were troublesome going up were going to pose a real risk of accident and potential broken bones going down, and we couldn't see an obvious escape route in the case of problems going forward? 
On top of that, thunder storms (which did not in the end eventuate) were forecast and the clouds were starting to descend. 
This combination of factors turned what we knew would be a difficult descent into a real risk of injury. We were tired and in need of, like Paddington Bear a good think: so we sat on a rock, ate a piece of Kendal Mint Cake and looked at each other. The safest option, though a greater distance, was to go back in the direction we came. Finding a better route looking down and from our experience going up.

Long story short... We decided that  discression was the better part of valour and roughly 2,000 km was enough for us and to put ourselves (and potentially others if we needed rescuing) at risk of injury was just plain stupid: so we took a last lingering look at the scenery we had come to love so much and headed back down the way we had come.

On reaching the A830 we headed back toward Locheil Side station and caught the train back to Fort William.

A disappointing end to our epic journey but we take pleasure in the achievements that we have had and do not regret the decision to end it when we did. 

1 comment:

  1. ...And a disappointing end for those of us who have been following your trek for so long. But no regrets, because along the way you've had wonderful experiences and have entertained us with engrossing stories and beautiful scenery. Thanks for sharing; take a well-deserved rest.