May 13th. Drumnadrochit to bridge above Aberarda House

Our early start went as expected, with Colin ready 1/2 hr before agreed schedule. I was 1/4 hr after him for once. We had time to make tea but Colin wanted to get moving. We crept out.

Our first port of call was the local supermarket, we thought it opened at 7 but it turned out in opened at 6. No camping gas available nor anything Colin wanted for breakfast. I picked up a pint of milk for mine. Then on to the post office/cafe/village store. Again no camping gas, but bread and cheese for Colin and bananas for both of us. Sausage butties for sale but nothing vegetarian so we moved on, joining the convoy of hikers out of town to the ferry jetty.

Arrived in good time so had our breakfasts, mine milk, a chocolate bar which had made it from Canada to this point, and a banana.

Ten of us on the boat, we were the only first timers.

A smooth crossing, no monsters.

Then on the road again in our different directions.

One other couple turned out to be going our way, but they were putting in an extra 4 hours which we had not planned on doing. We stuck to our plan and had a nice shorter day.

The first hour or so was steadily uphill through woods with wild primroses every where.

Then we reached a more open and agricultural area and saw the mountains which are the next two days challenge.

Around midday , just before we had to leave the road, we found an occupied house and Colin begged a kettle of boiling water for his lunch, and we also filled up our drinking bladders.

After Colin had had his porridge and I my bars and trail mix we continued on. The path up to where we planned to, and are, camping turned out to be a good track and much a gentler incline than I had inferred from reading the contours. More attention to detail is required Michael.

Anyway we found a nice, if slightly lumpy place to camp and by 2pm were set up and napping.

I discovered I had 4 bars on my phone and received texts from mission control. I managed to text Tina a couple of times before the connection froze up on us. No internet either. Very annoying.

After my nap I went to the nearby river and got some water to boil for my dinner. Very peaty coloured, and still so after being filtered. Does this mean that the first nights frost has done a number on the filter. We don’t know. Very annoying, but looks like we will have to minimize its use.

More wild life today, an orange tipped butterfly, grouse (2), grr footed geese ( says Colin), cuckoos (heard no seen), an oyster catcher, and various other birds mainly just heard, and a small herd of deer.

Now almost 5 and the first signs of the day cooling off. I hiked most of the day in shorts and a shirt which was a nice change.

Another shorter than average day planned for tomorrow, and again I and my body are happy with that, I just hope we find as nice a campsite. I think Colin is happy to have had an easier day.

Fitbit stats as of 5pm: 28000 steps, 22.5 k, 1300 vertical feet and 4200 calories burnt. An easier day.

postscript: it seems Colin was more glad of the short day than I thought. He has decided to abandon the challenge. One of his knees is really aching. A new development for him and he does not want to aggravate them further without knowing the cause, and is unwilling to take my anti-inflammatories. So there we are. I am going to carry on by myself and see how it goes. Should be ok. Only obvious problem is lack of camping gas, but freeze dried food does not require hot water, it is just quicker to dehydrate with it, and of course tastes better warm.

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