About this blog

Just having a bit of fun here, posting about walks and other stuff. I need to get out more.

Monday, 5 August 2013

TGO Challenge 2013. Day 3: Loch na Caoidhe to "The House of the Hangman"

It had been a cold night down by the waters edge and it was still cold in the morning as I put the stove on for the first coffee of the day.
I unzipped the tent to find Charlie sat on guard outside his masters abode seemingly none the worse for his exertions yesterday.
Charlie is a fine dog and great company in the hills but he does seem to suffer quite badly from short term memory loss. In Charlies eyes, one minute you are his best mate and the next you are an evil stranger with intentions of beheading his master and making off with all of his biscuits.
Charlie had of course, forgotten who I was this morning, after all it had been 12 hours since he last saw me. Once he had remembered who I was, all was well and I was able to approach Richard's tent to discuss the options for today.

Charlie on guard duties.
We had both slept in too late for a realistic chance of beating the bad weather on a mad dash over the Strathfarrar hills, so the discussion was a short one. Today's route was to be an energy saving, low level affair.
The plan was to try to make it as far as Tighachrochadair (which wonderfully translates as The House of the Hangman) before the worst of the predicted bad weather caught up with us.
I am sure I saw Charlie nodding his head in agreement as the plan was declared.

   Heading down Glen Orrin.                                           Photo courtesy Richard Wood
It was a cold, grey morning, but we soon warmed up as we made our way below the crags of Beinn Mheadhoin, where I paused to look back towards the snow clad Strathfarrar Munros.
My timing was good as at that moment there was a majestic Golden Eagle high in the sky above us. 
We watched it circle for quite a while before it headed north and went out of sight. 
Not a bad start to the day at all.

An hour or so later we were making a brew in Luipmaldrig bothy. 
This is a cracking bothy and is probably rarely visited. I believe it was built for the navvies working on the Orrin Reservoir project and it is now owned and well maintained by the Strathconnan Estate.

We had a snoop around, as you do, and found a back bedroom complete with double bed. 
The bothy book revealed that the occupant of the bedroom last night was none other than The Goddess!
I expect she slept well, free from the alleged vibrations of fellow Challengers respiratory structures which had made her stay at Gerry's Hostel such a miserable experience.

Me and Charlie in the posh bothy.                           Photo courtesy Richard Wood    
Through the window I observed the unmistakable figure of Humphrey Weightman approaching the bothy. 
Charlie gave Humphrey a frosty reception as he entered the building but was soon to be charmed by Humph who was then accepted as temporary member of our gang.

Following a brief chat, Humphrey set off towards the wobbly suspension bridge over the river Orrin. 
We packed up and took a more direct, boggy line to the bridge. 
Charlie, fearing that he was to be left behind by Richard, took the direct, damp route across the river in pursuit of Richard who had opted for the more conventional method of crossing the river using the bridge.
Once across, we followed the river to it's outflow into the reservoir and then more or less hugged the south bank of the reservoir all the way to the Allt na Criche, which we easily forded. 
Crossing the river Orrin
Charlie had a great time on this stretch, splashing in and out of the pools and burns feeding the reservoir. He had obviously not learnt anything yesterday about pacing himself.

Orrin river flats
Height was gained fairly quickly as we left the reservoir behind to pick up a sometimes vague path over to the track above Gleann Goibhre.
The weather was closing on us now as predicted, the wind had freshened considerably and we felt the first spots of rain of the day.
View down to Orrin Reservoir.                                     Photo courtesy Richard Wood
The Hydro Bothy was a welcome sight and we were pleased to get out of the wind for half an hour for a brew and a bite to eat. 

Taking a break in the Hydro Bothy                            Photo courtesy Richard Wood
Then it was just a matter of pushing on for a further 5km along the track to our chosen destination of Tighachrochadair.

Squally  rain showers, sweeping through from the west greeted our arrival and with the help of some borrowed nail pegs (cheers Richard), I managed to pitch the tent beside Richard's tight up against the gable end of the hangman's house.

Sheltered camp, Tighachrochadair
Half an hour or so later, we were joined by Peter Molenaar, who had noticed our tents from the track above the house and headed down the heather clad hillside to share our sheltered pitch.

Charlie let Peter know in no uncertain terms that he was not to come too close to Richard's tent and it took liberal handouts of Peter's beef jerky supply before he was to be accepted into the clan.

I was now well ahead of my planned route, leaving just a short walk tomorrow to the fleshpots of Beauly.
The plan to get ahead of the bad weather had proven to be a good one.
It was not pleasant outside the tent tonight,  but at least we had shelter from the worst of the elements which we might not have found in the hills to the west of us.

Excess supplies of food and Jack Daniels were consumed and text messages sent back home before I eventually settled down in the sleeping bag for the night.

Another good Challenge day.


  1. I'm loving this route! Looking forward to the next bit.

    1. Thanks Louise. The blog is just my way of reliving the Challenge experience. It was a nice route this year. I find that the key is to plan a good FWA route, any high stuff is then just a bonus.

  2. Great stuff Dave. I visited Glen Orrin last year on a failed attempt to cover the Strathfarrar Munros from the north so it is interesting to see that it remains a wild looking glen even down beyond the reservoir. That bothy certainly did look both tidy and empty when I passed it.