A well overdue update from Lorraine in Moidart ..........................................................
26 days and 53 hills after my last blog, whoops where has the time gone? I have come through Strathfarrar, Strathconon, Torridon, The Coulin Forrest, Applecross, Torridon, Achnashellach, Inverinate Forrest, Glen Affric, Glen Shiel, Knoydart, Glen Dessary, Glen Kingie, and Glenfinnan.
The weather began to turn at last in Glen Affric where i had the chance for the first time to stay in the Ault Beithe hostel, a very special place and a great evening where I shared celebrating my half way mark with Alisdair who had just finished his second round of munros. A few wee drams were had by all.
I have had lots of sunshine, cloud inversions, high camps, misty sunrises and sunsets. I have seen a wild boar with her baby, a pine marten washing its paws right in front of me, had a baby deer follow me down the mountain, watched lots of other hinds with their babies, the stags running together and ptarmigan chicks are everywhere.
Spring has become high summer with bell heather and ling, the bog is a carpet of colour with deep red and orange smagnum moss, wispy bog cotton, sundew and bog asphodel. I had my first blaeberries of the year on the 27th June on Sgurr an Airsid.
I have been midged, clegged and ticked but the worse by far is the bracken. I have spent many days fighting my way up hills on pathless terrain tripping, slipping, getting ankles tied in the lower stems and not being able to see over the top. Never, ever, ascend Sgurr Coire Conneachan direct from the Gleann Dubh Loch in Knoydart! Day of the Triffids comes to mind! Mountains that used to be purple are now only green because of how much the bracken has gotten hold.
People are few and far between on these hills. Perhaps they know about the bracken. Yesterday I met my first people on a hill since Beinn Damh in Torridon, over 40 hills ago. I have met people in the glens and bothies though. The Cape Wrath Trail seems to be particularly popular.
Support is still coming big time from Rob who appears with bikes, fresh raspberries, real bread and cheese, clean clothes, dry shoes, and takes away rubbish, smelly clothes and seriously smelly shoes. Help has also come from others like Kalie in Applecross, a good friend and yet another member of the Creag Dhont MC. A long overdue thankyou to Kalie for moving my bike , joining me on the hill, eating with me in the Applecross Inn (always a hard one that), putting me up, doing my washing, moving my bike, moving my bike again and did I mention the Green and Blacks Chocolate I found in my back pack!
Support also comes from complete strangers, like Jimmy from Glen Loy who looked after my pack while I was on the hill, made me dinner, gave me his spare room to stay in and entertained me for the evening with his fell running stories and tales of a retired driving examiner. Great evening and great guy. Thank you Jimmy and Izzy..
Yesterday I had my best mountain day by far on the five corbetts just south of Glenfinnan. The Druim Farclash Ridge which joins the 2 in the east with the 3 in the west is a long, scrambly ridge, knife edged in parts. I have not worked out the overall ascent yet but 13 hours after starting I was back at my bike, tired, burnt, thirsty and high as a kite. Still buzzing a half hour later when I cycled into Glen Uig.
And now i am supposedly having a well deserved day off but as the weather is due to break tomorrow, I used this afternoon to cycle to Resipol. Tomorrow I climb Ben Resipol and head over towards the Ardgour hills and then it's time to head east.
79 to go................
My body is holding up, I am a wee bit smaller and browner these days but my poor wee feet are taking a hammering. I've lost a few nails and they are starting to feel a little tender. Thank God for walking poles.
The fundraising is going well, over £2,500 now. Please help spread the word. It's a good cause.