TGO Challenge 2014- Day 1 Mallaig to Sourlies Bothy

Day 1- Friday May 9th
I will make another pre-post for travel to Scotland but here I will pick up the first day of the TGO challenge for Vicky and I. Our starting point was Mallaig. It is an enchanting sea side town on the west coast of Scotland on the Atlantic Ocean. It is at the end of the rail line from Glasgow. It takes about 5 hours to reach Mallaig by train and the scenery was fantastic including traveling over the "Harry Potter Bridge" the one used in Chamber of Secrets in which Harry and Ron follow the Hogwarts Express, in the invisible car, along the viaduct rail bridge.
Mallaig lies within ferry distance from the Isle of Skye and the other lesser islands and the weather was very good for us to see clearly the island and the rugged peaks on Skye.

 The port town of Mallaig and It's harbor

Western Isle's is the Ferry Service that will take us from Mallaig to Inverie and the town of Knoydart.

It was a lovely day to sail. The skies were clearing and the no rain at all. 
There were many challengers on the boat that morning to start from Mallaig, some had already become good friends from the bar at the West Highland Hotel the night before!

The town of Knoydart coming into view
Our ferry departing the docks after dropping us off and picking up returning visitors. Knoydart is the remotest town in all of Scotland, There is no road that leads to the town. the only way to get to it is to take the ferry or walk in

The Old Forge is the most remote bar in all of Scotland and quit famous "infamous." Some of the challengers went immediately into the bar to have more tea and "refreshments" before starting their hikes.
Starting out climb out of the village you are hit with just how many colors of green there are in Scotland

We walked through some small sections of forest land between the open spaces

A Celtic monument on top of one of the small hills leaving the village
Spring flowers had started to pop up everywhere

After just a couple of miles of easy level walking the trail turns up Gleann Meadail and the hill for the big climb of the day to the top of Mam Meadail 1792 feet, ( higher than anything in Missouri!) which is really just a pass next to Sgurr Sgeithe at 2601 feet.

the view here from about half way up the valley (Gleann) where we stopped for lunch.

 The Trail was boggy and steep as you can see from the next few photos.
I photographed Vicky picking her way up the trail and trying to keep her feet dry (It turned out to be pointless for both of us as you will see later)
 The highly unusual aspect of Scotland- the higher you go the more water you encounter!

Vicky makes it to the top of the climb 

The trail dropped just a quicky down the other side to what looks like a loch but is actually an inland water way to the North Sea. This is the same Atlantic Ocean that we started the day crossing to get from Mallaig.

At the bottom left of the picture above and the top right below you can see the ruins of an old barracks at the edge of the sea.

 If going up and over 1700' was not enough for today now with only a couple of miles left to our proposed camping spot we run into a very "suspect" bridge to cross.
 The day just keeps giving us first for Vicky and our trip in Scotland- THE BOGS. Bogs are unique to Scotland and their is nothing else like it I have ever hiked on. Imagine walking on a surface of sponge that is completely saturated with water. the surface of the bog may hold your weight but it may not! If they don't all you can hope is that there is a bottom you will reach before you are in over your head!

A bog is a mire that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases,sphagnum moss.[1] It is one of the four main types of wetlands.

The sheep don't seem to mind the bogs and can move about well, but two legged creatures are not so lucky but thankfully we only sank in places up to our calves today.
Once past the bogs we still had to negotiate the end of the point around the sea and then a walk on a rocky beach 

First day success. we made it to Sourlies Bothy and a tent city of challengers that had been ahead of us, but we were not the last to arrive for the day and felt better about that 

We had a great evening talking shop and getting to know more of your fellow challengers. 
Tonight at Sourlies Bothy was Emma, Alan, Mike, Pat, Toby, Vicky

Looking out toward the Atlantic Ocean in the fading light of Day 1 (It wouldn't get dark until around 10:30 pm)

Day 1
10 miles walked, 7 hours
1778 feet of total elevation gain.
Animals encountered:
Sheep, Deer and Challengers

Elevation Profile for Day 1


  1. Easy mistake for our American Cousins, Craig, but that "North Sea" was in fact the Atlantic.
    A great start, Sir!

    1. Thanks Alan- I was sorting days and got my oceans mixed up....

  2. I'm afraid I would have had to turn around at the bridge LOL Beautiful scenery and you're right, SO many shades of green!


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