TGO Challenge 2014 Day 3- Glendessarry to Great Glen Way past Clunes.

At the end of day two when we decided to call it a day I sensed that part of Vicky's hesitation and anxiety with the day, besides just being tired, lied in the knowledge that we would have to just get up and continue on the same track. So when I brought up our FWA ( Foul Weather Alternative) route and that I had already considered a way around the higher peak route, her face lit up like a Christmas tree....
Her anxiety melted away and she visibly brightened to the idea. We had plenty of time to lay in the tent that night and go over the FWA and where it was and what it meant to our plans and what to expect from the new route, in this case a considerable amount of road and hard surface walking. The good news however was that we were literally camped at the FWA split point. Turn up to Kinbreak bothy was the point that I was to decide to make the climb or turn down and along Loch Arkaig, the route being just a hundred feet below us on the road that passes the Glendessarry Lodge. The rainbow from last night was pointing us in our new direction. I further recognized that from this point on I would include Vicky in the map reading and decision making. It wasn't that I specifically keep her away from it, but she was concentrating on preparing physically and mentally for the trip, it seemed like an unnecessary extra burden, but having an idea of where you are going and how long it should take can have a calming effect and relieve additional anxiety.

So today we just walked!  We packed up early and dropped back down to the road in front of Glendessarry Lodge and turned east. Our job today was just to walk as far as we could. there was no elevation or bogs or rocky roads. Our path would take us along Loch Arkaig then Loch Lochy and the Great Glen Way north east toward Ft Augustus and Loch Ness tomorrow. 

With the pressure lifted we were able to walk and talk and enjoy the scenery for the day. We stopped at the old Garrison ruins on Loch Arkaig for some pictures
This yellow flowering plant was everywhere in Scotland. It looks beautiful but don't get too close it has very long and pointy thorns. 

A song bird perched on a fence post refused to fly away until I took its picture
We counted stone walls (above) and lovely Scottish cottages (below) along the Lochs all day.
I was surprised at how many Challengers we encountered today. It seems we were not alone in taking our FWA as many Challengers reported it to be just too wet underfoot or too windy up high for safe travel.
I was secretly glad we chose this route today, mostly for Vicky, but I was enjoying just mindlessly walking today as well.

Several of the cottages had lovely gardens and we stopped to smell the flowers and admire the colors.

While we didn't see many hooved animals today, this could be the reason. In Scotland they take their cattle guards very seriously. No bovine or any other hooved animal would be crossing this gate and we had to take care not to twist an ankle as well.
Eas Chia-aig Waterfalls
 Walking close to Clunes we encountered an enchanted land of green with parks and waterfalls and more old stone walls clingy with moss. It is also the moment when the overriding smell of spring hit me for the first time and I would look, and smell for it, the remainder of the trip- Honeysuckle!

Mile Dorcha

 We had hoped there would be a B&B in Clunes and if so we planned to take advantage of it. At the very least we hoped to find a convenience store or grocery store to buy good food for dinner tonight. It had been a long day on the road down the Lochs and I estimated we had done about 15 miles to this point.
I probably didn't mention I didn't have maps of my FWA route except on my phone and that had died yesterday because I had dropped it into a cold stream and drained the battery..... so I was also looking for a place to charge my phone as well.

(Above) View of some Munros (peaks higher than 3000') as we started the Great Glen Way
There was nothing in Clunes but a sign post and maybe 7 or 8 houses. We spoke to a local that told us that there was a campsite about 3.5 miles down the Great Glen Way. We sat down to have a late lunch at a picnic table and discuss our next move.
We really didn't want to go any further but felt like we needed to press on a bit farther and if there was an established campsite it might provide the most comfortable nights sleep. So we pressed onto the Great Glen Way, northeast, which was our direction anyway. 

 about 3 miles into the walk up the G.G.W we encountered 3 bicyclists. We ask them how much further to the campsite and they replied the only campsite they had seen was 5 or 6  miles up the Way. 
(remember this as it will be important tomorrow!)
 So Vicky and I looked for the first flat place to pitch our tent! Water was coming out of the hills every 100 feet, so it was just a matter of finding a flat pitch and the day was over. We had done 20.1 miles !!!!!
Sore feet, but a great rebound day from yesterday.

Do we look at bit "knackered"  :-)

Day 3
20 miles in 9 hours

Elevation profile for Day 3


  1. A good decision to take the road along Arkaig - it's a bit of a trudge, but as you point out, there's lots of interest along the way.
    From hard experience, the way over to Kinbreack can be a total mire when the ground is wet - best avoided.

  2. Plant with the yellow flowers and thorns is gorse - smells a bit like coconut!

    1. Thanks Laura, we love that smell as well and are going to try and see if that plant will grow in Missouri

  3. Well this is just a great account and I'm thoroughly enjoying it all. Love the pix and love the way that you're both adapting to conditions. As Laura says, that spiky yellow-flowered plant is gorse, and the coconut smell may well be the "Smell of Spring" you've mentioned. The other yellow-flowered shrub (no spikes) is broom. Yes, used to be used for sweeping out the floor! The flowers are a mild hallucinogen, and tales are that the back in the day (1,000 years or so) the righteous dudes used to take a toke or two before their morning groove. Sorry not to have met you along the way, but did note the two of you at Thursday's Challenge Dinner. Keep 'em coming! Cannae wait, won't wait!

    1. Thank you Humphrey, We really enjoyed your speech at dinner on Thursday night and can't wait to come back- I need to confirm the blood test results, but I believe we have been bitten and infected.

  4. Some of your pics remind me of scenes from The Princess Bride. Very pretty. 20.1 miles...impressive!


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