TGO Challenge 2015 Day 1 Dornie to Iron Lodge

Day 1
The big day! we had been planning and Vicky has been training for this since we returned from the Challenge last year in May. Despite the cold and windy weather the first day of the Challenge dawned perfect, blue sky, cool and no wind, everything we could have asked. Today was going to be eleven miles, not far, but not a piece of cake either, as the day climbed (sometimes not so slowly) into the Highlands of western Scotland. The Challenge for us starts in Dornie at the Dornie Hotel, where we have been staying for the last day and a half. 

Even though we had toured the Castle the day before, I ran over to get some pictures of the Castle in the early morning sunlight as it looks completely different than it did the day before
A panorama of the bay with Eilean Donan Castle of the right and Dornie on the left 

We went down to the bay and dipped our toes in the west coast water, hoping in fourteen days to do the same on the east coast of Scotland

Then it was back to the Dornie Hotel for a traditional Scottish Breakfast (minus the black pudding)

Hotel check out and officially signing out to start to the Challenge

Walking out of Dornie getting a view of the remainder of the village on the far side of the bay 
A panorama of the entire far side of the Village of Dornie

We walked to the end of the village, about 1.5 miles, and crossed over a small bridge that led to a farm track into the hills

As we move up the valley, looking back on where we came from you can see the last home in Dornie Village (a very nice B&B) in the distance

The first part of the track was rocky and footing was not real solid, but Vicky navigated it well.
The first valley (Glen) ended with a big climb up and over a pass between two higher hills
Just before the top of the pass there was a very nice spot that looked to be a regular camping spot for the locals.

Up and over! You can see a long way down into the next glen. You can see the farm at the base of this hill
This gives a better perspective of the steepness of the decent. Can you spot Vicky just about half way down? We had been following a fairly well marked path to the top but as we came down this side the trail disappeared and we simply had to head straight down to where we knew we had to be. Here we actually caught up to a couple of Challengers that had been ahead of us because they got off to the left in this photo into a ravine that was very hard to navigate.
The elevation evened out once down the hill and we walked past many fields with cows and lambs, most with brand new youngsters

The glens had plenty of water and great views (above and below the river Elchaig)

We got our first view of the higher hills we would be in tomorrow.
The last part of day one was walking down toward Loch na Leitreach near a cottage called Carnach.
this was one of the most beautiful settings for a home I have ever seen
looking back up the way we have just come as we reach the cottage of Carnach

After passing Carnach you see Iron Lodge in the distance

Iron Lodge was someones home until the 70's when it was abandoned (I don't know why) but it is now in very rough shape and unusable to stay inside but it makes for a good stopping point for us tonight.

Louise Evans, one of the Challengers that helped me define my route this year on the north coast arrived for a rest. She was continuing on to camping spot on top of the next set up hills behind Iron Lodge.
You can see Louise start up the series of switchbacks that get you to the top of the next pass. We had thought about continuing with her, but this was our target point for the day and we had already set up our tent, got into our sleeping cloths and started to dry out our gear 
The MLD Duomid pitched next to Iron Lodge. This let us stay out of the wind and enjoy the sunset down the glen you had just walked. We found and old cloth drying rack in the house and are using it outside to dry our wet socks and the sweat on our hiking shirts. We used the old lodge kitchen table to make dinner. 
Evening looking down the glen. The sun doesn't really set until about 10:30 pm here now and it is light at 4:30 am. 
This was a really good first day. 11 miles in good time and everything felt good. We got to bed early to prepare of the big day tomorrow.


  1. Catch up time!
    Excellent stuff so far!

  2. Catch up time!
    Excellent stuff so far!


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