TGO Challenge 2015 Day 2 Iron Lodge to Athnamulloch Bothy Glen Affric

Day 2
Today is the big day on the schedule. climbing to the highest point on our walk this year 2400 feet (Bealach Coire Ghaidheil) and crossing the most difficult terrain (Gleann a' Choilich) as it is very boggy. the total distance is again 11 miles but while yesterday's 11 miles was done in 7 hours, today it will take us around 11 hours to cover the same 11 miles. This is the part Vicky has been training for since last years Challenge.

 If you click on the image above it will open larger and you can see the route and the elevation profile for today.
But first we get to wake up to another lovely day. the view down the glen we walked up yesterday is fantastic. the weather was chilly but the blue sky made it easy to start the day.
You can see from the photo from yesterday of Louise going up the switchbacks to the next pass that is what he had to do for the first 30 minutes of the day. Just like Walter's Wiggles in Zion National Park. It didn't take long as you simply concentrate on one set at a time.
The view from the top back toward Iron Lodge is excellent in the composite picture below

 After getting over the top you look down the next higher pass and you can see the higher hills still with plenty of snow on them. Lots of challengers had plans to go across the high tops, but unless they had ice ax and crampons they changed their plans to a lower route when facing this much snow.
The second pass was easy walking on a good two track jeep road with more stunning scenery.
 We had met Louise just breaking camp when we got to the top of the first pass this morning. After chatting a bit, we pressed on, but she had caught us by later in the morning and we all stopped for a break around mid morning.
 This is a very large panorama of the glen leading to Loch Mullardoch. if the weather had been bad we would have taken this route as an alternative to going up high today across the pass. You can just see the Loch on the right side of the panorama. 
Loch Mullardoch in distance
The Loch is 10 miles long and takes all day to walk it on the north side but we will be turning to the right just as we get to it and heading up into our glen (Choilich)
at the mouth of the Loch is the river feeding it from this end and it has to be forded. I crossed first to make sure there were no real issues and then recorded Vicky and Louise taking their turns.
 Louise makes it!

Vicky makes it- watch later for the movie of Vicky's crossing.
Once in our new glen the trail is reduced to maybe faint tracks in the bogs! and for most of this Glen no trail at all. The GPS kept us in the ballpark and I was able to scout ahead and make the route as efficient as possible. I only fell in a hole once. However walking here is very slow and tough as you negotiate the bogs.
Look for the white arrow on the horizon, this is the pass we have to go up and over to get to the other side into the next glen.

Panorama view of Glen Choilich
Vicky surveys the options to find a dry path.  Notice no sign of a trail. Thousands of people could walk atop bogs and never leave a mark as to the way they went.

We reach the base of the pass and looking up for the best way to proceed.
Louise catches us just as we are making the last climb up the pass

We encountered just a bit of snow in patches on the way up.
Almost there!

Made it to the top!  

Looking over the other side from the top of the pass
Down the other side to Glen Affric. This glen is considered by many in Scotland to be the prettiest Glen in all the highlands.

Another 2 miles down the glen is our destination for the night (Athnamulloch). You have to cross the bridge over the river Affric.

Athnamulloch Bothy
This is a funnel point for several starting points and other challengers were here for the night as well. You can see our MLD Duomid just to the left and behind the bothy in the picture below
Set up and tired. The day started at 8:30 am and we arrived at camp at 8:30 pm. A full solid day of walking. I made some dinner for Vicky and I and we were soon fast asleep.

A beautiful sunset for us as again the sun doesn't actually set until 10:30 to 11 pm


  1. Really do enjoy these pictures and your narratives! We are so glad that you made it through safe and sound this time around. (Must tease you a little--I think "cloths" is probably spelled "clothes" lol) Keep the pictures coming--I think you had some of the most beautiful ones this trip! Dad and I love looking through them!

  2. A big day indeed!
    This is a great read and the pictures are marvelous. You really should display them at the largest size possible!

    1. I figure everyone just clicks on the photo to start the slide show which shows them at full resolution, but I will try and see if I can make them bigger in the blog as well. - thanks Alan

  3. What a full day! Glad you both made it, safe and tired....I'm sure!


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