Sunday, June 8, 2008

Melgarve Bothy

Corryairack pass is quite something. This is a classic walk in the highlands. I could have gone farther but since I have decided to get to Kingussie in three days instead of two I am staying at Melgarve bothy tonight. This is a posh place with a great sleeping area on the second floor. The first floor has a table, comfy chairs, and fireplace (though no wood). It is leaps and bounds better than Canban. Getting here was a joy. Chris from the Caldonian Hotel walked me to the entry point of the track to the pass (one of General Wade's military transport roads which he built to great effect to move men and equipment to be used to keep the Scottish clans in line). We passed through a cemetery past just starting Bluebells. It was very good of him to do this and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk with him and the two others that joined us for a time. Once on the track, a 4x4 road really though it dates back to General Wade and so is well over two hundred years old. You slowly climb the winding road with bald mountains falling away on either side it reminds me somewhat of the undulating country near Wales, Alaska. There are even patches of snow near the pass. Today was mostly bright and clear so the viewing was pretty good. Even when some mist was clinging at lower elevations it was still good.

Sometimes it made far more sense to walk the lumpy grass on the roadside because the boulders were just too much hassle. This happened a lot on the far side of the pass. Chatting with Bob who caught up, hiking bear chested and clearly in fine shape, just before the pass was quite fun. We took a good lunch break just beyond the pass. It would have been a great spot to take a nap. If only I had a light blanket to roll up in. Arriving at Melgarve both at 1730 was great. I feel sure others will arrive in time but right now I have the place to myself.

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People started arriving soon after I finished writing the first bit. First Cameron McNeish showed up with tripod and video camera in hand. He's working with the BBC to create a documentary about the Challenge that will air later this year. He also wanted to chat me up and make sure I was doing fine. I hope it was more co-incidence that he found me here than not but I know Roger Smith had told him about me so perhaps people are checking up on me. It is what it is. Other people would drift in too with some having a quick bite and moving on down the road (Ursula, Peter) and many others pitching tents or staking out space in the bothy itself. I had pitched my Tarptent Virga even though the sleeping area did look very inviting. Among the people here are Russ, Sam, Mark, and Herman would show up; Both and Ethel who I had started to morning with when leaving Fort Augustus; and the four brothers (A TGO first).


I am right at the top of the pass at this point, about 780 meter (2,560ft) and as you can see snow is lingering. We could see patches further up as well though this would be the only one I'd pass really close too. Photo by Bob. May 12, 2008. 15:03.

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