Tuesday 19 April
Up at 6 and a quick pack up and breakfast, trying to be quiet and not disturb the others too much (also getting over the shock of being the first up!).
Another lovely morning with wisps of cloud over the river and the glow of sunrise beginning to illuminate the valley. Despite that I woke up in a bad mood and was finding it hard going to start with.
Today's route started of by working back on to the main path along Glen Dessarry, skirting along the forest plantation and gently up (avoiding boggy patches which is pretty much a theme to some extent or another of the whole walk) towards Bealach an Lagain Duibh where we had a quick snack break and I enjoyed the feeling of already having reached the first pass of the day.
Next a long descent down to Sourlies bothy on Loch Nevis - a boggy sludge with lots of rivers, deer sightings, pretty lochans and massive waterfalls. Glad we didn't try to force ourselves all the way to Sourlies on the first day - it would have been hard work, miserable and we wouldn't have been at all in the mood to admire the scenery and the solitude around us.
Apart from deer and insects we saw no-one all day. At Sourlies (which seems like a great bothy, very mountain hut like with interesting hammock feature) there were a few tents scattered in front but no people. Also lots of empty mussel shells.
However, it was too early for us to stop there for the day and we pressed on after another short 9 bar stop. 9 bars are awesome and have got us through many energy lows on our various walks - http://www.9-bar.co.uk/
The next part of the day, again in the heat and humidity that threatened to drain our energy reserves and shorten tempers, was along the 'estuary' following the River Carnoch. It was a hard slog but relieved by the joys of the scenery. The valley narrowed but it was still boggy and at one point we ended up on a sort of short cut that was quite a precipitous path along the river. The river was awesome, plunge pools and rocks and rapids flowing high and low through a primrose covered gorge. There were a couple of possible places to wild camp but again it was too early and we pushed on.
At the end of the river the instructions state that you go off the path to 'leave the river and ascend the very steep side of the glen' for about 100 metres. We didn't feel this instruction really did justice to the amount of height!! After scrambling up for what felt like a long time we did finally manage to find the promised path and, after shaking out my wobbly knees, continued to climb gradually up to the bealach before descending down Gleann Unndalain. The descent today was long but on good path even if some of it was a little scary (to me). There were more stunning waterfalls and no people to be seen, only deer (some alive, some dead).
Eventually we made it down to Barrisdale bothy (not an MBA one) about 7. There were quite a few people camping here and no-one staying in the bothy itself which we thought was a bit odd until we had a look at the rooms - the ceiling was covered in damp mould and there was rubbish under the bunks as well as some sort of unidentified turd on the floor of the toilet. Nevertheless, we stayed in the bothy so that we didn't have to worry so much about packing in the morning, so we could get and stay dry (my feet again particularly) and I thought we might as well make the most of them when we found them. Not to mention to save any issues that might arise with Dave's back.
Time on our feet: 7.30 to 7, 11.5 hrs
Distance covered: about 21km