By the start of week two, my food weight on my kit had dropped from 26 pounds to near 13 pounds, making things a bit easier. That was off set slightly when I discovered that I move much slower with alcohol still pumping through my veins.
And so it was quite a task to keep up with Anthony and David (who clearly were less effected by the alcohol and still able to move at our normal fast pace) but we all rolled into Kingussie in fairly good time. Having just posted 300 grams of maps home, Anthony chose to offset the weight difference with a few cans of beer. Ian caught up with us, but dashed off to the train station to make a phone call. With all four of us moving our separate ways soon anyway, the three of us set off foe Ruthven Barracks and onto Tromie bridge. There, david and Anthony would continue further north on the road and part ways a bit later. At the bridge we once again ran into the four yorks. I walked with them until the edge of the Inshriach forest, where they too continued north while I cut through the southern edge of the forest. That track would bring me into Glen Feshie, but not before I ran into two more challengers, a husband and wife team whose names escape me (this may be a reoccuring trend). I left them as they broke for lunch and continued on towards the Feshie.
Once I reached the river I had to face cutting even more munros from my route. My main route took me up the west side of the Cairngorms and to a high level camp at the Wells of Dee. However I made the decision to NOT move up the summits and instead followed the FWA towards the bothy.
In hindsight, this was perhaps the best decision I made. Winds on top of the plateau where I'd planned to camp would have been too strong even to walk in. In addition, my only safety net wed have been to ditch down into the Lairig Ghru and into Corrour Bothy.
Corrour bothy is in fact so small that i've heard with even just 5 people you have your legs hanging out the door. Those who chose to come ever the Lairig Ghru that day got hit so hard with the weather that almost all of them ditch onto the bothy. By nightfall 14 people were holled up in that bothy, including one of the 80 year old challengers, Barbara. With almost no chance (nor desire) to pitch a tent exposed at 600 meters, the "Corrour 14" as they became known must have been sleeping shoulder to shoulder on the floor.
In contrast, there were perhaps 10 of us in Ruighaiteachain Bothy. at 350 meters and among the trees, there were a good amount of people pitched outside as well. The bothy was well stocked with firewood by the Feshie estate so we had a blazing fire all night long. Famed Challenger Jean Turner was there as well, and Anna from Poland.
I wasn't too bummed about missing out on the summits that day. I knew deep down that I made the correct decision, and that the hills would ways be there. Curdled up by the fire with my shoes and socks finally getting dry (a relative term) I had the best sleep in a week.
If you were on the challenge and are reading this, do not hesitate to correct any errors you see. If you have more accurate information or walked/stayed with me, please let me know so I can include that information.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry