I don’t really know where to start telling you about this day, there were good parts at the beginning and a good part at the end and then there was a middle section.
Maybe I should try dot points
- We found Peter’s lost beanie, that’s good, actually it’s great because it’s only going to get colder the further on we go and he’s going to need it. He lost it somewhere along our discovery walk shortly after we arrived in Fort William yesterday and this morning we located it in the only place left on our list as we retraced our steps.
- We managed to catch the bus that was taking us to our starting point with only seconds to spare, that was good.
- Though rain was forecast the temperature was very mild, I wore short sleeves all day, that was good.
- We saw some very spectacular scenery today, each time we think “it can’t get better than this” and then it does, thats very good.
- We found the Great Glen Way our walking track, we even found the GGW marker, that was good too.
- Our accommodation is a ketch rigged motor yacht, its cosy, warm and secured well to the dock, that is extremely good.
So just before I tell you about some beautiful people we met I’ll tell you the middle of this story.
Yes indeed we found the hiking path it took us through a forest wonderland, it was so beautiful, if you believe in fairies you would expect to see them in this forest. We were walking along Loch Lochy, I told you in my last post about hikers wading through flooded areas, the further into the forest we went the higher the level of the loch. I kept my anxiety levels well in check but my eyes on the water level the whole time.
Further along the path a cyclist approached us from behind, I greeted him and he me, and as he rode past me he called out “are you ready for Storm Callum”? I didn’t hear him well enough to respond but Peter was up ahead, the fellow stopped and repeated “are you ready for Storm Callum?” He then went on to tell us about the coming storm, “expect 80 mile per hour winds”, we should think about our plans tomorrow etc etc. he also told us about the rains of a couple of days ago and how hikers were wading through water knee deep on the path where we were standing. The Loch had burst its banks and then he pointed to the trees still submerged. My anxiety levels were rising.
We chatted a while and then he went on his way and we kept on along the path, skirting around the puddles and moving to higher ground as the water was close to lapping at our feet. Not good.
To shorten this story we reached an impassable point and I know Peter was probably more concerned about me than the level of the water ahead. Too late! Panic had set in and I could not contain it. I could not go any further and we were too far into the hike to go all the way back. The B road was visible from where we were standing, Peter’s concern was to stop me hyperventilating and give me some assurance that all would be well. Moving without obstruction was impossible, water ahead, distance behind and two deer fences between us and the road. Peter managed to separate the first of the fences and I was going to fit through it, I was determined. Crossing the sodden terrain to the next fence was not a simple walk. Decaying tree trunks and branches, carpets of moss and heather, sharp fir saplings, and wild grasses all covering water we could not see.
My darling Peter is my hero! Keeping feet dry was impossible, first his then mine, my fear caused me to lose my footing and overbalancing bottom first onto a sodden patch. Now wet feet and backside!
The second deer fence was not as easy to separate, we were also visible to vehicles driving past therefore we had to be careful creating the gap in the fence. He did it, we slithered through, even the high ground was saturated. He kept saying “it’s an adventure, it’s part of the adventure”, but this was not the type that I cope well with.
The road ahead of us was the B road we initially followed, calibrating our route on Google maps we were off again. The road changed some distance ahead and not in a good way. It was isolated, the route was not clear, it was uphill which was not really an issue, we were probably only 5 miles from our destination, it was just too far, we were on an unknown path headed for another forest, it was too much for me to cope with.
We turned back and as we did, the sun broke through the thick black clouds, this had to be a sign. Peter said we would find transport to take us onward, I’m not sure how because we were in a remote area where even the forestry department post notices to say just that. We walked back about 1 1/2 miles to the solid tarmac road, on the approach Peter noticed a couple looking at one the many war stories dotted along the route. Teresa and Billy are from Liverpool, they were indeed a gift to us today. They could see that I had been in an emotional state and it didn’t take them long to offer to drive us. Billy offered me his coffee, I tried to refused but he insisted “take it, it has sugar in it”. God bless him, though it’s months since I’ve drunk coffee Billy knew it’s the sugar I needed to settle me down.
Billy stopped at Gairlochy to drop Teresa off first, their two sons were waiting for them at the holiday house, she would have liked for us to “stop for a bit” so she could make me a sandwich and a cup of tea but we wanted to get to where we had to go, the storm was starting to come in and I think Billy wanted to get back home as well.
It’s been an adventure for certain, I’ve now met my limits and I don’t want to experience that again nor would Peter like to witness me in a full blown panic. Tomorrow is another day but too many people have warned us about the storm, we won’t be seeing any hikers out there tomorrow, all the tour boat operators have been called back to Inverness it’s too dangerous to be on the water, so we move forward on the bus to Fort Augustus.
We thank God for his gift of Teresa and Billy. For Teresa who told Billy to stop the car when we offered payment for petrol telling us we move forward only if we accept their help and insisted if we are ever in Liverpool we must go and see them ensuring I have all of their contact details.
How blessed are we!
Stay safe my friends, stay away from the water’s edge, keep you feet dry and some pliers in your pocket in case of deer fences.
God bless all of you.