Day 67: Corryhully – Sourlies Bothy

Sunday, 25/06/2017
Distance: 32,9 km (20,4 mi) for a total of 1871,9 km (1163 mi)

Ascent (ca.): 1105 m (3625 ft)

Weather: Cloudy and showers in the morning, sunny and showers in the afternoon

I packed and left early because I wanted to reach a specific bothy for the night and I knew that this would mean a long day. But the prospect of shortening the next one seemed worth it.

The start was on a good track but soon the first obstacle appeared:

The river didn’t really looked like being fordable here and I was already wondering how to proceed when a bit further up a footbridge caught my attention.

The next river crossing also offered a bridge but the next at least half a dozen major crossings (not counting the smaller streams running over the path regularly) required real fording. And as the rivers weren’t especially narrow and quietly flowing it seemed a good idea to take the usual precautions in addition to rolling up the trousers: opening all straps on the backpack, firmly gripping the walking sticks and walking diagonally against the current. And to say something positive about them: they were … refreshing.

These crossings certainly brought a welcome element of adventure into the otherwise horrific path though. It wasn’t a path, it was a continuous swamp. I just came to think that if Scotland would have as much money as it has water it would be one of the richest countries in the world.

But the worst time of the day was still to come. After the confluence of the rivers Allt a’ Chaorainn and Pean I was led into the worst swamp so far. Two times I sank in leg-deep and only with difficulties I was able to get out again (and not losing my footwear in these efforts). That was the kind of adventure I wasn’t really after.

Fortunately, afterwards the trail improved to a forest track for a while. Passing a bothy, but not the one I was aiming at, I had to decide if I call it a day or head on. I reckoned that the way to the next bothy would take me at least four hours. In fact, with the swamp-wading starting again in the end it took me nearer to six hours to get down to Loch Nevis along the river Finiskaig.

There were already four people in the bothy who had occupied generously every square inch and only reluctantly gave me a bit of room. But finally I was settled as well, glad that I had taken off a bite from next day’s intended stretch. 

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