Day 71: Maol-bhuidhe – Craig

Thursday, 29/06/2017
Distance: 27,7 km (17,2 mi) for a total of 1962,9 km (1219,6 mi)

Ascent (ca.): 890 m (2920 ft)

Weather: Overcast with only occasional rays of sunshine in the morning, continuous rain developing in the early afternoon

Map and trail description agreed that today there were two pathless sections, the first practically from the bothy along the slopes of Beinn Dronaig. It was the expected boggy affair but nothing comparable to the swamps already encountered. What was marked as a simple path soon turned out to be a veritable vehicle track although I wonder who and why should wish to drive there. But with some mud patches even covered with plates obviously somebody does this. The track soon reached Loch Calavie and followed its northern shore.

As I didn’t know how long the second pathless section would take me I tried to make use of this unexpected easy-going track and sped up a bit, nevertheless finding interesting structures along the way like this piece of natural art.

Nearing Bendronaig Lodge things became hideous. The vehicle track was transformed into a broad, dusty construction track where I had to step aside every now and then to let lorries and pickup trucks pass. Obviously there’s some hydro scheme construction going on at the south end of Loch an Laoigh.

The second pathless section of the day was at Bealach Bhearnais and the faint path died exactly where the map indicated this. I knew that I had to keep a higher line gently rising from about 400 m to 600 m to get over the saddle where a good landmark showed the way.

From there it was a walk over into the next valley, there again first keeping a higher line before descending to meet a path coming from nowhere but leading to a river down in the glen. This worked out perfectly. The map also showed that I had to cross the river and even mentioned a bridge, but with the full backpack and my walking sticks I was not eager to take it:

Instead I made use of a fordable place and walked through the river. Here I could pick up a track which would lead me all the way to the river Carron. I checked occasionally the view back and was glad that I was down from the hill as the clouds were coming down and conditions up there certainly deteriorated. Shortly afterwards it even started to rain and didn’t stop till I reached the hostel in Craig. I will have to rethink my route plans I guess. 

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