Day 10 – The Weight of Fear

Sleepily and slowly I started along my Cape Wrath Trail. There isn’t currently a set trail, so my route is the 230 miles that borrows from others and best fits my timescale. I started my route from the monument at Glenfinnan, quickly making my way towards the viaduct.

Road turned into track, which in turn became path, which then alternated between path, sheep trail and bog. The going felt slow but I was confident that I could get there OK. I could already tell why it can take some people three weeks to complete this.

As I approached the forest by Glen Pean there were diversion signs blocking my route. I decided not to ignore the warning on account of my not wanting a tree to fall on me. Then it started to rain. Then I had to walk through a bog full of bitey insects. I’m tired of having midges in my eyes, ears and up my nose. I’m tired of being bitten and being in pain. It seemed like my luck had run out.

As I rounded into Glen Dessarry the wind started to blow. It’s strange how different the weather can be from one glen to another. The wind wasn’t too strong and made it slow going, but if anything it suited me better than the scorching heat.

I passed a sign which more or less said here be dragons and that if you screwed up out here then you’d better be sure you could get yourself out of it. No going back now, I was me alone. That was followed by a sign that said Sourlies Bothy was four hours away. I hoped that sign was wrong. I had hoped to make it to Barisdale tonight.

I thought about all the extra weight I was carrying. Stuff that I don’t really need, like those new trail runners, foam mat and extra water. I should have more faith in my ability to fix things. I suppose I don’t have the weight of a spare phone or emergency personal locator beacon. I’m at least comfortable in my ability to get myself out of trouble. That extra weight that gets carried is just from fear of something going wrong.

My other extra weight issue is that of food. I have something of a rocketfuel problem. I need food to keep going but the extra weight in my pack means I’m moving slower. I’m undecided whether to eat more now or save for later.

As I walked and thought, it started getting late, or at least slightly gloomy. I couldn’t tell the time through the clouds. Perhaps 27 miles was a bit ambitious for a first day back on the trail. Besides, it looks like Sourlies Bothy is about 20 miles along, so more or less on target.

My bog-sodden feet trudged me there, where I was welcomed by four other walkers. They were stopping there for a night before walking on out to a distant pub.

I had hoped to be alone, but it was quite nice having people around. I’d not seem anyone all day. It turned out that one of the people in the bothy is an engineering student at Cambridge; it’s a small world.

I’m drying out, eating and plotting my moves for tomorrow. It looks like if I want to go a reasonable distance and have somewhere bog-free to camp then I’ll have to make up those seven miles tomorrow. It’s going to take an early start, so I’ll make this an early night.