The Mighty Corriayairck Pass – wow what a day!

26 05 2009

It started innocuously enough at 11:30 with a re-stock of supplies in Fort Augustus. Then off we went. The first track off the main road was narrow and steep. It soon became wider and extremely steep! In fact it wasn’t long before we were all pushing. And so the climb went on, ride a bit, push a bit… But slowly we made progress and the views back down the valley were awesome.

me mighty passWhilst it did rain on and off (reaching 50mph on the top:ED), there were plenty of dry spells. We decided to make a proper lunch with super noodles and as the heavens opened, clamity struck…. we’d forgotten the water purifier!! Arghh, we had the rest of the day and a night in the bothy to survive without any running water. What were we going to do?

A team pow-wow reviewed our options: turn back, ration ourselves to the water left in our camelbaks, boil water from the stream. We decided collectively that 2 mins of boiling water from the stream was okay for consuming (thanks to an article Lisa had read by Ray Mears-update: a rolling boil apparently is enough). So we went about fetching water and heating it up for lunch. Boy the proper stop was well appreciated as we huddled under a make-shift shelter using Lisa & Rick’s tarp.

So with spirits lifted, we started the last pull to the top. I have to confess to walking most of it. The trailer makes it SO difficult and not only was it steep, it was loose and rocky too. It’s galling to see a climb you can do normally but knowing you can’t ‘cos it’s twice as hard lugging a gurt rick mighty passbig trailer behind you. But at 4:15pm we reached the summit of 780m – hurrah! Well done everyone!

Thank heavens for the strong tail wind that pushed us over the crest. Then it was downhill. The steep switchbacks were badly eroded and impossible (for me) to ride. But they only lasted a short while and soon we were pelting downhill. Rocky in places, challenging in places and lot and lots of fun. And there was the bothy!!! Set in a beautiful high valley, woods either side, a few patches of snow on the tops. Big vistas, hills sweeping up on each side, our double track and a river winding through. That’s where you find us now.

Unpacked, beds made, re-clothed, fire going, poo-shovel used, wine open (yes, Rich lugged a whole bottle of wine over the pass), dinner on the go – hurrah x2. The bothy is a bit scrubby and smelly but the walls are super thick. There’s a nice wooden sleeping area upstairs and best of all, there’s a view out to a herd of red deer from the tiny window! bothy warm up

The weather raged outside all night while we sat snuggled by the fire and watched the moon and scudding clouds, this was a wild adventure of every description – all delivered upon us in a heap in one day.  Wonder what tomorrow will bring?… Donna




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