Highland Fling: Grumpy in the Glen

28 05 2009

So with the Mighty Corrie conquered we packed lagganeverything up and waved goodbye to the shabby chic of our bothy.  The trail soon turned into a beautifully remote Cairngorm valley road that meandered its way into Laggan: home of the Wolftrax technical singletrack trail and apparently the toughest blackrun in the UK.  The boys wanted a piece of it, the girls decided to save energy, so we split.  Girls getting the shopping in for the next 2 days at the lovely little Laggan Stores (which happened to be run by a very keen cyclist fascinated by our trailers), and the boys heading straight to the trailhead for some adrenaline-fuelled fun.   Everyone’s a winner.

Today’s riding wasn’t difficult by any means; consisting mainly road and firetrack, but my legs were soon feeling spent from the effort of the Mighty Pass yesterday.  Our aim was to wild camp alongside a Loch, where Monarch of the Glen was filmed, and we had 25 miles to cover to get to it.  The rain had started again, gradually getting more and more persistent.  Turning off the road we cycled into the MoG estate, huge country retreat still privately owned by some rock star or www millionaire no doubt, after a quick butchers at the impressive house we headed off up the fireroad hill and then it happened…grumpiness.

 

All of a sudden, I hated cycling with a passion, I hated the wind and the rain,  the hill felt like a mountain, the trailer was too heavy (although only half the weight of Rick’s) and I wanted to stop….NOW !  Being the type of person who wears their heart on their sleeve (ahem!) everyone could tell I was struggling in a big way.   Rich came alongside and asked if I wanted some motivation upmonarch loch the hill “think I’m better off alone, thanks” came the reply.  Knowing I just had to get my head down, count to 10, then 20, then 30 and keep spinning up the hill, and left alone I was.  Miserable and not in a very good place physically or mentally and knowing we had to find & make camp and a meal in what was now very, very wet and windy conditions, was going to be the finish of me. 

 

he manFinally we got to the top and it flattened out but a huge locked gate was barring our entrance to the Loch-side.  No way round it, trailers and bikes were detached and passed over the gate, and weighing 30kgs one decided to land itself right on Rich’s shin bone (ouch!).  After much hopping and swearing we all decided it was time to find our wild camp spot. 

 

Wild Camping Rules:  Flat ground, out of the wind, near fresh running water, beautiful view.  1 out of 4 ain’t bad, we had the water.  First things first, get shelter.  Tarp was deployed; stones gathered, bikes and trees used as tent poles we were now at least out of the wind.  Tents next, check.  Get changed into dry gear, check.  Get meal on, check.  All of a sudden it’s 9.30pm, we’re all knackered and / or cold / wet.  It was still blowing a houlie, spirits were fading fast so off to bed we went.  And sleep well we did (thanks to our feather filled air beds), waking the following morning to the reward for all our efforts.  The view.  (check out this video: http://www.flickr.com/photos/13519914@N00/3515478317/in/set-72157617822125763/)

 

And what a view it was, perfect blue skies, the odd big white fluffy cloud, sun reflecting off the perfectly –Scottish-looking-Loch, mountains all around us.  endura treeIt was just amazing.   Once the view was sufficiently soaked in tasks were dished out and in no time we had brekkie on, sarnies made, tea brewing and clothes drying on the ‘Endura Tree’.  What more could you want?  Thoughts of yesterday’s misery well and truly all gone, it felt good to be alive.

 

Next stage was the journey to our remote highland youth hostel and the odd bit of ‘weather’ to deal with along the way…., Lisa

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