Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
Click for Northbound hike
Drynachan B&B in Invergarry
DS14 Drynachan B&B
DS14 Raging river
Days S1 - S20                                                                 Scottish Highlands
Day S14 - Invergarry to Letterfinlay Lodge 
  Day S13                   Heavy rain on Hobson                        Day S15
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Northbound Home
Friday, March 7, 2008

Time of departure: 8.30 am
Time of arrival: 11.45 am
Place departed: Invergarry, Highland
Place arrived: Letterfinlay Lodge, Highland

Miles: 11
Cum miles: 184.7
Percent complete: 19.0

Bed sign Letterfinlay Lodge Hotel ***
Cost for bed and breakfast: 45 ($90)
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DS14 Loch view
I wrote yesterday's journal, with its derisive remarks about Scotch whisky, before dining with the Robbins at Drynachan B&B in Invergarry. My comments couldn't have been more ill-timed. After a delicious family meal, Neville and Sonia entertained me with a delightful Scotch-tasting, starting with a Tomatin single-malt (inspired by day N49 of my northbound journal), going on to a Dalwhinnie (from day N46), and then other Scotches with names which, in the special circumstances, escape me.

What a memorable occasion! What terrific company, which at this point included Sonia's Mom, Beryl, and the two characterful boxers, Basil and Georgie! I shall not easily forget Drynachan B&B (not to be confused with Drynachan Beag B&B next door).

As former Sotonians (Southampton folks), we reminisced about Sotonian matters of yore. In the morning, after breakfast, and briefly visiting the high-quality wood-turning workshop and gallery that Neville has created, I set out.

No matter how much one hikes, though I'm a comparative novice, it seems there are big lessons to learn. My mistake today was to dress for "normal" rain and not re-dress for "heavy" rain. But then, as often as normal rain turns to heavy rain, it turns to Scottish mist or even sunshine. Unfortunately, it turned to heavy rain today, and I was loathe to stop in the rain (there was no shelter), remove and open my pack, and grab at additional clothing items with wet, cold fingers. After all, my clothes had handled plenty of rain in the past.

I made rapid progress, with very little foot pain. It was just like old times. I decided my boots weren't bad at all, and thought I'd be able to manage the 17-18 miles to Spean Bridge.

But, little by little, the rain - at times, singularly heavy - penetrated my clothing. I will not bore you with the progression of it, but think "wicking process" and think "sweat". Eventually, I was thoroughly wet and cold, even in my boots. A brief peep of blue sky did not last long enough to help. Then the heavy rain resumed. The roads ran with it, the trucks splashed me, the potholes filled with water, the sandy verges turned to mud, and Hobson's spirits descended as fast as the hail pellets which stung the cheeks.

I had passed South Laggan still fairly comfortable, and it was clear why I had found no accommodation there when I planned it to be last night's stop. Loch Lochy youth hostel is for sale, closed for good. Forrest Lodge B&B displayed a no-vacancies sign, but looked closed for winter. Lilac Cottage was not in business despite its sign (as I'd learned on the phone), and one other place now displayed no sign at all and nor had returned phone messages.

I was thoroughly wet a few miles further on when I passed Corriegour Lodge Hotel, but I still kept hoofing. But when I reached the Letterfinlay Lodge Hotel and entered looking for a pub with a fire, instead I found an expensive room with a bath.

Needless to say, it dried up in the afternoon. I took the photos on this page before and after the rain. In the afternoon, I had enough hours to dry my clothes and especially my boots. Wet boots are surely a prescription for blisters and everything else podiatrically evil.

I had covered exactly ten miles, and I figured that wasn't bad in the adverse circumstances. If I can stay dry tomorrow, I need not detour to Spean Bridge at all, but can get back on the GGW (the cycle track actually) and follow the Caledonian Canal to reach Fort William (14 miles) in one day. The Spean Bridge plan had always added miles and forced me on to roads to gain the benefit of the B&Bs there. Oh, how this hike is dominated by accommodation considerations.

But the weather may have lots to do with it, with high winds possible along with rain.
    Day S13                                      2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                           Day S15