Day 5: The Corriehaille hydro scheme rough tracks are followed all the way to Contin where the trail joins the ‘Strathpuffer’ forest cycle trails to the historic Little Garve Bridge and onwards via forest trail to Inchbae.
Day 6: It’s into really remote mountains now, following an ancient drove trail all the way to Oykel Bridge and Rosehall.
It’s a very clear and so very cold night in Contin but I slept better than in Killin, having swapped sleeping bags with Malwinki. Strange that I’m the fat one, but sleep cold, whereas she’s usually too warm. We pack up and then backtrack to the Contin Store again to get water and who could resist more food and another coffee? Then it’s back through where we camped and into the forest proper. We make a little detour to check out Rogie Falls…
We rode on to Inchbae Lodge, the ATM’s Day 5 finish point, where we stopped for a sit-down lunch in their warm conservatory out back. Burgers and a pint of Golden Cow from Strathcarron Brewery as well as some hearty rolls (ie. egg and hashbrowns) to take away.
There’s no big climbs through here, it’s just a long gradual gradient upwards following the water along Gleann Mor. We pass through the Alladale Wilderness Reserve and head on to Croick where we stopped to explore the Croick Church and look at the signatures etched into the windows by farmers displaced during the Highland Clearances.
I’m not wearing my sunglasses and my eyes get slammed with some bugs during the fast forest descent towards Oykel Bridge. We head to the Oykel Bridge Hotel, knowing it will be closed, having earlier rung them to ask about booking a room. I use an outside tap to try and wash the bugs out of my eye and then we try the old ‘get your partner to jam her finger in your eye’ trick, but no dice, so we push quickly on along the A837 looking at other establishments along the way until we get to the Achness Hotel. It has lovely flat grassy areas outside and I’m immediately thinking of asking them if we can camp the night outside (Desperation Face: Engaged). The staff are lovely and we order some drinks and ask about the camping situation. They’re totally cool with it providing we order a main meal. That was going to happen regardless, so I’m stoked. They also open early enough that we can grab a nice breakfast as well. So, we finish our drinks, clean bugs out of eyeballs, clean ourselves up then set the tent up next to the pub before sitting down to a lovely dinner beside their fireplace! Now THIS is camping 🙂
While using ‘the facilites’ I spot one of these little critters on my thigh. It’s a tick and we expected to encounter some so we came prepared with tick tweezers. It’s so small I have to actually take a photo of it to confirm it’s a tick and which way it’s pointing. Performing my first ever Tickgetoffme procedure is a little pinchy as I probably grabbed more skin than tick but it seems clean so all good.
After eating ALL their apple pie (and Malwinki’s huge cheesecake) as well as some more pints and a few drams we are all set to dive into the tent. It’s pissing down now and there’s only one small tent door so we run to it one at a time and have a pretty decent nights sleep. I think it stayed about 10C all night so it was quite toasty.