TGO Challenge Day 1 / Dornie to Camban bothy
The TGO Challenge was upon us and I felt anxious at the task ahead. I said my goodbyes and I was on the train hurtling towards Glasgow. My journey had me sat next to 3 other experienced challengers. I spent a lot of time chatting to Gerry Harbour and we shared a pint at Glasgow Queen Street station which was buzzing with fellow challengers. I was introduced to several people I have plenty of respect for and I felt part of something special. The famous TGO spirit had found me before I even set off !
I met up with my partners in crime, fellow FC hikers Peter Crawford, Paddy Burrows and Gillian Mott, it was great having the gang back together. We took the bus to Dornie from Glasgow Queen Street, be warned £34 for a 5 hour bus journey. When we reached Dornie dusk was upon us and myself and Peter headed for the campsite (£4) to pitch our tents. We spent the evening on the ale at the Dornie Hotel with other fellow challengers.
Morning came and the sun was shining so we headed to the Dornie Hotel to sign out and I met fellow blogger Phil Turner who was heading out into the hills with Andy Howell, I quickly estimated that Phil’s rucksack looked about 3 times lighter than mine….maybe I had packed a little too much.
After signing out we headed in a totally different direction to the other challengers South East and eventually got into the wilds. We followed the River Croe through Kintail Forest, this description amuses me because I did not see a tree all day, pretty worrying when you have to collect wood for your stove. I felt like a tramp picking up cigarette butts as I scavenged the trail for suitable wood. Fear not said Paddy a bothy is always built close to a source of wood and water.
After gaining quite a bit of height we passed a few waterfalls and it was the backdrop of the Five Sisters that kept me amused while we plodded up to Camban bothy. Low and behold the bothy had no trees to collect wood from within 10km of it. But as anybody who knows me will tell you, I am the worlds greatest fire starter and using my immense bush craft skills I managed to get a roaring fire going in the bothy using a few twigs, some cotton wool and Peters unwanted underpants(he was furiously trying to lighten his pack weight and spare clothing was being burnt).
This was my first night in a bothy and I was quite surprised, places like this in England usually get passed off as bunk houses were they charge you for the pleasure of staying a night. A few shots of whisky and the crackling of the fire saw me off to sleep despite Paddy’s claims that the beast of the glen was going to rape me in the night.