Day 3: Loch a Garbh bhaid Beag – Ben Dreavie

13.5 miles – overcast but mainly dry until…

Peat bog at the head of the Rhiconich River

You don’t have to like peat bogs to do the Cape Wrath Trail, but you have to be willing to go through them without objecting too much.

This one did it’s best make me unwilling to traverse any more, but just fell short of the mark.

It was a true ‘wilderness day’; apart from one brief road crossing I passed but four people all day and saw no other evidence of civilisation. One of the four asked me whether I was doing the ‘easy route’ or the ‘difficult one’. “The easy one,” Said optimistically; however, after having lunch at the ‘highest point of the day’s travail’ (as I thought) the next four hours took me higher and boggier and slower: “If this is the easy route, what’s the difficult one like?” I wondered. It was truly only twenty minutes before I reached the summit that I realised where I was being led. (Later, when I saw the difficult route on the map, I was so relieved I had gone for the ‘soft option’.

Exhausted, yet exhilarated, the vista suddenly opened before me. I was utterly taken aback; it was as if a voice had spoken, saying: “THIS IS / I AM GREATER THAN YOU; YOU WISHED THIS; BE BOUND BY ALL THAT GOES WITH IT.” But that grandeur; that majesty and greatness has stuck with me: this is what I came for.

I was shattered. I decided to pitch my tent at the first suitable place I could find, by some water, in the lea of the mountain. There was a level, solid bank, by a tiny loch; I got my tent out; and then the heavens opened.

The storm was cataclysmic: the rain torrented both down and up! My down-filled ‘puffy’ was soaked, even though it was under my waterproof jacket. I gaped at the tent in the howling wind: “Will this stand up all night?” In the end I had no choice; I was wet and cold and wet; I had to risk it: once inside I wasn’t coming out.

I prioritised warmth over nutrition. I put on all the dry clothes I still had and dived into my sleeping bag. A nip of whisky, a handful of nuts, and then I huddled into sleep.

The tent did make it through the night, bless it!

Comments (2):

  1. Julia Bevan

    2 June 2022 at 14:48

    Your tent was worth every ££ (or $$) !

  2. Noa

    5 June 2022 at 23:12

    What a magical adventure! I love your story telling and hope you do not have to experience such rain again. Waiting for the next instalment


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