Cape Wrath Trek Day 5
A beautiful early start to this day and I was back to walking in shorts for the first time since day 1. A nice easy 5km walk to Oykel Bridge and back to civilisation temporarily. The sun was shining and I was looking forward to the rest of this day. A nice walk up Strath Oykel to my camp somewhere around Loch Ailsh was the plan for the rest of this day.
Unfortunately these are the last of my photos due to the weather conditions which were about to hit me hard. The rain had started only a couple of kms after leaving Oykel Bridge, just light showers to begin with, quickly passing and allowing a little sun to get through before the next burst of rain would start.
My knee which I had hurt on day 2 had been not too bad since. I could still feel a little pain throughout the week, but was able to minimize it by changing my gait and by the effective use of walking poles. By the end of this day though, both my knees were hurting bad. I blame it partly on the hard road/track surface for most of this day, but also due to my footwear. Since switching to a more lightweight approach to the hills, I have been using running shoes for most of my outings, but elected to use my boots for this trip. I have noticed whilst using the running shoes that my legs and especially ankles have strengthened in different ways and for the better. I used to get recurring tendon injuries in my thighs which have completely disappeared since, but now I could feel the old familiar twinge beginning in my upper thigh.
Loch Ailsh was eventually reached and the road was followed around Benmore Lodge. I headed for the edge of the forest, looking for a sheltered pitch for that night. The forest however is sitka spruce; tightly packed trees with multiple branches growing only inches from the ground. These forests provide great shelter, but no room for tarp pitching. I did eventually find a spot on top of a small hill at the edge of the forest, which protected me on 2 sides from the increasing wind.
I haven’t had much practise at putting up my tarp in, ‘low to ground’ sheltered configurations, so I struggled for some time to get it right, especially with the wind changing direction more than a couple of times and forcing me to change the set-up. But I did get there and was very pleased with the result. A very stable pitch, which didn’t really move at all during the coming storm and I was able to sleep not too bad for a few short hours.
26km today which started out so well although ending fairly miserably tbh.