Day 5: The Wild West!

Today was our last morning at the Tomich hotel. Everyone was quite sad to leave having had a lovely few days there. Our wonderful host Bernard also kindly sponsored us – thanks for your generous contribution towards our total Bernard!

With the dire warnings about the difficulty of the route and the potentially bad weather still ringing in our ears, we nervously boarded the minibus. A short journey and we were back in Glen Affric car park where we had been picked up yesterday.

Our run today would take us through some incredible scenery with difficult paths. To add to the difficulty there was no way Neil could reach us with the minibus, so the entire run was unsupported. We were all stocked up lunch, snacks, drinks and spare clothes in our backpacks. One of the loveliest things is that the water bottles could be relatively empty given the natural flowing spring water we could use along the way.

We set off with waterproof and windproof jackets on to combat the increasing wind. We were initially greeted with an easy-going, wide path which we followed for a good ten miles until we arrived at the most remote youth hostel in the UK for a quick refresh. Thankfully there were a number of plastic chairs stacked outside the hostel, so we setup a make-shift picnic table using a tree stump as a table, and had some food and drink.

Crossing a small bridge next to the helpful signpost of “bridge”, the path started to deteriorate and we realized we were in for a tough day. As we gained height the wind increased in strength giving us a taste of what was to come. We reached a bothy which was our scheduled stop for lunch and we gladly piled in for food and rest. After enjoying our packed lunches, we left the bothy and were greeted by quite ferocious rain and wind.  The path had steadily worsened since the hostel, and after the bothy it got really rough… and we mean really rough! As we climbed up through a pass the wind increased and the rain sporadically lashed horizontally across into our faces. At times, gusts of wind stopped us in our tracks and at one stage even felled the immensely experienced Ben.

The scenery was breathtaking when we had a chance to look. Most of our attention though was focused on the narrow, rocky path and sheer drop at many places. We arrived at a water fall which crossed our path and were amazed to see it literally flowing upwards in the wind! We were relieved as we crested the pass and the path finally started to turn downwards. A long descent followed, the path staying rough and tricky the whole way down until we crossed a bridge to reach the valley floor.

Another break, this time sheltering at the side of an old cottage, then we were on our way again onto a farm track. We followed this for another five miles across the valley floor until we could see houses in the distance and we knew we nearing the end of the day. A couple of turns later and we could see the minibus waiting miles in the distance. A grueling couple of miles followed as the plodded along the road towards the bus, fighting the wind which had fought against us all day. It was a great relief to arrive and get out of the wind, and a hugely satisfying effort.

If you would like to contribute towards our efforts, we would be absolutely thrilled. Please visit our team JustGiving page here: www.justgiving.com/TeamRun100

Miles run: 21
Money raised: £14,153.53 (70% of target)
Orchids spotted by Ben: hundreds
Deer spotted by all of us: 30+

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