We left the security of the youth hostel on the shores of Loch Ossian and followed the well-laid path in the same direction as yesterday. This time, of course, we easily found the memorial stone for Peter Trowell, who died in Loch Ossian, aged 30.
But we had no need of this marker today; we followed the path as it snaked gently along the hillside, allowing us some majestic views of Rannoch Moor. Breathtaking maybe but the path is deceptive: you get the feeling the place you want is just around the corner. Yet it never was. It took several hours of walking before we met the road to Rannoch Station. Carrying a pack today, I was exhausted early on and only the thought of lunch at the tearooms at Rannoch Station kept me going.
Arriving enthusiastically at the tearoom, hungry and with uncomfortable feet we learnt the one thing that was going to haunt us for the entire weekend. You can’t have everything that you want; the tearoom was closed on Fridays! My toes were burning, I was sticky and cold and we only had snacks that didn’t really match my lunchtime criteria of a hot, carb rich lunch. And I already had a craving for carbs, a real craving so grumpy didn’t do justice to how I was feeling.
Walking over the railway track, we sat eating our meagre rations by the side of the track to Glen Coe. We weren’t going to starve but it felt miserable – I wasn’t on holiday to suffer!
We walked in silence, the dark clouds descending rapidly along with the afternoon’s mood. But the scenery was different here through the forest path and slowly, it began to lighten the load. Although not chatty, we walked in a companionable silence, enjoying the changing world around us.
Kilometre after kilometre, we plodded on, trending uphill through the forest. And finally, the forest ended and we were spat out on Rannoch Moor by Loch Laidon.
And then, on the springy, damp plain of moss and boulders, I heard the words that I had been dreading:
“I think we should camp here!” I forced a bright smile; “No, it’s fine, my feet are fine, honestly. Yes, I can walk another 12 km, no problem!”
It was dark and brooding in the skies and my partner insisted it was looking like rain. The tent was released and floated into the breeze like a conquering flag. There were no words. In the most desolate place on earth, I was going to camp.
And whilst eating my rehydrated chilli, I waited for the marauding armies to attack……
For a more detailed description of the walk to Rannoch Station, these are two useful links: