I was going to write something about the replacement of the Fords of Avon Refuge which went on at the weekend.
But that’ll have to wait until I’ve dried out.
With work on the new hut all but finished by Saturday night, the plan was to finish things up on Sunday morning before all heading home. But the promised bad weather struck overnight and by morning three tents were blown down and the rain was coming down in sheets. Time to bail out – especially for those of us who had the long walk down Glen Derry, with concerns about the levels of both the Avon and the Glas Alt Mor.
In fact, the Avon wasn’t too bad; just deep enough for me to be able to stop worrying about getting my feet wet – soaked before I’d moved a hundred yards!
The first half mile after crossing the River Avon is always boggy, but it was particularly wet now and, with nothing left to lose, we very quickly started simply wading through everything.
By the time we reached the high point and started down into Glen Derry the wind was tearing through the pass, at our backs, luckily, but still causing a few staggers which had nothing to do with hangovers or the fact we’d left breakfastless.
A couple of burns across the path, normally passed without noticing, provided real obstacles, not auguring well for the Glas Alt Mor.
And the augurs were right. The Glas Alt Mor was a raging torrent of brown foam, completely uncrossable. That meant turning round and going back on ourselves – face into the wind now, rain blowing so hard it stung – to take the Coire Etchachan path as far as the plank bridge across the Derry Burn. We had to crawl across this on our hands and knees because of the strength of the wind; falling into the water didn’t bear thinking about.
Then it was a long wet trudge down pathless and sodden hillside and riverbank until the Derry Dam when we could regain the path. The rain was still coming down in sheets and until we got lower down the glen the wind was still causing us to stagger. The combination of wind and rain had us all soaked to the skin, head to toe and when one particularly heavy blatter of rain blew over me the amount of water passing me put me in mind of someone throwing a bucket of water over my back.
When at last we reached Derry Lodge and a lift in Lithgae’s jeep we were all shivering with the cold and wet. Glad of the set of dry clothes I had waiting for me in my car, and of our much delayed breakfast – in my case a cup of tea and a bacon roll in Carol’s Hungry Highlander in Braemar.
And after that? Well it was just a case of staying awake until I drove home.
August in Scotland – doncha just love it?
(I’ll put something on about the Fords of Avon Refuge rebuild tomorrow, or through the week.)