I woke to one of those rare mornings of sunshine,a midge dispelling breeze and a lovely dry tent. An utterly perfect start to the day.
Apparently I was following an old drove road for the first part of the day.
An easy track through interesting scenery to start with,but unfortunately as the valley narrowed the ground became very boggy with fallen trees to navigate. Definitely not pleasant with a rucksack.
Bridges and wooden footways had been put in, but sometimes they were not in the right places now.
This was the day of the toads. A few big ones, but hundreds of tiny finger nail sized ones.
When I reached the steep sides of the Cnoc An Duin hillfort,I climbed up on a very rough path. The plan was to cut a big chunk out of the route by going overland to meet the end of a track going up the next valley.
I’m glad I went right to the top,as the views were well worth it and I could see where I had to aim for.
Coming down was as hard as going up and the sun was now quite hot. I had acquired an enthusiastic hoard of buzzing flies which were irritating to say the least and had the impertinence to keep landing on my face. Oh for a bush hat with corks around the brim.
Much to my relief after clambering through a great deal of rough terrain,I found myself at the gate leading to the track.
This was a very empty place, walked by only a very few people recently. There were more deer hoofprints than human footprints.
On reaching the other end I was now in Morangie forest, which was waymarked with cycle trails and well used by people. By all rights things should have been easy from here, but this was where I went totally wrong.
Tracks on my map did not match those on the ground. There was nothing to see apart from trees,so I had no idea where I was. In the end I resorted to my compass.
The track I ended up on lasted forever.On reflection,I think I must have gone the longest way round a big hill, but there were no side tracks. Finally after around 4 miles,I could see what looked like water through the branches.
And then the Forestry Commission, bless them, decided to put in a viewpoint with a picnic table. In the middle of nowhere. Thankfully I could see the Dornoch Firth bridge and my campsite,but it was a very long way down with no direct path.
I got out almost where I had intended, by accident more than by judgement. I have no desire to walk in forestry for a very long time, and a certain brand of well known whisky has another association for me now.