Friday 29 May 2015

TGO Challenge 2015 Day 7 Thurs 14th May

Baileguish to Aviemore  19.9km - 253m ascent - 344m descent

I woke to cloudless skies, any other day I would have relished the day ahead. But I knew I had in the region of 20k to reach Aviemore, my planned overnight stop. A hefty dose of Ibuprofen with breakfast and off I hobbled!...

I passed the mainly demolished farmstead of Corarnstilbeg, where Daffodils were still in full bloom

My vetter had advised me to walk the path/track from Ballintean to Feshiebridge, it was a beautiful section of my Challenge!
Thank you John Donohue!!

Splendid views beside the Feshie of the Western Cairngorms.

I took a break at Feshiebridge. I knew that from here the rest of my day was likely to be on tarmac and hard forest tracks...

I was able to connect together forest tracks. (Some of which like this one were in use)

With some really nice paths.

These brought me to Loch an Eilein, which was like a mirror! Wonderful. I took a few pictures and then sat on a handy seat..... have a proper look at my ankle. I was surprised to see just how swollen and inflamed it had become during the morning. It was burning hot....I knew I had to seek medical advice:-(

I had a welcome ice cream at the visitor centre at Loch an Eilein then set off on the last leg to Aviemore, on the old "Logging Road"
Once into Aviemore I wasted no time in finding the pharmacy (Boots). The pharmacist had a look at the offending ankle and listening to what I thought it might be quickly dismissed my thoughts and said it looked infected and should visit a medical practitioner ASAP.
I was given the address of Aviemore Health Centre, a quick phone call and I had an appointment within half an hour.

This was the first time I had visited a doctor for 27 years!
The doctor was very through, asking me if I had been bitten by anything. I explained I had got a couple of tick bites, (one on my wrist and one on the thigh) but as far as I was aware nothing on my ankle!
I explained that I was walking across Scotland....he said " Your leg needs rest, keep your weight off it, and elevated for at least 48hrs" A further examination followed, he said otherwise I seemed fine...I certainly felt good other than the ankle! He then prescribed a course of antibiotics.
So that was it, my Challenge for 2015 was over:-((

I walked slowly back into Aviemore, sat on a bench in the sun with my leg up. I took the first antibiotic and started to make the phone calls.
Firstly to Challenge Control, I spoke to Alvar who actually seemed more disappointed than me I thought! I don't think it had sunk in with me really. I cancelled my accommodation in Ballater on the Sat night.
Then having purchased some comfort food at the supermarket I went to the station to buy some tickets for my journey home. Tickets purchased it was off to the SYHA for a shower and a feed before putting my leg up...this would be a recurring theme for the next 3 days!
So how did I get the infection?..............The doctor said it only takes a tiny nick in the skin, perhaps something had got in whilst wading a burn? After 3 days or so when the redness was fading somewhat I noticed a tiny red mark. A bite? I never felt anything before the was it a tick? I guess I'll never know 


  1. Hi Al, sorry to hear that you had to cut your TGO crossing short. Plenty of summer months ahead to make up for it.

    I noticed you'd decided not to take your Deschutes Tarp along, I guess due to the weather preceding setting out. I wondered how you'd been getting along with the tarp however ? Have you managed to get out with it much since you bought it ?

  2. Hi John, thanks for your kind thoughts.
    I haven't used it as much as I would have liked. And your right I made a number of gear decisions based on the reports/forecasts shortly before the "off". I wished I'd taken it! The extra space over the Telemark tent would have been welcome.
    I plan to be out this weekend overnite with it..:-)
    Next Challenge I'm on I'll be taking it that's for sure.