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20: Letterewe

Next morning, the rain has gone (good rain; nice rain - just be there when I'm in my tent and I will be very grateful) and I take breakfast and morning coffee at the lakeside. The sky is clear, and it promises to become a beautiful day. With the cross-country experience from yesterday, I decide to take it easy today - I will walk along the lake to the waterfal at the other end, where the trail down to Letterewe starts at some sort of building indicated on my map, probably some cabin belonging to the estate. This will bring me back towards Kinlochewe much sooner than I expected, but I decide I'm here to enjoy the trip, not to kill myself in an attempt to be able to boast about the number of kilometers I walked.

After packing, I make out for the cabin. The terrain is still heavy, but as it is now at the start of the day instead after a 10km walk, I'm making good progress. By the time I reach wat indeed turns out to be a cabin, the sun is nice and warm and I decide to just spend an hour or so drinking coffee and getting a bit of colour on my face. As I got a bit of water in the tent last night (it was a very cheap tent, and the only reason that I'm putting up with it is that I have spent enough money on outdoor gear last year), I unroll my sleeping mat so it can dry, cook the coffee, and take it with anather cigar on the steps of the cabin. The sun is just wonderful, so I take the full hour before I get up, pack, and leave to find the trail.

Compared to my little cross-country adventure, the trail is a walk in the park. Slopes are gentle, and sooner than I expected I reach the trees around Letterewe Estate. Still not wanting to share all this fun with other human beings (I'm either an egoist or a loner these days, you pick), I turn towards Kinlochewe before I reach the main buildings. After a kilometer or so I manage to lose track of the trail, so I find myself going through the woods along the lake instead of being higher up on the hills. This turns out to be a lucky miss, because it starts to rain quite a bit but the trees protect me from getting the worst of it. The bit that gets through I only notice when sticking out my hand - I'm wearing my Scouting hat, the old broad-rimmed felt model, which provides excellent rain protection.

After a while I decide to try to pick up the trail again. Even in the woods, the surface reminds more of a swamp than anything else so I'm making not a much progress as I'd like (and I am expending quite a bit more energy at it, as well). When I reach the trail, it is dry, and I take a rest sitting on the walls of some old ruins. The map tells me that the trail will enter the forest a bit later, and rain is coming in across the lake, so this is a short break.

The next downpour hits me when I'm not under tree cover so my felt hat gets busy proving its waterproof status. I have to close my jacket which means that the sweat has no way out (the jacket is another item on the "should be replaced but I spent enough in the outdoor shop" list), so I'm getting wet from two sides. Luckily, I find some tree cover and after a couple of minutes, the rain subsides.

My luck with the weather stays with me - no more rain until I reach the planned camping site at the south end of the lake. It is just a couple of kilometers from my bike and I could make it if I want to, but this is a beautilful camp site and I'm too tired to ride a bike responsibly anyway. I set up the tent and do my whisky-and-cigar ritual. However, before I can finish the cigar, rain starts again and I retreat to the tent.

In the tent, I notice a couple of leaking seams. The top seams I work around by using my army model rain cape as an extra roof, but I can't do much about the water seeping up through some pores in the bottom. It doesn't get really bad, but bad enough that I get more stuff wet than I'd like and I decide that the tent needs a seam sealing job or a replacement. With the cape making lots of noise in the wind, it is a night where my sleep is frequently broken, but that's all part of the fun, not?


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