12-Jan-2002 -- A big day today, my first confluence that no-one has yet been to....up at 5am and on the road by 5.15am, it won't be daylight for fully two hours yet.
After a fairly uneventful drive up - stopping briefly at 55N 3W to ascertain who to write to in order to try and get permission to visit - I arrived in the vicinity of the point - some 7.5 hours after leaving home. Yes, it is quite a long way.
The scenery was spectacular, but very exposed, it was cold and windy, with gale force winds forecast for tonight. I found a suitable lay-by to park up in and got togged up for the trek...
....t-shirt, padded shirt, body-warmer, Canadian winter coat. Well, you have to prepare properly don't you! Oh yes, topped off with my Finnish winter gloves!!
I looked in the direction I had to go and was immediately reminded of 37N 121W - another hill with a 45 degree slope, this one again over 500 feet.... From where I had parked it was 2.4 minutes to the CP, or just about 2600m.
I got quite a surprise half way up the hill, a boggy area - how can a hill that steep hold so much water? Anyhow up to the top and off over the fields - or should I say just an extension to the bog on the facing side of the hill.
Twenty minutes later (about 1000m) and I am faced with a fairly dense wood of pine trees. The GPS tells me that the CP is somewhere inside the wood - oh great I thought. Well having come this far, there is no way I am giving up.
I found a wee burn (small stream for our non Scottish viewers) and followed the bank of it into the woods. I soon realised though that I was heading slightly North of East and had to plough deep into the trees. After about 100m I found another stream and started to follow it's course.
After four more forays through the trees I arrived at an open clearing. Aha...now the going will be easier, it was, straight into water that was thigh deep and freezing cold. Funny thing was it was grass when I stepped onto it!
By now I couldn't get any wetter, so onwards I plunged/splashed/paddled and waded. Eventually after 80 minutes I arrived at "the spot", well actually it was 4m away. The actual point was inside the tree cover.
Now normally tree cover obscures the satellites, but as these were pine trees with no real canopy to speak of....well it's worth a try. I crawled into the trees and success!!!
The GPS locked on to the exact spot, altitude was reported at 700 feet. The tree cover did affect the accuracy though, instead of the usual 15-19 feet, it could only lock in to 29 feet. I took the North facing shot - back out through the trees, and then set off back.
When I put the GPS into "trackback" mode I realised that I could probably skirt around the forest. What I then came across I have no explanation for nor can I imagine what it was doing there. Now why would there be what appears to be a lifeguards chair, on its side, in the middle of nowhere? If anyone is interested it is at 54D 59M 59.1S North, 5D 0M 48.5S West, altitude 617 feet.
Anyone care to volunteer any possible explanations?
I got back to the car some two and a half hours after setting off. I had planned to stop at 55N 4W on the way past, but it was already sun down and getting dark so that has to wait for another day.
So how far was it? A round trip of 747 miles and 16 hours.