Saturday 14th October: hard times in Cannich

With a stiff westerly blowing the gang assembled at the Maryburgh roundabout. Ken, Dr John, Pilot John (rtd), Katrina, Elvis, Al (who was struggling with ‘man flu’) and myself. After a short debate about the strength/direction of the wind and assured that Bog Cotton’s was “definitely open until the 28th” and we headed towards Cannich.

I was feeling very pleased with myself as I had remembered to bring the Acme Thunderer (ref’s whistle) with me and I was occasionally blowing it to give the group a bit of rotation.

Despite the wind we are currently in the grip of a mild southerly air flow and so shorts were the order of the day and even the shady side of Glen Glass was remarkably warm. Elvis was tuning up for some kind of running race and so he was keen to get home to iron his rhinestone shorts and so he made a break for it at Struy. With Al below par and worrying about how the Gooners would get on against the Mighty Watford, he decided to join him so the Famous Five carried on through the trees with regular cries of “Are we there yet?” as we fought the stiffening wind.

On reaching Cannich we were certainly ready for our coffee. Captain John had already taken orders and decided what type of beans he was going to ask for in his Americano; I was certainly pleased that the others had confirmed that Bog Cotton would be open. You can only imagine our disappointment when we arrived at a distinctly SHUT campsite. After a brief flirtation with the idea of heading further up the glen to Tomich were decided on the Slaters Arms in Cannich, especially as we saw their adverts proudly proclaiming “Food served all day”. Imagine our FURTHER disappointment when that was also shut.

There was nothing for it but the Spar shop. Here we made maximum use of their array of flaky pastry savoury delights along with chocolate brownies and flapjacks all washed down with a variety of coffees and hot chocolate. We were served by a very friendly and patient Aussie lady (apologies to the people in the queue behind us). Thankful for the mild weather, we sat outside and within seconds Katrina had knocked a fair share of her hot chocolate all over the table. Don’t tell me we were going to be asked to leave the only place that was open for miles!! As we settled again, now with a huge supply of napkins to mop spillages, our Aussie friend appeared with my helmet which I had conveniently left nestled in the sweetie counter. The DIY nature of our al fresco dining experience was completed by throwing away the empties, a duty entrusted to Katrina - what could go wrong? “Where are my gloves?” Katrina proclaimed…”er, I think I throw them in the bin!”. With a great display of chivalry, the pride of RRCC stood back and watched her struggle to climb into the bin and shift through the rubbish to reclaim her hand protectors, annoyed that she did it too quickly for us to whip out our phones to get a decent picture.

There is no ‘i’ in team and we played a blinder on the way back up the glen. After a synchronised toilet stop in the verge just opposite someone’s house, there was maximum opportunity for me to use the Thunderer as we took minute turns leading the peloton. It was like watching the Team GB pursuit squad - poetry in motion. Remarkably, we stayed together until Muir of Ord although there was an opportunity for the two John’s to contest the ‘un-contested’ sprint to the Kilmorack 40mph sign. In MoO I departed and went over Dead Legs Road into the teeth of the gale – no teammates left! An entertaining and very enjoyable ride.

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