Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Dusky Track

This post is a 12 page account - probably not something you'd want to commit to without tea and biccies.

Balancing negativity

I fear that if someone else were to read this account of the Dusky Track they might find it negative. But the descriptions are honest (I cannot type with tentative fingers), and necessary to achieve a greater good. Let me explain…

I wanted to do something hard, hard enough to push me to my limits, to see how I’d fare on the ragged edge. We all survived, but now as time rolls on I fear that the lessons from the Dusky Track are slipping from my conscious thought. To relive the experience I need to remember the pain… so the negative parts are here to help me do that. To an extent it reminds me that if I can do the Dusky then most other things are possible, but more importantly it reminds me of an incredible state of mind when it started getting tough – that carries more weight for me than all the negatives the Dusky could ever muster together.

Other wonderful imprints in my mind are Tim, Lea, Benjamin and Tom: four other trampers who set out on the boat with me. I have the Dusky to thank for meeting them. And finally there is the incredible imprint of Fjordland. The track took us deep into the heart of New Zealand’s finest, most impressive bush. It was our home for 9 days and hopefully, with the angles below, it’ll linger in my head for a bit longer…


I dangle over the river. I am completely stuck. The bank had collapsed and now the only thing supporting me are my poles and a small tree which I cling to with all my strength… but the tree is slowly detaching itself from the remains of the overhang.

“20 seconds” I shout back to Tim.

I hear him behind me trying to get over a massive root system towards me.

“15 seconds then I’m going in…” I say desperately, clutching at mud. The bank is vertical and the weight of my pack is slowly sliding me towards the deep waters. We’d been moving fast for six hours, and in the tiredness we were starting to make mistakes.

“I’m coming man, just hold on…”

The Dusky Choice

I’ve done all the big tracks in NZ I want to do, but none of them have pushed me to a limit. Before I leave the country I need something that can break me.

Oz spots it in a Lonely Planet publication of the worlds most remote locations.

The Dusky track is deep in the heart of Fjordland. Billed as the toughest marked route in New Zealand it takes 8-12 days depending on the weather, crosses countless rivers and swamps and cuts over two mountain ranges to the remote Dusky Sound. There are no roads in or out, you have to catch a boat over a lake to the start the track, and then boat out across another lake.

Yep, that’ll do it.


In the society that I am accustomed to, there’s always a lot of choice. So it is no surprise that when you go into the wild there’s a choice you can take with you. Emergency beacons offer the option to quit, if it looks like you’re going to die. Push the button and a satellite scrambles the Search and Rescue who zoom in on your position. At great cost, I should add.

“You’re here for a good time, not a long time, mate”. Steve had handed me the huge oyster, grinning. He told me some numbers to back up the fact that it was one of the biggest oysters in the world. We squat in the back of his fish and chips wagon. During the high tourist season he sells the best fish and chips in the world. But during the quiet season he hunts into the deepest parts of Fjordland and knows his way around it better than most. He has enough knowledge and respect to live out there and I can see from a wild look in his eye that he gets a real buzz off it.

“Some joker pushed the alarm recently just because he broke his shoelace. Wanker. Search and Rescue put their lives on the line for shit like that makes me sick bro. Another bloody tourist getting in over his head. People just don’t know what they’re getting themselves into out there, they don’t know what it’s like till it’s too late. Happens a lot.”

I nodded because I too was a tourist and also been in over my head. But I’d never pushed the button. I also knew that the shoelace break was probably no accident – if you truly want to survive you knot the two broken halves together and continue. But when discomfort saps the will to carry on you look for excuses, any kind of excuse, to choose to push the button and drastically improve your reality.

The Dusky track had been the polar opposite Steve’s attitude: time is hard and long out there - days and days of relentless punishment with little reward. When you’re waist deep in mud, exhausted, out of cooking gas, scraping by on emergency rations with still so far to go the escape button is a horrible itch.

We’d all ignored it out there, or tried to. I’d had to remind myself that I’d made my choice when I signed myself up to the track at the start. After that, the Dusky had been a lesson in endurance and wanting to quit was simply part of that lesson. I was proud that whilst we’d been severely tested to our own limits and beyond, we had all successfully negotiated the need to choose a rescue.

This oyster tastes spectacular. After living on bare necessities for weeks out there, I can see why Steve might run a business which sells the best, freshest nutrition in the world:

“Thanks Steve, that’s like crossing the finish line…”

Boating in

Val is essentially the guardian of the Dusky track. It’s his boat that will take us over the lake to the start of the Dusky. He plays the bagpipes and gets flown all over the world to play them. And if he doesn’t think you can hack the Dusky, he won’t let you on his boat.

And so on a mucky morning at one of Fjordland’s outposts, five of us walk up the jetty and pile our kit into Val’s boat. We are Tim (American), Leia and Benjamin (French), Tom (Pomme) and myself. Despite passing Val’s scrutiny, I’m still nervous. Some of the search and rescue stories I’ve read about on this trail are pretty severe, like “swimming up the track” when it rains. Can that really happen? And if it does, will we cut it?

All aboard, Val looks sideways at us… “You might want to hold on”. He bangs the throttle all the way forward, the engine roars, we pitch up 30 degrees and everybody dives for a handhold to stop from falling over the back. Side waves wash in and we burn through the spray to the start of the track on the other side of the lake.

The Fridge

It took us two days to get up to the first mountain pass, and now the weather's stuck in. Heavy rain means we're trapped for a day. We nick name the hut the fridge. The temperature lingers at 5°C and we wear all available clothes to save energy.

At night it's so cold that I make an insulative hutch out of three matresses and a piece of string. I feel like a Japanese business man on an impractical deadline.

Waving Tri-wires

We wake up at Dusky sound. It took 4 days walking, and one day trapped in a hut, to get here. Instead of a glorious sunrise, we hear heavy rain clattering down on the roof.

“Is anyone else worried?” I murmur from my sleeping bag. Grunts come from the other bags. Everyone else is awake, but fearing the worst. We have committed to the furthest point on the track, and now with this much rainfall we might not be able to get back for a while.

The weather doesn’t even allow us to take the Sound in properly. Getting out of here is the priority now.

The Frenchies head out to look at the track and twenty minutes come back with shaking heads. This doesn’t look good, but Tim and I have to see it for ourselves. We kit up in trepidation.

The track is submerged in a foot of water and we push blindly into pools of mud to make it to the first tri-wire bridge. What was once a gentle river is now a raging torrent, surging half a meter below the bridge. We push over the insane rapids to see more. The other side of the track is completely unrecognisable. We immediately come upon a new obstacle – yesterday it had been a stream, now it’s a river of mountain drain water flooding the entire section. It rains harder. After much debate we get sensible and turn back. This is only going to get worse, and if the rivers rise over the tri-wires we’ll be trapped for God knows how long.

When we get back to the first bridge we realize we’ve made the right decision – in twenty minutes the river has risen another 30 cm and is now brushing against the bottom of the tri-wire. If a tree comes down the bridge will be geography. We hurry across.

Back to the hut for another day of incarceration I split my emergency rations again and set about drying sopping wet wood for heat. It’s cold. We’re all sick of the idea of being trapped again. For every day we spend out here food rations diminish, energy is wasted staying warm and the niggling, irrational worry, that we might not ever make it out, intensifies.

Dream food

As I sit on the long-drop, flies buzzing round my head, I hear a chopper buzz in to Dusky Sound. I miss the event, but Tim tells me about it afterwards. He says that as he saw it come in he was filled with pride as the chopper was a reminder as to how remote our position was, but as a reminder of civilization, after so many days out, he also caught himself thinking: “But I want my cheeseburger nooooooooow…!”

We all dream of our ideal food when we get back into civ. For me it is pie. A New Zealand pie is a rare thing of beauty. We make precise arrangements for all hooking up for pie when we get back to civ. Mine’s going to be steak and cheese with a moccachino as I sit on a bench in the sun, degreased with Cusson’s Imperial Leather soap, my hair still slightly damp from the hot water. And no sandlfies.

Double drop

My leg falls into the slop. I find myself waist-deep in mud again, and the momentum of my pack pushes me forward, pinning my shin against an invisible tree root. I wince in pain and flail out. Every time I screw up my muscles burn and I feel the calories evaporate.

Five meters later exactly the same thing happens, but this time I smack the same shin on a rock. I roar in pain and frustration.

We’re trying to do a 16 hour hike to make up for our lost day trapped at Dusky sound. Knowing the severity of the track, this is pretty mental, but neither Tim or I verbalise it – optimism is the key right now. We’d set off pumped full of adrenaline to take on the monster “double-day”. The weather, unbelievably, had been good and we even managed to save an hour by fording a section of the sound at low tide.

This was one of Dusky’s brief resbites in the whole trip - as we forded the sound we got to dip pack-deep into its waters and for once take in a view and surroundings that were totally breathtaking. She showed us what her colours can look like when she’s in a good mood. It was almost like a look up her skirt.

But we were on a mission - seduction was now not a luxury we could afford to entertain. We took an hour of paradise fording the sound and put it in our heads forever before committing to a motorway pace out.

Our speed was blistering – our incarceration had us well rested - and we made the first 6-8 hour section in only 5 hours, stopping only to for tea and noodles over Lake Roe. We picked up our food depot (yet more weight) and then pushed out again, fuelled on optimism and cashews. Now, after 6 hours at full throttle the mistakes were beginning to show.

“GET UP” I shout at myself, and slowly extricate my legs out of the muck. As the day wears on, balance is hard to maintain and falling over becomes a regular event. Every time my poles take a beating - they snag on tree roots and bend beyond the limits of regular metal under my falling weight, but these Leki’s are made of 7 sheets of laminated alluminium and, incredibly, do not snap. They are a saviour.

The trail opens up as it comes towards a river. I throw myself over a root system, and conserve momentum by jogging down a clear section of the track which runs over the side of the river. But I didn’t have time to check integrity and the track, which overhangs a few meters above the river, collapses. I fall onto a precarious arrangement of walking poles and tree roots, my nose at the level of the track, my feet dangling meters in the air. I feel myself slowly slip downwards towards to the river, powerless…

Fresh choice

I am back, two meters into the supermarket, and confronted with sheer splendor. My feet are rooted to the spot as I look around. Rows and rows of food, wall to wall, surrounding colorful islands of exotic fruit and vegetables, meats and cheeses. And somewhere in here is a bank of chocolate.

Between the aisles I imagine the monstrous infrastructure needed to deliver this stupendous amount of choice. But ethical and sustainability issues to one side, after only 9 days of lentils and mud this place is a genuine paradise.

Pulling each other through

“10 seconds” I think to myself.

“Wait, I’ve got to get safe.” I hear Tim shout from above me. I dig in with everything I can, but only seem to slip faster…

And then I feel him pluck my pack, and my attached body, out of the air and we fall back onto the track. We look down at the water below. That would have really messed up our diaries.

“Cheers buddy…”

Tim’s one of the most hard core trampers I’ve met out here. Web-developer turned pizza chef, he throws pies to sustain hiking around the majesty of Fjordland and he knows this place pretty well now, including a fair bit of off-track. He also has a beard which he’s been growing for 6 months.


His American accent is the perfect medium to fully, and eloquently, express the words “fucking muddy”. During this trip we must have set a new world record for the number of expletives shouted in the bush, but French aside, we have a lot to talk about. It’s a real shame there’s not much of the season left as we both have a lust for getting out into the unmarked jaws of nature. Meanwhile we both agree this is the toughest thing on the map, by far.

We are now 9 hours in, still at full speed – our minds exhausted from the concentration needed to progress through such thick, slippery bush. Every step is critical. The bush relents for a few hundred meters and, now at the top of a valley, we see that the sun is now close to the mountain ridges. A waterfall descends a hundred meters above us before disappearing back into the greenery. We take a break. Taking breaks is a luxury we cannot afford for longer than 5 minutes every hour and a half. I take on a ration of water, dried cereal and the last luxurious square of chocolate. I can feel the sugar quite literally fire up my muscles. The low light casts long shadows over the basin and the two ants struggle on.


Ahead lies an hour of relentless ascent followed by another hour of swamp. Tim and I rotate on point to keep the pace high – we are fighting a war of attrition and whilst conversing in single words to save energy, we keep each other moving. We are a damn good team, I can think of few people to hack this with.

We stand at the edge of the last lake for the day.

“How you doing man?”
“I’m still here.”

I can hear my voice, but it sounds odd, like my body has detached from soul again – which is probably for the best. There’s no more food to sustain it. I am out of water. For the last half hour my mind has become a tiger prowling the bush.

Eventually, after 11 hours of high speed trail bashing, we stagger into the hut. It’s rectilinear architecture feels out of place in all this jungle, but then putting the pack down feels equally weird. It worked, we’ve made up a day. Now our food rations are back on track.  I give my bearded buddy a big, sweaty, muddy hug. We did it – it took a marathon – but we did it. And there’s no way I could have done it without him. Tim Farley I salute you.


Every time we come in from a day on the Dusky we think it can’t get much harder. But each morning we wake to face a bigger challenge, making the last seem routine in comparison.

New we face a mountain pass ascending and descending an altitude of 1000 meters. Normally this would be a pleasure, but our bodies are pretty broken from yesterdays mission, and Tim’s knee is causing him agony. And it’s pissing with rain again.

We haul ourselves up the pass, our pace dwindling. We detach from reality by planning, in miniscule detail what we’ll do when we get back into civilization...

Resbite comes in the form of a crash shelter near the top of the cloudy pass and nutella spread over an OSM bar. Tim’s knee takes a beating down the back of the pass and is deteriorating rapidly. I have no idea how he’s managing to carry on. Poor bastard left his sticks in the car.

Coming in

We see the hut… I mutter to myself to keep focus after a hard day out.

Bag down on decking. Strip off muddy gaitors, hang up, separate feet (clammy and white) from sodden boots. Shut down all nasal breathing to avoid stench. Move fast, sandflies are descending now and they’re starting to bite. Pull wet inner soles out of boots, hang to drain. Pull off outer socks. Pull off inner socks. Twist socks to squeeze out a litre of brown water. Throw in soggy pile. Sandflies attacking face now, brush all exposed skin. Strip rain pants, gloves and jacket, hang up. Grab pack and socks, dive in to the hut, opening and closing the door as fast as possible to keep the sandflies out.

Throw the dry innards of pack onto the bunk, return outside to hang wet pack. Come back in, strip remaining clothes and hang inside (in the vain hope that they might be less wet tomorrow). Dive into thermals. Wrap in dry clothes. Dry feet. Sit. Enjoy the moment, briefly. Don’t stop or you’ll sleep – you’ve still got to cook…

Sandfly on penis

I look down to see a sandfly sitting on my privates. I brush it off and watch a thin trail of blood trickle its way towards the bottom of the long-drop. Bastard.

I had been sitting on the loo for 40 minutes, drifting off in boredom. All I brought with me for evening meals was lentils which have completely blocked me up. In an attempt to get things moving I’ve made cigarettes from note paper and dead leaves.

Tim’s even been kind enough to sacrifice his morning coffee to the cause. It’s getting to the stage where I can’t get any more food in, which, during this much activity, could be really bad.


At the end of a hard day this is the final kick in the balls. I ran out of gas two days ago. I’ve got just enough for an emergency meal, but apart from that I have to cook on wood. I sit, shivering. I need to start a fire but, like at every hut, any firewood is scarce and soaked through.

Tim’s offered me his stove but I won’t take him up on it. This is my lesson.

I muse over some Dusky survival tips:

-         Take extra gas.
-         If they say a walk will take 8-12 days, that means you might be there for 12 days, so bring 12 days worth of food. Don’t average it to 10 days, like we all did.
-         Don’t have any plans for when you need to get out by.
-         Every piece of kit will get tested to breaking point, so make sure it’s the best.
-         Don’t share emergency equipment. Everyone needs their own PLB to account for variations in pace.

Socks in the morning

The hardest part is kitting up in the morning, specifically the bit when I have to put my feet into my cold, sodden socks, and then bind them into my muddy boots whilst getting bitten by sand flies. That bit really sucks.

Motorway pace

Tim and I move up to motorway pace. It’s something which we’ve developed on the Dusky to combat attrition – it’s somewhere between walking and running and the momentum is high enough to get us quickly down the track and throw ourselves over mud sections, streams and wind-fall (click to enlarge photo).

On our 11 hour double-day, I thought about the parallels between motorway pace and business life. These are some notes I’ve made for myself for he next phase of my life.

Motivation: needing to get to the other hut that day really makes sure it happens. Just like deadlines.
Stimulation: coffee makes the world go round, both on the trail and in the office.
Doubling the end goal: when we imagined we had to walk double the normal distance to go we hardly noticed when we’d achieved the normal distance. Distance was all in the mind. Ideal final results in business are worthwhile.
Having a good buddy: someone who can get you out of the shit, rotate with on point to maintain the pace, bounce ideas, share resources and enjoy it with – essential in both walking and business.
Stride: Lengthen your stride and you avoid a significant amount of smaller obstacles (rocks, roots etc). The day-to-day ‘todo-list’ should be made up of big strides to avoid the unnecessary niggles, but not so big that you loose momentum.
Pack momentum: Having a heavy pack is great for momentum to chuck yourself through streams, but generally a pain in the arse to get up mountains. And you need stronger legs to support it. The fewer heavy assets you have in business the faster you can move. Maybe.
Sticks: Walking poles massively increase the ability to maintain balance when tackling obstacles on the trail. During the course of business, it is really helpful to have support from as many points as possible. Seek it out.
Boots: Good ankle support is essential when flying over scree and mud – it prevents injury. Legs and ankles represent your own mechanisms for progress… make sure all your business support mechanisms are strong: communication, transport, IT, IP etc.

There is a pace which everyone moves most efficiently at. It’s a pleasure to find that pace… it feels good.

Entering the zone

I reminisce back to Day 5, the mission to get to the sound...

We’ve been on the trail 5 hours now and thankfully the GPS says we’re only 3 km away from the hut at Dusky Sound – the trip’s prize. But this is the Dusky track and in this last little section mother nature raises a middle finger to us piddly little human beings. Its defences are fully up.

3 km takes 2 hours. We are at a low as we tackle yet more mud pools, fallen trees, steep angled granite bluffs covered in greasy slime, streams, thick bush, knee-breaking descents, missing track markers, rain and always treacherous tree roots ready to put your face in the mud at any opportunity. The Dusky is a beast, ready to mess you up at every turn. It feels like we have woken the Dusky, and it’s turning all the screws.

“F**k you dusky…” Tim and I grimace as the slopes get steeper and rockier.

I go to a new part of my head as I stagger over the obstacles. The Dusky is a game of chance and pain. A crazy advert loops through my mind. Not enough hurt in your life? Need to test some limits? Think you’re tough enough? Try DUSKY. Dusky’ll break you. (Survival not guaranteed – don’t forget your beacon). Call 0800-DUSKY for a free slap in the face and kick in the ass.

My sticks skitter over slippy rocks, boots jamming into cracks, pack swinging under trees and down mud banks…

You think it’s over? You saw the hut on your map and you thought you heard the fat lady didn’t you… hahahaaaa, Dusky ate the fat lady.

I’m past pain now, I don’t know where I am in my head. My mind is completely detached from the body, which just flies me through the bush on autopilot. After an eternity I arrive at the hut but it means nothing.

Tim comes in 5 minutes later. I see it in his eyes too. Our minds are gone. Neither of us really know where.

See no view

“The race is long, and hard, and in the end it’s only with yourself” – Baz Luhrman

Over 9 days we had sunshine on 2 days. We got trapped in the huts twice and when we crossed the two mountain passes we saw nothing. Mostly it rained, but occasionally it snowed.

But this was what I wanted: I wasn’t in it for the views, I wanted to see how I’d fair in the face of adversity. Dusky was grumpy, and he spat a few things our way… maybe not views of the world, but certainly views of ourselves.

In the clutches

I scream in pain and frustration, now blind. It’s our last day.

We are briefly lost in thick bush. I’d pushed too fast past a marker and shot off down a deer track. As we looked around for signs of the track a fern had snapped back and hit me hard in the eye. I’d gritted my teeth and turned around to recover, another fern hitting the other eye, this time scratching the surface of the eyeball.

I double over and try to steady myself. I hear Tim scream in agony. As I slowly regain my vision I see him waist deep in mud. His knee has completely broken down and he’s in a lot of pain as he staggers onto dry ground.

We backtrack for 5 minutes and find the trail again. We restart, our pace redoubled – this is our ninth and last day and if we’re too slow we’re going to miss the boat. A tree trips me up: “FOR F**CKS SAKE – I JUST WANT OUT…” I bellow as I stab the ground with my pole. Mother nature has never pissed me off this much before. Nothing, for that matter, has ever pissed me off this much. I don’t think I’ve ever stabbed the ground, I’m a bit shocked. It’s our own fault – we’re riding against the current. Rushing is a really bad idea in this final section.

Steep, overgrown rockfalls make Tim’s exit a nightmare. I’m on point and every ascent I wince at the amount of pain it’s going to give him. I occasionally hear shouting behind me. I don’t know how he’s been able to make it this far, he’s made of tough stuff. He can barely bed his leg, and is double stepping every stride uphill.

After five hours we break out onto a road. It’s the first we’ve seen in nine days. We have 40 minutes to catch the boat which is 4 km away. That’s a fast walk.

So Dusky

We arrive in the port, our reflections a state. We’ve made the boat! We’re out!!! Today we’ll be back in civilization – it’s going to be like being in Disneyland!!!!!! YAHOOOO!!!

A waiting tour boat has beer on it. But the captain won’t sell us any thanks to a license issue. I try every trick in the book, but to no avail. That’s just “so dusky”, the final little “screw you guys”… we laugh about it.

A tour bus drops some day-trippers next to us before the boat leaves and I marvel at their clean clothes and day packs. I trade my kingdom for a cigarette and burst into hysterical laughter when a kind lady asks “was it muddy?”. I didn’t mean to be rude, but it was really funny.

Sun on a boat

So that was it. I can’t really get my head around it. I’m on a boat and already surrounded by the luxuries of technology. Seats, hot water on tap for coffees. Carpet.

Of course it’s sunny now.

I sit on the deck and wonder about it all. Readjusting after this one’s going to be fun. It always is, coming in from the bush, but after this one I imagine I’ll be a little different for a while.

It is fun. Getting into Tim’s car and playing amazing music all the way back to Te Anau. Checking into a YHA. Having that shower, drinking that beer, sleeping in that bed.

Oh, and the pie the next morning. Christ that was good.

But I couldn’t help chewing on one of the Dusky’s insights. Whilst it had always been clear to me that science had previously been used as a tool to understand where we came from, I have recently become convinced that the initial conception was from a completely different motivation. I believe that science was originally born to secure comfort, to gain advantage over the elements, thus creating the luxury of free time: time in which to enjoy that comfort. And when that time was created the science of survival was extended to, well, further discovery. Science was now a toy which could be played whilst well fed and in the comfort of a sustainable home.

As our earth becomes more and more crowded science must once again take the stage and solve the problem of diminishing resources. How we’ll get to do that in a capital based society I don’t know. We need to take lessons from the wild again. In the wild, money means nothing. In true survival, gold spits uselessness in your face. There is a deficit in the value of resources and the sooner capitalism reflects this (perhaps with harsher taxation?) the better it will be for our future generations. It certainly doesn’t make any economic sense, but we work in a monetary framework - the sooner to buy our way back into the value of the planet, the longer it will be able to support us.

Thanks Dusky.


  1. Even prepped with tea that was still epic mate. While there are a lot of comments that can be made, and a lot said that can be discussed at length at a suitable time I will stick to the one point closest to my heart: Fucking knees - Tim, I feel your pain.

  2. Fuck, that's amazing. Proud of you.

    Have you had any Thesiger moments since you got back, standing in a ballroom in white tie, sipping a martini, wanting to tear the skin off civilisation?

    Or does seeing what's underneath make the surface more remarkable?

  3. Wow, that was quite a heavy trip... I can't begin to imagine how insightful it must be, being with nature in all its might. Full power man, what you guys did was full power!

  4. @Chris: Yeah, shoulda said tea and a five course meal really eh ;-)

    @elle: tHANSK!

    As for civilisation's skin, I am lucky to re-imerse in NZ... there's virtually no bullshit here that Thesiger had to put up with (cravates etc.) - becuase people here are much more in tune.

    Damn goota dash, BUT will return

    @noahdecoco I sorry I'm getting a big fluffy tiger shoved in my face... wait.. YES! Ful;l power - GIVE IT HEAPS!!! You're a long time dead as they say from where I came from

  5. love your work! conquered the dusky with father and brother in 2006 ... a couple of years earlier we started from your finishing end and my dads boot literally tore the sole off 2 hrs in.... we walked out and then the seaplane and chopper could not get us into the dusky sound the next day (weather and snow / pilot reckons we would not have got over the pass anyway). we returned couple of years later, choppered in and loved it - definitely "relentless" / mud / rain / remote / swearing / f..king hard / bonding ... we got lost once following 'foot prints' in mud - unless it was a ninja it had two toes (deer). couple of bad falls.... not for the amateur this one!

  6. Nice Story Back in 1967 live in duskey before new hut was built .Stayed nin a tin shack by the spey river We were there (4 guys) for 6 weeks pegging out the track.Got lost twice :) had an earthquake,Storm brought a limb from a beech tree on our hut cut the radio areial squashed the rear of our dingy but in all had a great time.Revisited and walked the full track in 76 I'd love to go back Well done mate you made it
    F Jenkins