"Just as well it's a good track and it's easy to pick out a line with the snow around. " I remarked.
" Yeah, we'll be in there in no time." Alex replied. "Two hours walk at the most. GPS and SAT NAV technology has taken all the mystery out these places nowadays. It's no fun anymore."
We set off at a good pace into a wild, bleak area of snowy mountains. It was fairly windy and the falling snow hitting our faces made it hard to see anything as we followed a roaring river into the desolation.
We were also carrying a bag of coal and kindling in for the fire.
After several hard miles a startled barn owl flew up from the wall of a building where it had been sheltering. Barn owls have an Achilles heel in that in order to fly silently at night their feathers are downy but not completely waterproof and they hate rain or heavy snow on them which tends to cling to the down surface and makes flying much harder.
" This must be it." Alex stated proudly. "The Original Secret bothy X. Still undiscovered by the masses!"
It turned out the bold custodians of secret bothy X had taken GPS and SAT NAV technology into account and given a false set of coordinates. We had arrived at secret hovel Y instead. All the glass had long ago departed from the windows, the floors were covered in rubble from collapsed ceilings on the upper level, the place had no doors and a poor dead frozen jackdaw adorned the bedroom. It made "Bleak House" look like a five star hotel. Unknown scampering things scampered in the rafters.
As we were completely spent, no other building had been observed nearby, and as it was a freezing raging blizzard outside we had no choice but accept our fate and make the best of it. We didn't have the energy to go anywhere else.
John swept the best looking floor of rubbish, (see above) I found a large section of plasterboard upstairs to block the open downstairs window with and then I constructed a makeshift fireplace just out from where the fireplace would have been. Having carried coal and kindling all this way it seemed stupid not to use it... with suitable caution of course as we only wanted a manageable fire that would keep us warm. Just as well we did have a fire as we were all damp after the walk in and the temperature was below freezing outside with a howling snowy wind. It also helped to keep hungry rats at bay.
In the afternoon Gail arrived with her geocaching friend, having had a great time themselves hunting hidden things in a group. Corbett's seemed to be off the menu as both John and Alex were knackered and not in the mood for any more inclines.
" Is there a kipper shop in the town? Gail asked when she met us. " Very strong smell of smoked produce around here. It's usually top quality around this neck of the woods"
She learned the sad truth on the confined journey back....