We stayed here, at Rothiemurchus campsite, overnight and our walk started after a bus trip a few miles down the road to Glenmore. Here, we had to walk half a mile uphill to the official start, with me moaning all the way, "I'm never going to do this, my pack's making my back sore, if I can't do today, I'll never do tomorrow!" Poor David. Luckily, he ignored me and after re-packing my pack, things settled down. Within half an hour of starting, we'd seen a Golden Eagle!
Please note, flip-flops are not my footwear of choice, neither are they a fashion statement, (they are zebra print, courtesy of David on a lone shopping spree...) but I find them to be invaluble when camping. Shared showers barefoot? I don't think so! At the time of taking this photograph, I had a humdinger of a mid-cycle hormonal headache. I managed to survive till 9pm, but then just had to go to bed. Luckily, it had gone in the morning.
Through the Ryvoan Pass, along Strathnethy to Rynettin, into Abernethy Forest Reserve, to Dell Lodge and onto Nethy Bridge for lunch.
Hill wise, this was the hilliest part of the walk, mostly uphill at that. I was expecting this to be the roughest track as well, but we discovered later, it was relatively easy going.
At Nethy Bridge, we picked up part of the Speyside Way, a popular walk mainly using disused railway. A gentle walk onto Grantown-on-Spey, a typical (Scottish) Victorian spa town.
David was a little blistered and sore at this stage, I felt remarkbly fine considering we'd just walked about 15 miles, but we'd done it at a really steady pace. The fish and chips were incredibly welcome that night!
The next day saw us set off on the Dava Way, a lesser known footpath, again using disused railway. The path started well, but as we got further along it, there were large stretches of huge stone chippings which were really uncomfortable to walk on and there were no ways round it, but we continued on. There were softer patches between which gave respite.
The photograph of me just before we crossed this viaduct was the last we took on this trip. It's at a place called Dunphail, which is in the last 8 mile section of the walk. Just before this was taken, we had been walking up a leafy track through forestry and come across a car parked on the track. I so wish it had been streamed up, it should have been. It was tea time, not even dark!
Anyway, a little further on, the blister on the sole of my foot at the top near my toes, that hadn't given me any grief, suddenly 'burst', (or at least, it felt like it!) It was exruciating and I was devastated to think I'd got so close and failed. Luckily, I am married to 'a man who can', in most situations and he dared to go close enough to my naked foot to strap it up. We could continue!
We made it into the town, just three miles from home, at around 8pm and I was so pleased. Not ecstactic at this point, just sooooo pleased to be close to my hot bath, champagne, curry and bed. It wasn't quite as straight forward as I'd wanted to go the last three miles home, I had proved myself and had no intention of walking any further, but my friend who'd promised a lift was in a restaurant, (!!) and the next bus was just too long a wait, so David treated me to a taxi. Bless!
So, next day, onto Gairloch...