We lay in bed listening to it pissing down, after a night of it pissing down, neither of us wanting to acknowledge being awake, but at 8 we realised we had a ton of miles to do. Actually 18, most of it trackless, some of it on super shiny Estate roads made so that rich fat people didn’t have to put any effort into killing deer and getting to remote places like Coignafearn Lodge to pull the trigger. This estate is turning this part of the highlands into a road network. But they also have good points so I’ll try and be balanced later…
So we left at 9 and trogged til 11.30 until our first coffee, at Dalbeg, perhaps the best poop site so far. Maybe the second best with hindsight.
Anyway the morning sort of went: walk bog fog bog fog, watershed walk… but it was beautiful, so many rivers and Rapids and waterfalls and colours. Up Elrick Burn, up trackless glens to watersheds and down the other side, until we reached a truly magnificent new bothy that I think the Estate built. It’s a hexagonal type of thing with a massive wood burning stove in the middle, wooden floors walls and ceilings, and tables and chairs and lots of wood. A magnificently generous thing of the Estate to do. So this is where my politics of the landscape get confused. I guess that the fat people happy to pay for killing dear have paid for this, and that’s quite a thing. Does it justify the roads? No, not in my opinion, but at least they give back. Many don’t and the giving is appreciated. UPDATE: it isn’t a bothy after all but a lodge for trigger happy folk to sup whisky in and get warm; the bothy is the crumbling shed next door!
Oh yes we also had a rather exciting river crossing, our first. We did it good.
I forgot to say that on the way to the magnificent bothy we took a wrong turn they followed a strong looking specimen who turned out to be Strider Nick. Nick is the youngest walker doing the walk and at 23 he seems assured fit and capable. Nick and I were none of these at 23.
Then we met The Prophet of Doom. What a wanker. He filled us with fear about the pathless Glen ahead, stating its dangers all too clearly, and stating our target to be 5 hours away. The map looked good, the glen showing no cliffs/steep drops/multiple crossings and deep pools full of boulders… and so it was, pleasant and safe. We even saw two golden eagles and lots of dear in the deep mist and gloom, which was quite a lovely yet isolating element to travel through.
Anyway if we see the Prophet of Doom again we will tell him he is a tosser.
After 18 miles we hit another older but well equipped Estate bothy and we’re grateful for a roaring fire and a place to dry out and enjoy the evening.
Aviemore tomorrow, 10 miles to go until more beer and clothes washing. We smell.