Ok, so Saturday, 20th June saw 107 people gathering in Grantown on Spey at 10pm to walk along the Dava Way to Forres.
Sunday, 21st June saw Angela, Jo, Nicky, Sally, Babs, Louise and Cathy wearily arriving at Delilah's house at 6.57am.
So, in just less than 9 hours, we covered 24 miles with numerous food, drink and pee stops and a bacon buttie at Dunphail. The first 14 miles were hard going, a steady uphill path that is the bed of a disused railway. You know what's at the bottom of a rail track? I do. It's lumpy, to say the very least. Jo called them chuckies. But in the dark on an overcast night, even with torches, it was a little tricky placing one's feet, so when we finished, the soles of mine felt bruised, although no blisters. (Boots Peppermint foot gel with Arnica is the business, by yesterday afternoon, my feet were completely pain free, yey!)
As we left Dunphail, refreshed and revitalised (I had been dreading this stop, I thought it would be hard to get going again and face another 10 miles) the sun rose and it turned into the most glorious morning, clear blue skies, birds giving it laldy in the trees and sky. It was absolutely beautiful and it was definitely the best part of the walk. Apart from the end. The weather throughout had been near perfect, just warm enough that we weren't sweltering but didn't chill on our frequent breaks. There were a few midgies around, but they only become annoying when we stopped for more than a minute and between us we had gallons of Avon's Skin So Soft, which does appear to be quite effective.
There's no denying it was hard going at times. I had inadvertantly been up since 4.17 am on the Saturday and didn't get to my bed again till around 8.45 am on the Sunday, but I didn't feel exhausted or particularly sore, considering the chuckies. No blisters, so the Brashers are performing well and stand a real chance of getting worn in, at last. Carried my pack and tried to take enough so that the weight would carry it down onto my hips comfortably without taking a heap of stuff I didn't need. Tried.
On the whole, we did all enjoy the experience, even with the tricky bits, (Linda had some cracking blisters by the end, if not half way point) in the end we settled into several smaller groups, spread amongst the 107 starters, so we all walked at a pace we were happy with, which wasn't slow by anyone's standards, but some were pushing on more than others wanted. It all worked out and we had regular regrouping before we all met up again to do the last few miles into Forres. There were 75 finishers in total, so it does feel good to have been one of them.
Well done to all of us!