David and I took the three that walk out again yesterday and we returned to a very familiar area, Glen More.
At this time of year, about six years ago (not entirely sure) David and I had a little trip to this area without children. We camped at Coylumbridge, an excellent site with the best toilet block ever. When we got up next morning, there was frost on the tent and it was a decidedly chilly day. We went to park the car near Glenmore Lodge and set off on foot for a little adventure. Little did I know…
We walked along relatively good paths, through sleet, snow and rain, to cross a bridge at what remains of Bynack Stables. Here, we were to take what was described on our route sheet as ‘a vague path’ downstream along the River Nethy. Vague was really non-existent in places, so when we were supposed to cross a dried loch bed ‘when the path peters out’, we missed it and struggled on through heather, bog, jumping streams and it went on and on forever. The best bit was a red deer stag, suddenly appearing on a high point ahead of us and posing for the camera we’d sadly forgotten. It was a little close for comfort considering the time of year, but he was a stag on a mission and had no interest in us.
We struggled on, eventually meeting the path we wanted, crossed a ford before heading into Abernethy Forest. We knew we had another ford to cross and I was horrified when we eventually found it. It was deep and fast, even a Landover would have struggled and after pacing the banks, we decided on a route downstream to cross the footbridge at Forest Lodge, adding roughly three miles to our walk, but we’d have dry feet. However, we met a lady working for the RSPB out for a quick walk before a meeting. After a brief chat, she assured us there was a safe way to cross at the ford, so we followed her down the track again.
“It’s over here,” she explained, as she disappeared up a steep bank and over the top. We followed. “Here it is!” she smiled, pointing to a large tree across the river. Up she hopped and trotted across said tree, closely followed by David. Up I clambered and paused, practicing some deep breathing exercises for a second or two. “You can go on your hand and knees if you like!” was the helpful call from hubby. Bum was my preferred option, although tricky with roots and then branches sticking out all over the place. I had visions of plopping into the raging torrent below and floating downstream.
We made it, followed the Mountain Goat up the opposite bank, across a further stream and up through more undergrowth to rejoin our path. “Please, don’t make yourself late, we know where we are, we’ll be fine!” I panted, desperately trying to gather my wits, and off she trotted.
It was far less eventful after that, but I was seriously flagging by now and every step was just a step too far, this was before I’d really got back into walking seriously. After what seemed like an eternity, Ryvoan Bothy came into view and we knew we were nearly back to the car. We had, by this time, decided another night in the tent was beyond me. My boots were soaking from the bog hopping, I was sore and exhausted from all the holes I’d fallen down and so the Nethybridge Hotel seemed like a very good idea. Oh, the miracle of the mobile phone, within minutes, David had secured a double room with dinner, bed and breakfast. It was starting to get dark by this time, but the lure of a hot bath and a dram spurred me on and we were soon back to the car and on our way to a comfy bed and a hot meal.