So, there has been some walking, two days in a row in fact, and both of which were in good company in sunshine and showers.
At somewhat short notice, Mick and Gayle asked if there was a pitch available nearby our house. As luck would have it, the neighbours were away and there was indeed room for Colin on our driveway on Friday night. A rather delightful evening was spent supping a little wine and chatting until well passed Gayle and even my bedtime! Luckily, I had the whole of Saturday to recover from the lack of sleep in time to meet them again on Sunday in Grantown-on-Spey. As it happened, Laura was free too, so she came through to join us for a little stroll from Revack Lodge, a shortened version of the walks I have done from here several times before.
There was much faffing in the car park, involving jackets and GPS, before we were all ready to start the slight incline to the viewpoint. The GPS faff continued at intervals for a short while, Mick, Gayle and David were very patient.
At the viewpoint, we had a view!
The walk was pretty unremarkable, very similar to the way it was previously, but with excellent company, much chatter, a bit of laughter, some rain, some sunshine, a bit of faffing and the odd tick.
We lunched on a small patch of flat grass a little way from our path and hadn’t been sat long before it started to rain. We continued to eat and enjoyed chocolate and ginger flapjack supplied Gayle as it rained gently, but as it become more persistent, we all decided to don full waterproofs and get back to the business of walking.
As the track took us down to the road, the rain stopped. We turned right instead of left to follow the Backharn Way, stopped to remove waterproofs, crossed the road and eventually joined the Speyside Way. Not long after we left The Way, crossed the road an made our way through the woods and back to the car and van. Soon after, we found ourselves in the cafe with hot beverages and cakes, num num num! By the time we popped Mick back to Colin on the campsite, it was time for a cup of tea and a guided tour of Colin, it would have been rude not to, so more chatting and drinking of hot beverages was done before we had to return to collect the weekend worker and cook dinner.
A very pleasant 6.05 miles stroll with around 906 feet total ascent.
On Monday, poor David had to go to work, but I was available to join Mick and Gayle for another short walk, this time locally. They arrived just in time for a cup of tea as a shower went through, and then another one, and another one. We briefly considered alternatives, liking staying in doors! But after an amount of bullying, we found ourselves sitting in Colin at the car park as another shower went through. Must be time for lunch we thought, and so it was.
After an amount of faffing, when I couldn’t faff with my GPS as I found I’d left my mobile at home but faffed with my jackets instead, we left Colin and started our walk. Walking around Altyre Estate is always pleasant and really quite easy, but I’d taken my map just in case and I may have referred to it once or twice, just for reassurance at some of the slightly unfamiliar junctions. We did not go awry.
After a stroll along a country lane, we entered woodland and made our way passed Loch of Blair, although Mick and Gayle would never have known had I not told them, as the view of the loch was almost completely hidden by reeds. We then went off by the Big House that they recognised and struck off on a bit of an adventure as I took a path I hadn’t used before. We avoided The Kennels where the dogs bark and headed off for the ford. I remember a small bridge here before, but it seems to have been completely overgrown and there was no sign of it, so we all got slightly damp feet as we crossed. Some of us may have heaved our sorry carcases up a slight incline to meet the High Path through the forestry at the top of the estate. I never mentioned that the last time I was here, the track was deep in mud and puddles, but this time it was quite a nice path and I chose to keep quiet. We had quite nice views of Findhorn Bay and the Moray Firth through the trees that have really grown since last time!
The view was better than this photo suggests
After a short while of walking through the trees we joined the Dava Way and we were on our way back to Colin.
There has to be a comedy photograph…
We managed to fit in a cake stop shortly before we got back to Colin and as we sat enjoying the view and yummy cake, I spotted a roe deer in field in front of us. Well, I could see it and it wasn’t a duck.
Playing hide and seek with a roe deer
6.68 miles and roughly 442 feet total ascent and I have to say two wonderful days walking with friends even if there was a bit of rain along with the sunshine. Thank you all!