It must be about four and a half years since I joined Angela and the Girlies for a Girly Walk, so after having bumped into a few of the girls over a short period of time, I decided somebody was trying to send me a message and that I should join them again. So I sent a message to Angela to include me on the walks email list, and she did. I immediately realised Laura might enjoy these walks too, so arranged for her to meet us at Huntly’s Cave near Grantown-on-Spey to join us last Sunday for a walk to be led by Judith.
I quickly realised I’d done the start of this walk before, as we set off north along the Dava Way, then took a turning off along tracks towards Upper Derraid, then by minor roads to Lower Derraid before taking tracks again to Garthkeen, Home Farm and Castle Grant. We then suffered a minor navigational misplacement as the required track was completely ignored and the wrong one taken, leading us to a dead end. There was some conferring, during which time Laura and I decided the best option was probably to follow the fence line across the field, cross the fence at the bottom and then take a short yomp through a narrow strip of woodland to reach the road.
Setting off along the Dava Way from the Huntly’s Cave path
Looking towards the Cairngorms
Towards the Cairngorms, again
Lovely estate features
Despite the barbed wire, this plan worked well and we were soon dropped onto our intended route. Off we went again, in search of the road to the bridge, only according to Judith’s map, we would be able to take a track through the woods instead. This worked well, until the track in our direction was blocked by a fallen tree and the path routed in the apparently the wrong direction. We tried to follow what remained of our path, but it became and more indistinct until we decided to give up take another quick yomp through trees and over rough ground in the vague direction required. We popped out onto a road, nearly went the wrong way, then found the track we wanted was not only gated, but had an electric fence across it too. we took a chance, there was some limbo-ing, commando crawling and hopping involved but eventually, we arrived at the bridge over the Spey to pick up the Speyside Way.
Part of the purpose of this walk had been to get to Cromdale so that Alison could complete her circuit of The Moray Way. Cromdale is an easy stroll from this point, where we were able to take our lunch stop in the shelter by the football pitch, although I had to throw myself at the mercy of the group that were vacating the Cromdale Outdoor Centre to use the facilities as the PCs were locked up.
After a good break, we elected to follow the road back to meet the Speyside Way again at the bridge and follow it into Grantown. There, we accidentally fell in to the coffee shop where the someone had the Wrong Hot Chocolate, someone else had the Wrong Coffee, and someone else had a Missing Hot Chocolate. I got my Mocha though, so that was okay.
Towards the Cromdales
We like bringing up the rear…
To avoid a lengthy detour to return to the Dava Way, we decided to walk along the road a bit, then take the track back towards Castle Grant, noticing as we passed the initial path we should have taken the first time we’d been through the grounds. This time, we got the right path to take us back to join the Dava Way as it meanders through the woodland to the point where we could leave it to return to the cars above Huntly’s Cave. There were no further incidents or accidents, nothing to be seen, no one fell over or anything like that. Nothing happened at all.
Roughly 16.9 miles, 1578 ft total ascent with lots of breaks and pauses and chatting and fun.
It was good to be back.