Saturday, 29 January 2011

The scenic route, lead from behind

I know we wanted, as a group of friends that walk together, to take the weight off Angela’s shoulders as she is studying hard. What I do not know is, how on earth did I find myself planning, organising and leading our monthly walks?! Not that I mind, it is, after all, good practice, but it’s nerve wrecking. I don’t mind being responsible for my own temporary disorientation, but I don’t like being responsible for a group. My good friend Sally supported me when I consulted the map and each time confirmed my choice of path, helping to bolster my confidence.

Alison C., Allison W., Angela, Judith, Sally, Sarah and I set off from Dallas Dhu Distillery for what turned out to be a somewhat scenic route through Altyre Woods on a relatively bright, mostly dry day which was actually a shade warmer than expected.

I’m not sure quite where I took the wrong turn, but it didn’t take us too far out of our way and we were soon heading to Clashdhu, bypassing the Dava Way to take us on a wet path above Altyre Burn and bring us out at Craigroy.

SDC11149View over Altyre Woods to the Moray Firth 

SDC11150I like bringing up the rear SDC11151

A snack stop by the Altye Burn

We turned towards Burntack and took the track onto Romach Hill, which first took us steeply up. Sadly, Judith’s ‘inadequate bottom’ started to give significant problems with muscle spasm in her legs and as the path was going to take us away from civilisation in a couple of miles, she felt she should turn back where she could easily reach a road for her husband to collect her. I hope she finds some suitable exercises to return her to full fitness soon.

SDC11152 Looking back towards Craigroy

We continued on to find the dam at the head of Romach Loch, the former reservoir for Forres. I don’t know why I was so surprised to find it still fairly frozen. It was very pretty and eerily quiet, so we had lunch.

SDC11155 Ladies that lunch

SDC11157 Frozen Loch Romach

We were soon on our way, some more up and again, I was fooled by forestry paths on the map not quite matching those on the ground, but we knew we were going in the right direction and carried on, passed Blackhills Farm to bring us out at a former picnic spot we recognised (relief!). We knew exactly how to return to the distillery now without the map, but soon found ourselves another girly down as Sarah took the road into Rafford and the remainder carried on to rejoin the Dava Way.

Alison W. left us at the end of the Dava and the rest carried on, through the houses and past the schools until Alison C., left us, and then there were three. Sally and Angela went to call on a friend for a lift and I phoned home  to arrange collection from the park.

Despite the odd detour, this was a thoroughly enjoyable walk, mainly due to the wonderful company (I really miss the girlies) and good weather conditions. The path finding left a little to be desired, but was overall a success. Could be more tricky when navigating a route without bits I recognise!

I walked 15.7 miles 1495 ft

Angela and Sally walked 15.2 miles 1455 ft

Alison C. walked 15 miles 1442 ft

Alison W. walked 14.7 miles 1399 ft

Sarah walked 13.3 miles 1382 ft

Judith walked 7.63 miles 936 ft

(All figures a bit of guess work)

1 hr 18 mins rest stops

5 hrs 12 mins walking

So, all in all, not a bad day’s walking!


Laura said...

That's a fair distance and looked like a good walk. I expect some of the 'misplacing' was due to a bit of chatting? That's not a problem if you're on your own....unless you talk to yourself like I do....!

Louise said...

It was indeed a fair distance! I blame the misplacement on the forestry, you know how forest paths are for not matching the map, ahem.
And yes, I talk to myself because I'm the only one that listens and gives a sensible reply!