Friday, 8 April 2011

Another fine day

Today was a good day to meet up with Laura and take a catch up stroll along part of the Speyside Way from Cromdale. We both arrived early and after a mini-faff (me), we set off on ‘my’ route.
SDC11416Posing as we left the car park (Laura has an equally posed one of me…)
The route was initially along a quiet, slightly uphill, road which gave very pleasant views of the Hills of Cromdale and the ridge we both fancy doing another time.
After a while (chatting), we realised we’d missed my intended turn at Easter Rynaballoch to contour Tom an Uird before rejoining the Speyside Way to return towards Cromdale. We rerouted to take a path from Balnallan, as neither of us like to retrace steps. This was a wriggly little path that also turned out to be a wet, boggy path. My route planning is living up to my damp reputation! There were a couple of handy bridges, but we only needed to cross one of them.
SDC11417 With style
The track was difficult and boggy, we eventually took a leap of faith and crossed it to carry on through the trees, but having embarked on a ‘shortcut’, we were having a little difficulty finding the path again to then meet the Speyside Way. Eventually we found a fence, worked out where we were and decided to risk the wrath of the (shirtless) farmer working at the bottom of the hill by climbing said fence and sneaking around the corner. So glad we did, there was the path, yey!
This section of the SW was a vast improvement on the spur we tackled last November by Tomnavoulin, it was actually really pleasant and the views would have been great, if it hadn’t been for the trees.
SDC11419 Lunch stop on a handy rock
SDC11418 Nice view, no idea which direction
SDC11420 Onwards
There was nature too. We saw
SDC11421 Peacock butterfly
SDC11424and Larch blossom
SDC11422  More pretty views, south east-ish. Maybe
We were eventually followed for a short way by a couple of walkers, but we think they must have been eaten by the killer sheep, because they never reappeared around the corner.
We never caught up with the one legged walker
This part of the SW is obviously along a disused railway and we soon came to the old station at Cromdale. It’s rather pretty, they should have a tea room.
SDC11427Rather pretty
We were, at this point, roughly back at the beginning of the walk, but as we’d only covered about 8 miles and still had some oomph, we extended the walk across the bridge (I nearly got run over) and into the Anagach Wood near Grantown on Spey. This is a really pretty wood, reminiscent of Rothiemurchus or Abernethy Forest, with good paths underfoot and beautiful trees. Sadly, it’s just like any other forestry, the paths on the ground do not match the map the in the hand, but by the miracle of science (Laura’s magical GPS!) we still managed to find the (a…) path to Craigroy. Neither of us fancied our chances of passing through this odd looking place in one piece, they had killer sheep, so we took the faint path that led around the perimeter and eventually ‘dropped’ very elegantly onto a nice track along the bank of the Spey.
SDC11428 Careful does it!
SDC11429 This way would take us to Grantown on Spey
SDC11430 So we went this way!
The Spey looked very high and fast.
The track took us easily back to the bridge and our return to Cromdale was straightforward.
13 miles roughly
957 ft ascent
Not sure of timings, again, my GPS gives up in the trees so I would have to guess, but it was roughly 6.5 hours including rests and faffs and a comfort stop.
I had a wonderful day, strolling through beautiful countryside with easy chatter. Bliss!
Five weeks today, by the way.


Laura said...

You're well ahead of me with the walk description - I haven't even downloaded my photos to the computer yet!
It was a lovely day - pity neither of us took photos of the killer sheep though.......

Louise said...

...too quick for us! They were shifting a bit.

Alan Sloman said...

I remember those Cromdale Hills with a wry smile - I was doing the walk Lord Elpus planned for me - the weather for them was awful, I lost the tracks going up them in a mire of tussock and bog and got very cold and wet.
It was awful, it was, and Lord Elpus read it all in the comfort of his settee drinking fine whiskeys...

Word = "diciest" - it was too!

Louise said...

They look nice from a distance on a clear day. I imagine the view would be good from the top. There'd be an amount of 'up' involved to get there though. Always a drawback.

Andrew W said...

Some people ate taking this Challenge training lark seriously.
I am going to stick to my 1 contour and train on the first 4 days

Andrew W said...

I meant ARE not ATE.

Louise said...

It's ok, I keep lapsing. I haven't moved from the settee for three days and I'm supposed to be conquering the borders at the weekend. Boy, it's gonna hurt!