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.
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.
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.
There was nature too. We saw
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.
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.
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.