We had a few time constraints yesterday, as ever, because it was Conall’s parents’ evening, so we decided we’d go for a nice stroll rather than an adventure up Geal-Charn Mor. The daypacks duly packed and boots slung into the, er, boot, and we were off to Rothiemurchus for a saunter from Coylumbridge, round Loch an Eilein and Loch Gamhna, stop for an ice cream at the little shop and back via Achnagoichan.
It was a nice day, quite warm and a slight breeze, just a little overcast to start. We made our way down forested tracks towards the Cairngorm Footbridge, just so that we could vary the in and out route a little.
We soon took a right turn and set out on more good tracks by heather and scrub with views of a little snow still on the tops of the Cairngorm Mountains.
I was delighted to hear my first cuckoo of the year, I’m sure I’ll be sick of them by the time I reach Montrose in a few weeks time… We soon joined the path around Loch an Eilein and the great hoards of people tittering around in their high heels and armed with handbags. To escape, I like to take in Loch Gamhna as well, because the tourists tend to find this too hard. Off we went into relative peace and, despite having done this walk a couple of times, it occurred to me as I forded a stream that I was not perhaps where I had intended to be. Obviously, me taking the lead and David having the map was not bright, but it was easy to see where I’d missed a right fork. We couldn’t be bothered to turn back, so found a route that would take us in a wide loop to the top of the small loch and back onto the main path. The advantage was not meeting yet more people for a while, the disadvantage was now time. We sped along that track as I was so determined to eat my wrap and have an ice cream at the shop!
The return route gave better views of the mountains in front of us as it is slightly higher.
In the end, my aimless stroll with mindless navigation turned into a bit of a training romp of 12 miles, 961 ft total ascent, 4 hours walking and 40 minutes resting. (Roughly. Not all our gadgets agreed on this, I know we were walking at about 3 miles an hour most of the time and did around 12 miles, but something somewhere is not adding up because I also know what time we started and finished. Unless I can’t tell the time…)