Monday, 1 October 2012

Getting back into step

Today was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and warm and I had a spring in my step and a smile on my face. David is home, normality has resumed and all is right in my world. The spring in my step was a bit of a surprise, considering yesterday.

Last weekend I’d received an invitation to a belated birthday get together for one of my Girly Walking friends. I hadn’t seen them all for quite a while as David has been down south, but now he’s home this was an ideal opportunity for a catch up so I went along. Whilst there, a forthcoming walk was mentioned and I realised I’m now free to join in again on these regular events, so I decided I would. The plan was vague, at this point only a day, time and meeting place had been arranged but I wasn’t too worried and arrived at the right place at the right time with minutes to spare, enough to don my gaiters.

A riverside walk had been decided, to Logie Steading for a coffee and then a return stroll along the Dava Way, so the seven of us set off in the right general direction, through town to cross the bypass and pick up the path heading  more or less south along the Findhorn. I’ve done some parts of this walk before, but not all, so I was looking forward to the new bits.

It wasn’t long before I realised I’d left a vital bit of equipment at home, so I only have one or two photographs taken on my camera. Not the best, but passable.

At this time of year, some parts of the path are quite overgrown with broom, gorse and grass, but it was mostly beginning to die back and there wasn’t enough to stop progress.It was a gorgeous day, warm with a perfect breeze, although this became a little stronger before we reached home.

We made good time along to Cothall, where there are access issues. It is, I believe, a local solicitor who lives here and several of the paths have been blocked on previous occasions. This has been reported to the access chappy at the council and there have been negotiations to find some sort of an agreement. On this occasion, we decided to sneak along the path we wanted and if challenged, wave our map with marked paths on it. Perhaps not very helpful, but as we weren’t spotted, we got away with it. Obviously overexcited by our success, Angela was soon striding ahead, going the wrong way. Jo and Sally, leading from behind,  shouted and pointed her in the right direction and off we went again.

1349001275018Alison, Angela, Jackie and Rickie striding ahead 

At some time in the woods we found ourselves on a ride through the trees strewn with trees and branches, obviously dumped there during harvesting rather than wind blown. This hampered us a little and there was some discussion as to whether this was the right path, but we pushed on regardless before finally tumbling into the car park at Sluie Walk. This was interesting. We knew where we were, but we shouldn’t have been there! No matter, a path from the back of the car park took us to rejoin the track where we should have been and we walked along a pretty woodland path on the side of the gorge, looking down onto the Findhorn below us. A bit of a precipitous path that is not my favourite sort, but manageable.  There may have been some slipping and sliding on this slightly muddy path, someone’s bum cheek (just one) may have briefly brushed the ground in a hurry, but no damage was done and only everyone noticed.

1349002451027 Jo, Alison, Sally, Jackie, Angela and Ricky (who didn’t want her photograph taken)

Before too long, we reached yet another junction. Another discussion. Down and then some steep up, or gentle up, gentle down and sneak through the gardens in front of The Big House. The latter option was chosen (we’ll be getting walkers a bad name at this rate) and soon found ourselves strolling happily along springy grass paths by the side of a beautiful pond at the bottom of the garden. I’m sure no one noticed, despite our sneaking being perhaps a little less than quiet.

Ah, the Coffee Shop. There were lattes, soya milk cappuccino, hot chocolate and one or two pieces of cake enjoyed along side sandwich sculptures (Sally’s sandwiches were somewhat squished and moulded into an unusual shape), salads and fruit. The obligatory visit to porcelain ensued then we were off again, minus Jackie who wimped out and had planned a lift home from her husband.

We took a route past The Big House to take a track up to the road I wished I’d known about last time I was here as it was much more gentle and there was no traffic. At Peathillock we joined the Dava Way and headed north for home, only stopping briefly for a couple of  breaks en route and we were soon back at the start where I waited for my TTS taxi home.

A thoroughly enjoyable day in excellent company and lots of laughs along the way. I’d forgotten life could be so good!

Roughly speaking (because that’s just the kind of girl I am!) 17 miles, 1369ft total ascent, 2.3 mph average.

Just brilliant. Even if my Achilles (both of them!!) were playing up when we left The Steading after lunch. They settled once we were on level ground again. I should perhaps pay some attention to this niggling little problem.

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