Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Year’s Eve walk

I had set myself a little goal earlier in the year which I’d thought would be quite easily attainable. After quite a few unexpected, unavoidable and unfortunate set backs I found myself  under a little pressure to complete. Saturday was earmarked as a good day to complete, no one was working or needed a lift and we had no other plans. However, since Christmas I had been trying to cough one lung up at a time and had a sore throat and ribs. The forecast was not inviting and when I woke up to quite gusty conditions I came over all feak and weeble and cried off. As the day wore on and there was sunshine and blue skies I started to regret my decisions, but after accidently nodding off for a couple of hours, I thought it had probably been the right decision.
My last chance to complete was Monday, so a plan was hatched and come hell or high water, we'd be walking.
The sensible thing would obviously be to stay close to home as less travelling would ensure more daylight hours for walking. Also, if we positioned ourselves on the north side of any hills, they would afford us some protection from any grim conditions. A return to Revack it was then, and one offspring was persuaded to join us on this great occasion, enticed by the promise of a donkey…
We arrived slightly later than intended after accidently sleeping in a while, but were soon on our way about 11.40 am. We set off from the car park, up the slightly muddy track to the view point, which gave a great view of the weather. We didn’t hang around as it was a bit breezy, although not a cold one.

The weather from the view point

Beating a hasty retreat from the view point!

We took the clear track that winds its way to the trees and down to join a forestry path, then headed off on the meandering path towards Nethybridge. It’s a mainly clear path, with occasional boggy, muddy patches, but with plenty of shelter. We strolled easily at a pace that didn’t induce any coughing fits, hurrah.
We practiced a little map reading and navigation with Ciara as she is one of the Guides in the D of E group that I am leading for their bronze award. (David will be their Expedition Supervisor whilst I assist him and we’ll look after the Senior Section for their silver expedition too) I wanted to practice how I deliver my training as we’re doing ours in house rather than attending the large training days and Ciara makes a good guinea pig.

Damp in places

But still smiling!
We crossed the area of open ground  near some old lime kilns before climbing the short, steep slope where we re-entered the forestry. It was soon decided that lunch was our next priority and the next sheltered spot would be our picnic site. We didn’t find one, but we did have a shelter with us which was duly deployed over a handy fallen tree which provided surprisingly comfy seating. It was quite snug.

Not a dodgy bridge

Open boggy ground


We weren’t lost
After enjoying our fishy lunch (we had salmon and rocket, Ciara had tuna mayonnaise) we continued on the gently undulating, wandering path through Craigmore Wood, round the back of the Abernethy Outdoor Centre and popped out on to the road by Abernethy Primary School. A short bit of road walking took us up on to the Speyside Way, where we eventually spotted the donkey I had promised Ciara. She couldn’t get close enough to stroke its nose as I had done last time I visited, but it did responded to our calls and walk across the field to get as close as it could in the vain hope of some petting and a carrot. Perhaps he’d been put on a diet.

Little donkey
This is quite a pretty and straightforward stretch of the Way, which was handy as by this time we were starting to lose the light. Oops. Luckily, we’d all brought a head torch, although they didn’t need to be deployed until right at the end of the walk. Normally, when re-joining the road to return to the car park, there’s a 300m dice with danger along the road. This time, I decided to risk the little track straight across the road,as I had my Viewranger GPS with my and could see exactly where we were and where we wanted to be.within a few short minutes we were back at the car, swigging a wee dram of Singleton to celebrate reaching my 1000 mile goal before the end of the year.
Just before the end of the year…
A total of 11.1 miles and 1,431 ft ascent at an average of 2.1 mph.
An absolutely brilliant end to the year with two of my favourite walking partners. A special thank you to TTS without whom I wouldn’t have reached my goal. The Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve walks were essential and perfect. What a complete star x
(Published from my new Netbook. Such fun!)


Gayle said...

Rather more interesting than my last-day-of-the-year-going-to-fall-a-few-miles-short walk. In my defence, it was all but dark by the time I even got the opportunity to get out, which when combined with the horrendous mud-fest that's persisting on all of our local paths, made the village streets and alleyways look like the attractive option.

Louise said...

Apparently, Scotland has come off lighter on the bad weather front than many areas of England, so there was probably far less mud than you have at the moment. Let's just hope May shows some improvement next year! (Although at least the second week was dry last year, if a little warm...)