For once an early (ish) start and I left the hostel just before 8. I’d resupplied the previous day at the Well of Heads store so my rucksack was heavy again for the walk up through the forest and over the hill to Glen Turret. The forest roads are confusing and the hostel had helpfully left some instructions on how to get to the top. Good views of Loch Lochy on the way.
At the top of the forest, it was up the trackless hillside then across about half a mile of peat hags before the drop down to Glen Turret. By now, the early good weather had closed in and it was misty as I approached the top of the hill. And there was a deer fence. I walked up and down a wee bit to look for a fence or a gate so there was nothing for it but to climb over – not the easiest with a heavy pack but I made it.
A bog flog through the peat hags then a steep descent following the Allt Teanga Bheag. I made a mistake and crossed to the left bank of the burn which meant that I had a slightly hairy crossing of a fast flowing tributory but eventually I reached the track in Glen Turret about 10.30 in improving weather. From there, it was an easy walk to Glen Roy with a good track almost to the bothy at Luib Chonal. Good views of the Falls of Roy.
Luib Chonal bothy is another place with sad memories. Last time I was there for a week-end, more than 30 years ago, my mother suddenly and unexpectedly died. I didn’t find out till I got home on the Sunday evening. I’ve felt a bit strange about going back there since then. But today it sparkled in the sun and I met another very experienced Challenger, Norman, who was just leaving. Norman decided he didn’t like the look of the river and headed upstream to cross. I made a brew and chatted with John who arrived a few minutes later. His partner Colin had gone off to do some hills but he had skipped them to save his injured knee. About 45 minutes later, to our surprise, Norman reappeared, having failed to find a better place to cross. He then went downstream a bit and somewhere managed to get across the river.
I was obviously a wee bit concerned about this and approached the river with some trepidation. It was pretty wide but didn’t seem too deep so I marched through without any problems. The path was pretty boggy but I passed an important milestone today – I crossed the watershed. From now on, the rivers flowed east. Loch Spey – a quite insignificant wee loch is the source of the River Spey. I met up with Norman again – who was having a bad river day. He’s slipped when crossing the Shesgnan Burn and was drying out in the sunshine.
Next stop was Melgarve – a bothy on the Corrieyairack and I called in for a few minutes rest and a snack. There were a few Challengers there, planning to spend the night. I was tempted by the fire but decided to push on to Garva Bridge. Road walking is not the best ending for the day and when I arrived at Garva bridge, there was lots of tents and few good pitches left. So I found a sheltered pitch a bit further on in the woods. It had been quite a long day.