This was a fabulous day. After two long days I decided I would take it easy – not rush off in the morning, walk a bit more slowly than my normal pace (which I discovered is a bit faster than most Challengers), spend time talking to people and stop when I felt like it rather than be driven by my planned route. So, after a substantial breakfast and a bit of shopping in Kingussie, I set off about 10. I met Charles and David, the Dutch pair last seen in Knoydart in the rain. I discovered that had walked from Inverie to the A’Chuil bothy in Glen Dessary (a long way) in truly appalling weather, arriving at 10.30pm. It must have been a bit of an epic – they may not have hills in Holland but these guys are obviously pretty tough.
My first stop was the barracks at Ruthven then forest tracks into Glen Feshie. I met and chatted with various Challengers as we walked up the glen in the spring sunshine, stopped for lunch with Jean and Tony by the Allt Fhearnasdail, crossed the river at Stonetroper and then into the open sun-dappled woodland. I think that I really got into the spirit of the Challenge today, enjoying interesting conversations as well as the landscape.
Arrived at the Ruigh-aiteachain bothy about 3.30 – it’s looking pretty good – with several Challengers already in residence and camped around the bothy. Lots of wood collecting and chopping going on directed by the bothy MO, who I talked with for a while. He was very positive about relationships with the estate, but he was rather disaffected with the MBA, commenting on a 4 by 4 culture and committee members not visiting bothies because they couldn’t drive to them. I don’t know how true these allegations are – but they certainly don’t apply to the only person that I know who is an MBA heid-bummer.
After a coffee and biscuits, I wondered about staying in the bothy but the weather was so nice that I decided to go on a bit and stop when I came to a good pitch. Primroses in the banking and cuckoos in the distance. After negotiating the landslips, I found a wonderful west-facing pitch by the river, under an old Scots pine tree.
I lay in my tent with the doors open, sheltered from the wind and enjoyed the evening sunshine. Life was good.