Day Eight – 10.1 miles
I have a very luxurious night at Newtonmore and sleep really well. Aiming to set off around 9am, I prepare my feet for the day in my new sock liners.
They won’t be a miracle cure today, but they feel lovely and I know the blisters will now stand a chance of starting to heal.
I’ve only a short day planned and the weather is once again dry and sunny. First off, I mooch along to Kingussie. There’s a cycle path all the way, so I don’t have to dodge the traffic.
I am already forming a plan for First Lunch. I’m going to raid the Co-Op in Kingussie and then sit in the park in the sunshine for a break. As I come out of the shop, I hear a cheery shout.
‘Hey, Chrissie! We’re looking for somewhere good for breakfast, have you found anywhere?’
It’s Rupert, who I shared a room with in Fort Augustus.
‘No, I’ve just bought some stuff to eat in the park. Good luck!’
I drink my Coke and eat a whole packet of Jaffa Cake Bars, in the sunshine.
Setting off again, I meet another guy. Apologies, but I can’t remember his name. We walk, and chat, together for about half an hour, before heading off in different directions.
Pottering on in the sunshine, I stop for Second Lunch on the edge of the forest, before picking up the track to take me to Uath Lochan.
My destination for the night is reached mid afternoon. It’s rather pleasant and I find a great spot for the tent right next to the water.
I filter all the water I need for the night, and settle down to a brew or two before evening.
A handful of people wander around the loch – it’s obviously a nice ‘after-work-wind-down’ spot I reckon, but it’s nevertheless still peaceful. I have a good night’s sleep.
Day Nine – 13.5 miles
It rains overnight and is still raining when I wake. I’m glad of my standard routine of collecting all the water I need on an evening, so I don’t have to faff getting any more for breakfast.
I’m sure a sopping wet fly sheet adds about a kilogram of weight to your rucksack!
A route is planned through the forest to take me to Loch Morlich, where I’m meeting up with Geoff and the dogs.
About half a mile down one of the tracks though, I find my way barred by a huge, fallen tree.
It looks problematic but I determine to try and crawl through the branches. Once I get up close though, I can see there’s maybe 3 or 4 more huge, downed trees across the track after this one. Accidental, or on purpose? Not really having a choice, I backtrack, look at the map, and give in. If I go round on the road, it’ll be nearly a mile shorter than my planned route anyway.
I hit a bit of a low point. Everyone’s allowed a low point occasionally.
Trail Magic does exist, though. Just as I round a bend, having eaten First Lunch, a couple of backpackers appear. After my encounter with John Boy the other day, I realise that they probably are Challengers, even though we’re walking in opposite directions.
We stop for a chat. They should be going through the Lairig Ghru, but with the weather being inclement, have plumped for Glen Feshie instead. Hence their southerly route today. And a bit more chat, reveals that one of the guys is a Boxer Nut like me and is using his Challenge as a vehicle for raising money for Boxer Rescue. Coincidence or what!
This all cheers me up enormously, and keeps me going for the rest of the day.
And what a welcome I get at Loch Morlich! Hubby and dogs all greet me as if I’ve been away for months.