About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Thursday, 20 August 2015


We woke up fine and refreshed in Dalwhinnie bunkhouse on day 6 and it wasnt even raining, thats just wrong.

 Yesterday had been a bit of a ball buster and that combined with a big tasty meal, a couple of drinks and a toasty room had knocked us out about 3 seconds after finishing doing our dhobi and hanging stuff up.

First thing to fix this morning was Susans blisters, which seemed to have feet growing out of them, needles, tape and compeed soon patched her up as good as it was going to be, next on the agenda was a full Scottish, food of the Gods and hikers, it didn't disappoint, I really can't recommend the bunkhouse any more, fantastic hospitality and probably saved Susans (and mine) challenge.

Day 6 Dalwhinnie to Inveruglass 17 miles

Agh, the old squad average technique, "I think we're here ish" fellow challengers preparing for battle, while leaving a bacon softie unattended,  sacrilege...

Bit of an unusual route for us compaired to most passing through Dalwhinnie I suspect,  we were now about to head north again instead of the more traditional east. We were bound for Aviemore to meet our daughter who was driving up from Aberdeen, bearing gifts hopefully (haribo cola bottles and compeed).

The initial plan had been to wander up to Loch Cuaich and then cross country it to Glen Tromie, but being a compassionate kind of guy I reset the satnav for the easier option, via the falls of Truim, then across the A9 to follow Wades (spits loudly) road to Ruthven, hopefully getting a bivi spot somewhere about Loch na Failean.

We left Dalwhinnie and dawdled along on the back (wades) road to the falls,  it was very quiet and easy going, although a bit strange not being clad in goretex. No rush and no real milage requirements today, just wander along until we get hungry or tired.

 It didn't seem too long until we came to the A9 crossing point, even that frightning prospect was fairly uneventful and previous visions of finishing the challenge as a HGV bumper ornament were thankfully unfulfilled

Wades road was a bit of a revelation,  it started with a few miles through birch, grassland and heather, very pleasant walking and an abundance of wildlife, and then you burst out onto the vast grouse moors to the east of Kingussie.

A Roe sleeping just off the path didn't notice our approach,  until I got a bit cocky

Just about to break out onto the grouse moor

 Monument in remembrance for one of the estate head keepers.

Look no jacket, as an added bonus the day just continued to get warmer.

Huge sky, angry hair

Nearing the end, you have to keep your navigation wits about you, as there's a multitude of tracks crisscrossing here abouts.

A novel idea, I think its known as a bridge, it'll never catch on. Thon Wade fella must have been adverse to wet feet to...

After coming off Wades road, we had another A9 dash and then another 500 meters later, the second crossing was via a handy underpass and came out near Ruthven Bks.

We took a 20 minute break at the barracks, sitting on a handy bench in the sun, allowing the feet some fresh air, so far it had been a cracking day and we only had about two miles to go to the spot i hoped to call home for the night.

We started walking again and soon came across the Badenoch way,  I hadn't planned to use it (but then I hadn't planned to come this way at all tbh), but it seemed like a good idea, and so we started to follow it. Soon enough I told Suz that we were at our rough area of exploitation for the day, but she insisted she was feeling good and we were plodding along just fine so lets keep on going.

The Badenoch Way came back to the road at Tromie bridge, I remember being here years ago, sitting on the bridge and watching salmon after salmon louping around in the river below, sadly today there was no sign of the fish

We kept to the "way", soon passing through Drumguish, after the village we decided to call it a day and bivi up, a wee bit of a chill in the air now and hunger decreed it was time to put up the hoose for the evening.

Unfortunately there were no suitable spots at all and very little running water anywhere. It wasn't until we passed Inveruglass that a decent patch appeared just off the track in the middle of nowhere. Tent up, water collected and scoff scoffed we settled down to the nightly blister fixing sesh, just as an irate farmer appeared to let us know we "were on private land", I was nice, we stayed...

Day 7 Inveruglass to Aviemore 10 miles

Up, packed and away before 0700, a wee bit of a chilly breeze to ensure we were awake.

Walking down the Badenoch way towards the back of Inch

Another early riser

We crossed the Spey at Kincraig,  it was still earlyish and we weren't having the best of mornings tbh, we were both pretty tired and we had only walked four odd miles at a painfully slow pace.

Our lethargy disapeared when we spotted the coffee sign outside the post office,  mind you every tradesman within the highlands seemed to be going in and out for their morning snack.

We went in and got some bits and pieces of morale (mars, coke, coffee), as we got to the counter we noticed the "hot snack" thing, only 2 sausage rolls and a scabby dried out pasty thing left though. An 8 foot highland joiner had just snaffled one, his two 9 foot mates were just about to fight over the last one when an unamed hungry female hiker used her feminine guile to have it bagged and payed for before they realised they were now left arguing over a minging pasty.

15 minutes sitting on the bench outside with a brew and half a sausage roll each soon brought life back into our weary bodies.

Back on the Badenoch way, from Kincraig,  the first few miles were on a very new looking path, lots of little short sharp hills, but the day was really nice now and the scenery was fantastic.

Around about wester Speybank the path, signed route and map all went to pot, signs pointed one way, obvious path went another and the map wasnt sure, we were on one side of the railway, on a good track while a new path ran on the other side, a bit confused but not overly concerned tbh. We eventually came out in the middle of a holiday park, we did the "pretend we belong here" routine and walked straight through and out the front entrance, nice looking site mind, but bloody huge.

A sharp right took us over the railway and back onto the way again, it seemed to be under construction,  turns out it was, and it wasn't even open yet, can we claim a first?

Whoo hoo, suns out and its Aviemore for lunch, straight to the Roos leap for a monster burger and guinness,  then across the road to book into the Cairngorm,  a good choice, good room, good food and great service.

We'd made it to the middle ish bit,  a lot of hard work but that just made the satisfaction meter rise considerably, 3 days back we were nearly a day behind schedule and flagging badly. Now we were half a day ahead and it was boots off, bergan off and recharge for a few hours (after fixing suz's blisters and doing a washing).

We had a right fine meal in the Cairngorm which was very busy with tourists, locals and challengers all enjoying the evening. We were really bad and stayed up to 2230.

CLICK TO RETURN TO DAY 3, 4 & 5                                             CLICK FOR DAYS 8, 9 & 10


  1. Thoroughly enjoying your adventures! Lovely write up, can feel the highs and the lows (and the pain, very familiar to me...) Looking forward to the next bit.

  2. Yes, we've all been there. Knackered, with sore feet and no motivation and then some joker tells you it's his "private" land.
    Where did you bury the body?