I had two hills on the agenda today, but I knew from the outset that this was the day of the plan that was flawed. To do both hills, go shopping and arrive at Coylumbridge campsite ahead of Mick would have required a 5am start, and there was no way that was happening considering how tired I was last night.
So, my hill target for the day became halved and I opted for the longer walk of the two.
It was disappointing to set out with rain gently falling and having not seen a single glimpse of blue sky. I'd seen a number of forecasts last night and this morning and every single one said it was going to be sunny and calm over the whole of the UK today.
The rain turned out to be one of a few passing showers, each so short and light that waterproofs were not required.
As for the hill, it was another very fast and easy striding-out job, as a track led me the whole way from Colin to within paces of the summit.
Unfortunately, the hill itself was a bit of a let-down by comparison to all of the others I've walked in the last week. I think I've been spoilt by a run of spectacular surroundings. This one was grouse moorland and whilst not offensive, it had nothing particular to recommend it.
The descent somehow felt longer than the ascent, but was again speedy, and within 2 hours of setting out I was back at Colin, where I opened his door to an overwhelming smell of dead deer. The pile of wet socks and my sodden boots sitting in the passenger foot well were festering nicely. (When I say 'nicely' what I, of course, mean is 'offensively'.)
So quick and easy had my hill been (7.2 miles, 1200') that even after stopping for a spot of shopping in Aviemore, I was too early to arrive at the campsite, so I parked up in the car park of the Rothiemurchus Centre for a cup of tea. Twenty minutes later along came a Challenger, who I invited in for a cup of tea. He gratefully accepted: it was Mick.
He'd had a late start today. It turns out that whilst I was awake worrying about mad axe murderers on Monday night, he was awake due to the wind. Even after an early night last night (incredibly, he was the only person at the Red Shed) he overslept this morning. A good job really, or he would have been in Aviemore by half past nine!
Having heard about his adventures of the last 3 days (featuring a magnificent glen, buffeting winds, difficult water crossings, man-eating bogs and lots of rain) I threw him back out to continue his last mile up the road, soon overtaking him as I made my way to the campsite.
Whilst the blue sky never did materialise, except in tiny patches, it has been dry since mid-morning, so at least today when Connie Competition was put out to dry that's exactly what she did.
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