Saturday 22 August
Louise had come up with a number of options for today’s walk, and upon learning that Mick and I had never ventured into the Cromdale Hills, the day’s route was settled. David volunteered himself (or was volunteered) for driving duties, so we all sat back and admired the landscape as we were whisked over to a little car park in Strath Avon, on the SE side of the hills.
After a modicum of faffing, and some important boot decisions on Louise’s part, it was declared time for elevenses. Short work was made of the cake and after a modicum of further faffing, off we all went in a generally uphill direction.
The path made itself elusive towards the beallach, and was equally elusive for part of the ridge too. That surprised me as I thought that these hills, which sit so prominently outside of Grantown-on-Spey, would be very well trodden.
“It’s definitely not that way” says Louise
The walking was easy enough along the broad ridge, even if a touch damp in places – particularly for those of us (by which I mean ‘me’) who fail to look where they’re putting their feet…
A huge cairn at a small prominence on the ridge gave us a good spot for lunch (although it would have been better if the leeside wasn’t already occupied by four of the only five people we saw all day), and I must have been concentrating hard on my sandwiches as I completely failed to take a photo of it. Mick did better when we got to the trig point atop Creagan a’Chaise:
And he snapped me near to the jubilee cairn too:
Then Mick and David, who had so patiently walked at a sensible pace all through the ascent suddenly disappeared off into the distance:
We did consider whether to try to attract their attention when we saw them drifting off the line we were supposed to be taking, but came to the conclusion that if they looked back at any point to see where we were then they’d see that we were headed somewhere slightly different. It took a very long time before they looked back!
Eventually (with Louise and I only a tiny bit smug that our line had landed us nicely near the top of the track without any reascent necessary) we all met back up on a track, which took us down to the road, which took us back to our start point. It was warm down there, as it had probably been all day. It had been rather less warm up at 700m (hats, gloves, jumpers and jackets featured).
After a rather unfair game of ‘can we roll the car over’ (unfair because there was only David on the driver’s side, against Louise and Mick on t’other side), David chauffeured us all back again.
An excellent time was had, much chatting done and a Marilyn bagged. The weather stayed fair too, with views all day and with only a few drops of very light rain hitting us on the return leg.
The stats for the day were 10.1 miles with 2000’ of up.