The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday 18 February 2013

Scotland - Day 9 (Grantown-on-Spey)

After yesterday’s exertions, today nearly became a very lazy duvet day. Then I stepped outside of Colin and saw the hard frost and the perfect clear skies. There was no question, we had to go for a walk!

It was 11 by the time we got going (by which time the makings of a lentil stewy thing were in the slow cooker and the makings of a loaf were in the bread-maker, all timed to be ready when we returned), and the direction we chose was upwards.

Tracks led us much of the way to our highpoint of the day, and even where the track should have expired, 600’ below our first top of the day, it continued. However, with it not being marked on the map and with it seeming to go in the wrong direction we didn’t continue along it. Instead we strode out onto the heather.


With a bit of huffing and puffing on my part, we made it to the top of Beinn Mhor and the views were most definitely worth the effort. Alas, the sun was in the wrong place to get a good shot of the glistening white tops of the Cairngorms, but this one (with the sun almost obstructed by Mick’s hand, which made it’s way partially into the shot) does vaguely show what a spectacle we enjoyed:


A little further on was a trig point and next to it a conveniently located fence post upon which the camera was placed for a badly-framed self-timed shot of us, happy in the sunshine:


The ‘I left my jackets at home’ problem has been solved – I managed to sneak out of Louise’s house yesterday wearing her Paramo Velez, and spent a wonderfully comfortable day in it today*.

Two more tops ensued and although the ground was frozen solid with a hard frost in the areas where the sun couldn’t reach, when in the sunshine, it was hard to believe that it was February and that last week we were wading through snow at this height. It was so warm in the sun, with barely a breath of a breeze, that when we had an extended lunch break atop Laggan Hill I didn’t feel the need to add a layer.

Our intended route had seen us following the track down from Laggan Hill, but it didn’t look to be an interesting route, and would have required us to walk a section of the A95.  Instead, we opted to take a straight line off the hill to take a far more direct, and tarmac-free, route back to the campsite.

It may have been a shorter route, but I’m sure that it expended more energy and took more time than the longer track-and-road route would have. It was also far more interesting.

With 7 miles walked with 1500’ of ascent, we were greeted, on our return to Colin, by the glorious smells of a stew and freshly baked bread.


(* I didn’t really steal the jacket and big thanks go to Louise for solving my ‘I’m stupid and forgot my jacket’ problem by the kind loan of her Paramo Velez)



As an aside, we checked the Mountain Weather Information Service forecast tonight. If this outlook proves to be true, then we could be very smug indeed by the end of next week:


1 comment:

  1. Ooo! Just been at the maps looking for a walk for Saturday, this is looking a likely candidate, cheers!

    Nice Velez that ;-)