Route: virtually as planned, camping at NJ 182 253 at a path junction
See http:/www.topwalks.com/tgoc2013.html Day 9 for map
Distance: 26 km (Cum 227)
Ascent: 930 metres (Cum 7740)
Time taken: 8.0 hrs including 0.75 hrs stops
Weather: rain all day; cloud base 200 to 400 metres
People encountered: one jogger, two cow herders and three mountain bikers - all said hello as they sped past
Kinross House proved an excellent place to stay. Jane did our washing and Gary cooked an excellent breakfast. What with a stomach full of gammon from last night as well, I've hardly needed to eat anything during today's walk.
I'm pictured leaving our B&B in light rain. It could only get heavier. It did get heavier.
The walk to Cromdale through Grantown's capercaillie pine woods was lovely. Red squirrels played at chasing goldcrests and blackbirds rummaged for worms, but there was no sign of a capercaillie.
A large group of students was about to launch itself into the Spey as I crossed the bridge into Cromdale. That was probably the best place to be today.
Cromdale has an impressive station but no trains!
A few km along a quiet lane to Wester Rynabailoch softened me up for my crossing of the Hills of Cromdale. A path was marked on my map, linking Wester Rynabailoch with Strath Avon. There was little evidence of such a path on the ground. The ascent to the watershed, through giant clumps of steep heather interspersed with boggy quagmires, in pouring rain, in a cloud, was a little on the tedious side.
After spending two and a half hours on this 6 km section of the day's amble, I was pleased to find tourist facilities in the glen, namely a car park and an information board. These proved a good omen. The walk up to the lofty peak of 'Could Be Anywhere' (aka Carn Daimh) was along good tracks. Some single track mountain bike trails are under construction here - they promise to be challenging.
Near the summit I spotted a suitable camping spot, but with no water on board I continued towards my planned destination a kilometre down the hill in a more open area. But after a while I found a rather peaty water supply so I stocked up and returned to the pitch in the trees.
A deluge in this nice flat spot has failed to flood me out and by the time this report is sent I should have enjoyed a good night's sleep. It's only 8pm but seems to be getting dark! Even the birds have gone quiet!
Thanks for your comments - I've tried to reply to some of them, but the signal here is rather vague.
In particular, thanks Ali for your company over the past couple of days and at Struy. You may have been wise in choosing a route around, rather than over, the Hills of Cromdale on this occasion!
Sent from the descent to Tomnavoulin from Carn Daimh