Sunday, 22 May 2016
TGO Challenge 2016 - Day 9 - Grantown-On-Spey to Tomintoul (Argyle Guest House - NJ 169 186 - 345 metres)
Route: exactly as planned
Distance: 28 km (Cum: 203)
Ascent: 950 metres (Cum: 6850)
Time taken: 9.5 hrs including breaks
Weather: showery morning, sunny afternoon
Dry feet. It's great to have them. Despite even more bogs and groughs today, our relatively new Scarpas (bought last year with Patagonia in mind, but it wasn't wet there) kept our tootsies perfectly dry. Great.
The morning started with a woodland and riverside walk. We saw no capercaillie, just a few fishermen waist deep in the River Spey, and some canoeists. When it started to rain the fishermen drove off in their BMWs and the canoeists got out and stood under a tree!
Bugle lined the riverside path.
Two cafés were signed in Cromdale. We found neither. Then it stopped raining and we enjoyed a perfect brew on some nicely mown grass at the end of someone's driveway.
It was soon time to mosey on up to the knife edge ridge of the Hills of Cromdale. On the way we saw a red squirrel and a kite, probably red, a buzzard, and lots of curlew, lapwings and oystercatchers, to name but a few. Underfoot, the cloudberry carpet on the upper slopes took a battering.
After many more on/off delays with the waterproofs we wound our way round from a distinctive tall cairn to the main summit of Creagan a' Chaise (722 metres), where an even bigger cairn greeted us with some well earned shelter from the persistent wind.
We used the opportunity to wolf down some pork pies, egg and cress sandwiches, and a packet of crisps. What, no fish!
Down a slithery hill past lots of empty cartridges to Glen Lochy and a second lunch (more eggs and a fruit yoghurt) put us in good spirits for the scenic countryside stroll to Tomintoul. The route featured an entertaining suspension footbridge and finished on a very pleasant footpath with sunny views in good light.
No other walkers were seen today. Our contact with Challengers was restricted to text messaging and 'social media'. We were sorry to hear that JJ had retreated to Timperley due to a sick relative, but Alistair, Heather, Sue O and Markus all seem to be enjoying themselves.
Dianne and Steve at Argyle Guest House were welcoming. We have another very big room. The meal at the Clockhouse Restaurant was very good. It should have been - the chef used to cook for Charles and Diana when (in aeons past) they spent time at Balmoral.
Slideshow for the Day
Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.
Next Day - Day 10