TGO Challenge 2015: Day 7

Dulnain Bothy No 1 to Aviemore

Distance: 26.9km
Ascent: 522m

Day 7click to enlarge

Paul and Wayne were packed before me and their route was slightly different, so they left the bothy before me. The weather was cloudy but it didn’t feel like rain. This is the second time that I’ve walked down the Dulnain and I was looking forward to it. It’s a brilliant walk.

DSC02413 DSC02416 DSC02420 DSC02425River Dulnain

After a kilometre or so, I bumped into Bob and Rose who were packing up in their tent. We had a short conflab, and then I wandered on. There was no real time pressure so I didn’t push myself particularly. I just enjoyed the wonderful scenery.

DSC02429 DSC02430 DSC02434 DSC02435I spotted a what looked like an eagle, but the picture I took came out blurred. Then, just before bothy number two, there was another, wheeling above the river bluff. It must have been there for about three or four minutes and I was able to take a couple of good photos. Magical.

DSC02437 DSC02436Eagle 2Eagle 1Eagle and zooms

By now, almost all the clouds had disappeared and it was developing into a hot day. I pressed on to bothy number three, where I faced a decision: should I cross the river and take the ridge or continue to follow the river and have lunch at the Red Bothy?

DSC02445 DSC02447 DSC02451 DSC02453River Dulnain to Bothy no 3

I decided that lunch at the Red Bothy and the prospect of meeting some other Challengers seemed the preferable option. Between bothy three and the Red Bothy, the Dulnain widens considerably and the going is a bit lumpy and boggy in places. Eventually the path leads to a track to the Red Bothy.

DSC02460 DSC02462 DSC02464 DSC02466The Dulnain to the Red Bothy

At the bothy I met Dave and Graham who were lounging in rocking chairs. Also there was Nicole. Dave and Graham were leaving so I nabbed a rocking chair. Nicole and I had a natter before she headed off. I took my boots and socks off and the sun dried them in a matter of minutes. I lounged around for about an hour before moving on.

DSC02467 DSC02470 DSC02474 DSC02475 DSC02481 DSC02482Red Bothy and Burma Road

I know the Burma Road to Aviemore gets some bad press, but it’s a good track with some fine views. At the top it was a bit breezy but with a wonderful view to the Cairngorms. This was all familiar territory for me as I’d been this way a couple of times before. All that remained was to get down to Aviemore.

DSC02486 DSC02489 DSC02490 DSC02492Burma Road and way to Aviemore

The worst bit to Aviemore is the last mile or so walking on the verge by the road. However, soon enough I was in Aviemore. The first task was to get a lightweight windproof jacket. Foolishly, I’d left mine at home. I bought a cheap(ish) TNF bright yellow one as well as a 100 gas canister.

My original plan was to go to the Coylumbridge camp site, but I really needed to wash and dry my socks. This would be better achieved at a hotel or B&B. I spotted that the Cairngorm Hotel was advertising vacancies so decided to book in there.

After dumping my stuff in the room, I went to Tesco’s for some food shopping and to get something for the Cheese & Wine party the next day. On the way back I spotted Paul and Wayne. They were looking for somewhere to eat. I suggested Roo’s Leap in the station. After taking my shopping back to my room, I joined them for dinner. Wayne ordered the Monster Burger. All credit to him, he finished all of it!

IMG_1428The Monster burger

We had a great time chatting with each other and the locals. Paul had to phone his family and I had some socks to wash, so we didn’t stay too late. All in all, it had been a great day.

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6 thoughts on “TGO Challenge 2015: Day 7”

  1. Nice piece Robin. It was a memorable couple of days (and night) for us too.
    We also saw the Eagle but didn’t manage to get any pictures as it quickly disappeared over a ridge.
    The burger looked BIGGER in real life didn’t it?…We went for the healthy option!!….lol

    1. I really enjoyed your company. In a way, that’s what the Challenge is all about. Meeting strangers and becoming friends. No way could I have eaten that burger!

    1. The weather was either really good or really bad. The good days balanced the bad. However, that’s what backpacking is about. Enjoying the landscape under all conditions.

    1. It was lovely, especially in good weather. And seeing two eagles as well. Thanks for introducing me to the Monadhliath! I want to see some more.

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