May 15th. Clune farm to Aviemore

Dawn

Knowing it was going to be a warm day I tried to get an early start. Managed to leave at 7.30. The gas lasted just long enough to boil my water for my muslei and a small cup of tea, thank goodness. After close examination of the map I decided on a small variation to the start of the route. Longer but gentler slope, and no need to take to the heather.

The cherry trees were coming into blossom at the farms houses along the road.

After s while I left the road and followed a track to the ridge.

All went well and in about 2 hours I was at the top looking south to the Cairngorms and tomorrow’s challenge.

My knees started complaining shortly before the top so I fed them a couple of Tylenol and they quietened down. However they really liked it when I took to the heather parallel to the track on the way down. Nice a springy underfoot.

Once of the mountain proper began the long slog to Aviemore. Two highlights along the way. Firstly a small holding that would delight Sophie, with a similar selection of bantams, guinea fowl, doves, etc. However no turkeys, sheep or alpacas.

No body at home but I took the liberty of filling my water bladder at their outside tap. I don’t think I was the first as there was a handful of loose change on the sill above the tap. Yes I did add to it.

Next was a nice old bridge

I thought of taking the ford, but decided against it.

Next, many k on, was a superb Ford with stepping stones.

I took the opportunity to give my feet a long cooling which they really enjoyed.

For the final, long, approach to Aviemore, I again deviated from the planned route, keeping much lower, avoiding, so I hoped, more than occasional trips up the mountain side. It meant I was close against the main road, but I thought it a worthwhile compromise as the going was generally quite nice.

On this stretch I also got a good view of tomorrow’s challenge. Up that valley! Still less energetic than going over the top.

Aviemore is a long drawn out community. It seemed to take forever to get to the centre of town, not helped by the fact that I ran out of water about 3 k out, and it was hot. It was a 4 L day till then. Still a nice gelato in the centre of town restored by equilibrium.

After the gelato I continued thru town and out the other side to the hotel. Booked in, took delivery of our resupply package, showered, heaven, sorted and reseated the package, courtesy of the receptionist, and walked back into town to repost it, comfortably beating the 5.30 deadline.

Then beer, pick up supplies for tomorrow, a steak, and then back to the hotel to write this.

An early night is planned.

Fitbit: 42133 steps, 33.7k, 1830 vertical feet, 5633 calories.

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