I'm not going to drag this out, but, basically, it rained a bit and the sun shone a bit and the Americans wandered off somewhere else, but I found a nice breezy camping spot on a knobble (apols for the technical geographical terms here) just at the entrance to Coire Easach. This is not necessarily where I was supposed to camp but I was damp and knackered and a dehydrated chicken biryani and a significant proportion of my whisky supply was taken to cheer me up a bit. The view was quite nice, though.
Just to say that the pics in this post won't really match the text. This doesn't bother me much and if it bothers you, I have to say that I'm not bothered.
Anyway, the next bit was a bit steep and quite wet in terms of the amount of precipitation precipitating on me, so I didn't take many pics anyway. After several hours of miserable slogging over some peat bogs through countryside which was probably quite pretty, I caught up with Sam and Ali and we splodged together as far as Altbeithe Youth Hostel which was closed. This cheered us up no end. However, the warden appeared and asked us if we'd like some tea. Then a resident appeared with some cakes. And as we shivered in the shelter of the North face of Altbeithe YHA, all seemed better with the world already. No, really.... So it rained some more and I sploshed on till I got to Loch Affric where some lads from somewhere or other were camping on their walk to somewhere else, so I erected JJ's tent by the loch shore and settle in for the night and a substantial amount of the next day. I was waiting for the weather to clear, see? Did it though? Did it buggery. So, wind-assisted, I continued through the afternoon, meeting a soggy Sam Hackett once again, but he put his tent up somewhere short of where I wanted to be and I put mine up on the edge of Glen Morriston. I wasn't bothered at all. Oh no...
Me and Terry pressed on towards Newtonmore, stopping only briefly for a sausage in a bun and some serious tea at the cafe at Laggan. They have a parrot, you know.
Newtonmore provided beer and some posh nosh and the company of Croydon and his daughter. And some shopping/ All was good. I wasn't bothered at all.
And then, in sunshine, I crossed the deep gash , confusingly called Mini-Gaig (translates as "small buff") - confusing as there's another Minigaig not too far away. This one leads the unconcerned hiker into the upper reaches of the River Feshie. Its not very deep here, though. This is quite fabulous countryside and just the kind of place to wander through quite slowly, doing things such as sitting about, snoozing and listening to the river. It presents multiple fine camping places. Far too many camping places to be reasonable, as it happens and if I could be bothered, I'd probably write to somebody to complain that there's too much choice.
Anyway, I camped a mile or so East of Geldie Lodge in a breezy spot before bashing into Braemar for sausage and chips and beer via the tea and choccy biccies at Mar Lodge. Braemar had a lack of sausage and chips, though, in favour of some daft soup but Farquharsan's Bar provided reasonably priced beer and good scoff and, in the end, along with various other Challengers, a good night was had. And in the morning the bothy provided a good breakfast and fast service for the queue of hungry challengers. Other places in the village have sufferred from financial challenges, it seems. And fires...
So, full of a new set of fresh calories, I battered on once more, along by Gelder Shiel bothy and over the hump to Loch Muic, finding a lovely, sheltered camping spot about a mile short of Shielin of Mark bothy, which was my intended destination, but which sometimes can be a bit grim in grim weather. Not that there is any grim weather in Scotland in May. [koff]