We left Bernie, or Bernie left us, I can't remember which, on a bright blue morning which turned out to be even hotter than the previous day and we pushed up a track into the hills and cleverly chose a line of grouse butts to take us up on to a hill (the logic being that grouse shooters hate to walk anywhere and there'd likely be a track even though no such thing was marked on the map. This proved to be the case and we were soon through the rough bits and on to short montane stuff which is incredibly easy to walk on. Also, the contours had stopped, so it was pretty level too. This was almost more fun than a midnight visit from Kylie, which, of course , never happens. (I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky)
And so we passed easily over Carn Coire na h-Easgain and dropped down to the River Dulnain which we paddled across and settled down to brew up. We'd spotted Bernie taking a path a bit further North. Who knows where he was heading? Maybe we'd never see him again.....
A bit later we chanced on the Feithlinn bothy - a lovely spot unmentioned in any guides to bothies as far as I can see. We got out of the sun for a bit then pressed on sweatily . eventually passing through the grounds of Leault Farm where we were interrogated about the provenance of our
And so we passed through a tunnel into Kincraig, which appeared to be closed. So we booked ourselves in at an unmanned hotel and wandered off to Loch Insh where, on the way, we discovered Bernie and went for dinner with him.
In the morning we booked out of the unmanned hotel and, in yet more hoy weather, tramped off to Aviemore for a huge breakfast and some shopping, followed by a lovely, relaxed wander through Rothiemurchus Forest, stopping not very briefly at the Cairngorm Club Footbridge to consume pies, butties and bottles of beer. This TGO Challenge was certainly turning out to be hard work.
And then we found Bernie yet again, brewing up by the burn before we left for Loch Morlich and the Glenmore campsite, which turned out to be noisy. People were shouting at a tent and being told by the tent to go away (words to that effect) This comes as a bit of a culture shock after all that wild camping, or even the more crowded camping in places where Challengers gather and snore the evening away.
Glenmore does have a bar, though and a café with red squirrels doing squirrel stuff next to the café tables. And it's an easy plod into the Cairngorms from here - our destination for tomorrow. There's a radio signal too, but this is unnecessary because there's a bar, obviously.