View of Glen Feshie from our tent
Some interesting data for the whole trip
15 mile cycle in, 4h from 14.00 to 18.00 on 2017-04-20 – average 3.8 mph
14 mile walk, 8h30 from 08.40 to 17.10 on 2017-04-21 – average 1.6 mph
15 mile cycle out, 4h30, from 10.45 to 15.15 on 2017-04-22 – average 3.3 mph
Thursday, 20 April 2017
Total climbing: 579 m
Total Time: 04:00:01
9.27 – At our local station
We took our usual train, the 10.36 to Inverness. It wasn’t too busy.
The weather was sunnier than forecast, but there was a cold wind. Throughout the three days, the weather kept changing. We got hail, sun and wind, all in great quantities.
We had lunch on the train: tea, roast chicken, marmalade sandwiches and Mr Kipling’s almond slices.
We arrived at Kingussie at around 13.15. At the station we met an Italian guy that had been travelling for two weeks around Scotland and had only had one day of rain. He was delighted.
Before setting off, we went to the park to rearrange our bags. Simon went to buy water and noticed that the Kingussie deli is now closed. Not the right market, I guess.
I hate it when places live up to their caricature.
We cycled to Glen Feshie past the Ruthven Barracks and along the route we’ve done many times before.
This time, we didn’t see the friendly horses.
14.14 – Heading towards Glen Feshie
The temperature was lovely for riding, but we didn’t see other cyclists on the road.
14.34 – The smooth Glen Feshie road
As we turned towards Glen Feshie, we saw more cars than other times. There was a film crew at the lodge. We think they were shooting a film.
15.23 – View of Glen Feshie
Here we left the road and took the path that goes to the bridge.
15.25 – The first curse: Thy path is kaputt
15.31 – River Feshie from the bridge
I don’t love this path. It’s got large stones every twenty yards or so that make a nasty step, and I have to get off my bike to avoid breaking my neck.
In the end I just walked with Bumblebee. Sometimes easier is better.
15.43 – The dreaded stones along the path
When we got to the end of the path is when the “fun” started.
A few years ago we conquered this eroded part of Glen Feshie for the first time. It was quite a feat.
16.23 – Maria & Mounty on the eroded path *
This time it was even harder. The erosion has taken away more of the path, making it quite steep on both sides of the water.
16.23 – The other side of the eroded path
Taking two bikes and four panniers down one hill and up the other isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it’s worth every pound of lifting.
16.28 – Simon carrying Mounty
I wonder how much more of the hill will be lost next time we do it.
16.31 – Simon pretending to be a mule
16.33 – River Feshie & the eroded hill
Here the path got swallowed by the river. There was no more path.
17.02 – The second curse: thy path is no more
We pushed the bikes through the trees, with Simon doing most of the pushing, and eventually got to the dirt road.
17.08 – Simon pushing Bumblebee through the narrow path
The luxury bothy was being repaired – almost rebuilt –, but the toilet annex was usable.
There was a tent opposite the bothy, so we rode for another half mile until we found a good camping ground.
17.29 – The estate bothy
It was a great spot with awesome views of the glen.
Putting up the tent was fast. Simon then cooked dinner while I inflated the mattresses and took out the sleeping essentials.
19.10 – Simon cheffing with the new Trangia
The water in the stream nearby was glacial, but it tasted great. Doing the washing after dinner was a distinctly chilly affair.
19.29 – Ground level view of the river Feshie
19.34 – Gourmet cheesy pasta with smoked sausage
We slept well with our hats and gloves on, plus the foot warmers. Eventually I had to take my hat off.
Friday, 21 April 2017
Total climbing: 1059 m
Total Time: 08:26:52
We decided to have breakfast on the way. We left the camp at about 8.30 and headed for Mullach Clach a’ Bhlàir – a Munro.
9.08 – On our way to Mullach Clach a’ Bhlàir
Half an hour later we stopped by a big tree and had pulled pork; tongue, ham and cheese sandwiches; and ginger cake. Gosh, that ginger cake’s addictive.
10.00 – View from our breakfast spot
The plan was to climb Mullach Clach a’ Bhlàir and possibly Monadh Mòr, another Munro.
10.41 – The fog thickening
The weather was quite cold and fairly windy, but the forecast was for it to improve.
Walking on the path was easy. It’s not too steep, and not too hard on your feet either.
The cloud lifted a bit at times, and there were pockets of snow here and there.
We made it to the summit without trouble and headed for the second Munro.
11.18 – At the top of Mullach Clach a’ Bhlàir
11.25 – ###
11.59 – One of several fords
We had to ford a few streams. Luckily, we managed to stay dry.
12.40 – Simon contemplating our future
At this point we decided that the second Munro was not a good idea. We were going slower than we’d calculated, and were going to get wet fording this stream.
13.06 – The ford where we turned back
According to the map, there was another non-insignificant ford further on, so we decided to turn back.
It’s hard to give up when you’re a fighter, but it did pay off in the end with some great views.
We had lunch and then continued heading back to the camp.
The weather was improving and the sun was trying to come out.
14.35 – The cloud lifting
We had time to spare, so we turned right at the junction and went up Meall nan Sleac, a Corbett top (NN872943).
15.06 – Heading towards Meall nan Sleac
By now the sun was shinning and we got a fantastic view of Glen Feshie and beyond.
15.26 – Walking on the ridge
16.28 – Panoramic view of Glen Feshie from Meall nan Sleac
The rest of the afternoon and evening was pretty sunny.
17.55 – Descending to our campsite
When we got to the camp Simon cooked rice with dried vegetables and some interesting sauces.
The new Trangia is great. It’s bigger than the one we melted in the last camping trip. To protect it from another wind attack, Simon built a portable shield. Not bad.
While we ate the first rice portion, he cooked the second one. I like my engineering chef.
18.04 – Simon playing chef, again
The night before Simon felt the tent was tilting the wrong way, so after dinner we turned it 180 degrees.
18.05 – Our second home, Mounty & Bumblebee
This second night the sky was clearer. The temperature dropped and we both were a bit cold at times, in spite of our multiple layers.
We need better sleeping bags.
Saturday, 22 April 2017
Total climbing: 767 m
Total Time: 04:31:10
8.39 – Waiting for the hail to pass
When we got up, it was hailing. Tiny hail stones, as if Nature didn’t want to bother us too much.
10.58 – Our gnawed bungee
When it passed, we left the tent and discovered that a rodent had had a go at our new bungee during the night.
12.42 – Back at the eroded path
The original plan for the return was to ford the river, but we didn’t fancy getting wet.
That’s why we went back to the eroded gorge. It was less hard the second time round. Almost as if we were getting used to it.
We got back to Kingussie the same way we came.
On the road near the lodge we passed a big lorry with filming equipment. A couple of miles later we saw more cars with what looked like producers and other suits in.
As we cycled past the Ruthven Barracks, we saw a low rainbow resting on the hill.
15.06 – Ruthven Barracks with rainbow
We got to Kingussie just after 3pm. We had four hours to kill, so we went to the Silverfjord restaurant for an early dinner at 5pm and stayed there for a few drinks.
We got home at 11.30pm, knackered and delighted that our mission had been accomplished.
In this trip we saw a few grouse and pheasants. There are no sheep or deer in Glen Feshie, but we saw plenty of tiny lambs from the train.
I took all the photos with the Panasonic, except for the panoramic.
* Simon took this photo.