The actual route, and what happened

Heading for the Cairngorms

Wednesday 20th

Up at six, realising that we had lost a lot of time, but even worse was the food situation as we were down to 4 Ryvitas, 4 cup-a-soups and a few digestive biscuits. Breakfast was 2 Ryvitas, a cup of coffee, then a long hard slog to Nancy Smith's.

We followed the path marked on the map, but not so easy on the ground, to Lairig Leacach bothy for lunch (not much) then very rough going via Coire na Cabaig, Coire Laire, over the dam and dismantled railway to Fersit. Nancy was out, but there were two honesty tins, one for the accommodation charge of £2.50 and one for the food in the cupboard. Each tin and packet was individually priced.

Heaven - we could eat!

We filled a saucepan with all sorts to make a stew (after adding up all the prices and putting the money in the tin). We ate the lot, straight from the pan with spoons. Then Nancy came home and gave us our parcel containing, among the necessities, a half bottle of malt (we had drunk all I carried). This was quickly consumed as we could buy more at Kingussie. Suddenly everything seemed rosy. We left our crampons, rope and used maps to be collected later.

It was good to get rid of some weight.

Mike outside log cabin at Fersit
Nancy Smith's at Fersit                                                    photo © Mike Daniels
Thursday 21st

Feeling good we set off for another day through the forest and then all the way along Loch Laggan, past Ardverikie (of Monarch of the Glen fame) to Kinlochlaggan and on to the Monadhliath Hotel to camp. By this time I had lost 2½ stone. Iain had also lost a lot of weight; also he was very tired and his knee was giving him a lot of pain, but he was determined to carry on.

Iain by tent at Monadhliath Hotel
Camping at the Monadhliath Hotel                                        photo © Mike Daniels
Friday 22nd

A short day to Kingussie, as we had a parcel to collect from the Post Office, then find a bed & breakfast to clean up and put on clean clothes from our parcel. Just up the road from the Post Office was a B&B, so we knocked on the door. Then the embarrassment commenced.

A well spoken lady opened the door and we looked in to see a thick, very expensive light grey carpet. She said, "Hello". We muttered something about looking for accommodation; we then held up our parcels like like naughty schoolboys.

"We've clean clothes", we said.

"Good", she replied, sniffing (I guess we were a little bit on the high side having been in the hills for a week) "Leave your outer clothes here and I will see to them. The bedroom is on the right, the shower is on the left at the top of the stairs. When you come down, bring your dirty clothes and I will wash them. Tea and cakes will be waiting for you in the lounge".

Feeling human, and no longer smelling, we walked into the lounge, which was beautiful. Thick carpets, walls decorated with valuable objects from Africa and India. The tea was served in china cups and the knife and fork were silver.

The lady told us that she was a retired headmistress and her husband was a retired surgeon, both from Edinburgh, but they had worked in Africa and India. After hearing what we were attempting he was quite concerned about Iain as he looked so thin, but they wished us the best of luck and asked us to let them know how we got on, which we did on reaching Montrose. We also left them a parcel which they posted home for us.

Saturday 23rd

After an early breakfast (6am) in the kitchen with these two lovely people we said thank you, then set off , clean and refreshed, to Feshie Bridge and into Feshie Forest to find a little wooden bothy at NH885057 (Map 36). This was very small with someone living in it on what looked like a permanent basis, so we camped outside and watched our equipment very carefully.

Sunday 24th

After a restless night we set off up the Allt Coire Follais to Creag Dhubh, passing the Argyll Stone to Glen Einich, where we camped by the river.

Iain Going up Allt Coire Follais
Going up Allt Coire Follais                 photo © Mike Daniels
Camp in Glen Einich
Camping in Glen Einich                    photo © Mike Daniels

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