For the first time, I had sun on my tent in the morning. Lovely! It was still drizzling, but there were enough breaks in the cloud for a bit of sun to break through. The tent had stood up well to the overnight gales and I was starting to have a little more confidence in my Laser Competition.
I spent the morning wandering, almost aimlessly, over the peat. There were no tracks or paths, so I just picked out the best route which took me in vaguely the right direction. I eventually realised that I couldn’t actually pinpoint my location to any closer than a 5km box, so I turned on the GPS to see where I was. Hm? Not where I hoped I was. Aimless wandering may be nice, but it wasn’t really getting me any closer to where I wanted to be, so I returned to the walk-on-a-bearing approach of the day before. I was looking for Red Bothy which was listed on my route-sheet as an emergency overnight stop. I eventually saw the bothy down at the bottom of the hill, but not before I’d seen the huge scars which form the tracks in that area. They really are ugly (but handy for navigation from afar).
When I was still a couple of hundred yards from the bothy, I saw three Challengers leaving the building and heading away in the direction of Aviemore. I could just about make out who they were and confirmed their identities in the bothy book. (It doesn’t seem to take long before you know most people on the Challenge.)
It was still only 2pm, and a little early to be finishing for the day, so after lunch and a change of socks I followed the Burma Road all the way to Aviemore which hadn’t been on my initial plan (apart from as a FWA) but whose pubs, chip-shops and cafes proved too much of a temptation.
Aviemore Youth Hostel was full and the campsite was charging £20 for a backpacking pitch, and not a very nice one at that. (£20! I’ve already got the tent, thanks, mate). As I ate my chips, I was beginning to think I’d have to walk to the campsite at Coylumbridge when I remembered the bunkhouse …. which had a bed…. and a pub serving real ale next door. Result!