I was up and walking before 8 o’clock, partly because I didn’t want to linger for too long on such a visible pitch, and I was glad to get a few miles under my belt before the hottest part of the day. The morning was warm and hazy and, for the first time on this Crossing, I wore my Rohan trousers and my short-sleeved Icebreaker top (rather than my Ron Hills and a long-sleeved top). At last, ten days in, it was “Summer”.Very soon I realised why I’d seen heavy earth-moving equipment and areas of taped-off land at the end of yesterday’s route.Yes, the Beauly Denny line is coming this way. I usually have a tune in my head when I walk. From this point onwards it was The Eve of the War from The War of the Worlds. (I’ve always been a bit scared of pylons).
The sun was really hot and I was impressed with my Osprey Exos rucksack. I tend to be sceptical of the magical powers of some of the “no sweat” backsystems advertised by rucksack manufacturers but the Exos mesh really did keep my back dry.
I spent most of the morning dithering and trying to work out if I could flatten out my route without having to walk on the road. The area East of the A822 at Amulree has lots of tracks but none of them really went where I wanted. I didn’t fancy a hard slog over rough ground on such a hot day but, in the end, I decided UP was the only way to go and I left the tracks behind.
At Little Glenshee I had a choice; either stick with my planed route and take tracks and paths NE to Bankfoot, or take the SE route via minor roads. I don’t remember why I chose the road-walking; distance-wise, the South-Easterly route is a little longer but I presume I thought it would be quicker as there’d be less navigational risk. However, the next few hours were quite hard on my feet and I suspect I’d have been better sticking to my original plan.
I arrived at Bankfoot at about 5pm – so I could have walked more slowly to save my feet. I’d written down the phone number of the Bankfoot Inn before I left home but hadn’t booked a room in advance. I still had plenty of time to walk on and find somewhere to camp, but the thought of a hot shower and pint of Real Ale was too much of a temptation so I knocked on the door and asked for a room. I think Monday nights in May must be quite quiet in Bankfoot; there were rooms aplenty and I was soon showered & changed and eating Macaroni Cheese [well, what else?!] accompanied by chips and beer. Perfect Challenge fare.
My room was very comfortable and I sat up watching TV into the wee hours…….then, missing the simple luxury of my tent, couldn’t sleep and spent most of the night counting sheep!