The socks hanging from my guyline were frozen when I woke up in the morning but the sun was already warm. It is forests which cause me the most grief on the TGO Challenge, but I easily found my way to the main track and passed through this one without incident. To reach the road I had to pass through a farm which, as is common, had a couple of Border Collies prowling round… and another couple…. and some more…. and a pen full of (adorably cuddly) BC pups. There were dozens of them! Whilst wondering if this farm had a LOT of sheep, two coaches pulled into the farm and emptied out a huge crowd of camera-wielding visitors. All became clear when I reached the main road and saw this sign.I needed to resupply at the shop at Kincraig and I took the opportunity to text a message to Challenge Control whilst I had a phone signal. According to my route sheet I was going to phone in from the phone box at Feshiebridge but I’ve learned it’s better to make the call when the opportunity arises rather than wait and find that the phone box has been removed or that there’s absolutely no mobile phone signal all day. Roger replied and advised me that the weather was due to deteriorate in the morning, which was a little concerning as I had a long and high day planned.
Walking through the Inshriach and Rothiemurchus forests I could see that there was a bit of snow in the Cairngorms.
There was also evidence of recent damaging weather.
The walk through Rothiemurchus forest should have been quite easy but my feet were hurting for the first time on this crossing. I stopped a few times to give them a rub. A couple and their dog stopped for a chat and we walked together, on and off, for a few km through the forest. Their dog looked cold but apparently he shivered whenever he got a bit bored hanging around talking to people. I didn’t take offence.
I spent the evening checking and mending all of my kit. In the first week I’d damaged my tent, my gaiters and my sleeping bag so I’d bought a reel of cotton in Kincraig and strengthened my temporary repairs.
My plan for the morning was to find a route East from Rothiemurchus Lodge, follow the road up to the ski centre and then go over the top of Cairn Gorm and down to Loch Avon. However, with the wind already howling, Roger’s weather warning, and my aching feet I decided that yesterday’s accidental Munro could take the place of tomorrow’s planned one and I would follow my Foul Weather Alternative.