The Bothy last night provided us with a multitude of strange noises. It was definitely not a place for light sleepers as there was a symphony of snoring. Finally around 6:00 this morning I heard somebody sigh and say, "What's the bloody point?" Once that guy started moving the rest of the Bothy started waking up and there was no use in resisting. We had a decent night's rest so we also got up and got ready for an early start - actually for me, it was Amanda lifting my covers and saying, "You up??" After a quick tea and coffee we said our goodbyes and were on the trail by 7:30, our earliest start yet.
We had 26 km to cover today, but most of it by back roads. The weather turned out amazing after yesterday's storm of the century - breezy, 20ish, with frequent sunny breaks. We spent the day walking with people we've crossed paths with here at the Challenge. Mike for the first 6 or 7 km, Richard and Rosie for the next 5 or 6 km, on our own for 2 or 3 km, and then a new friend, Brenda from Nottingham, for the last 9 or 10 km. We had some great conversations, learned a lot about the UK, walking in Scotland, family histories, and the Challenge itself.
About 8 km from the end we came across a place with a sign "Tea, Coffee, and Other Yummy Stuff." We didn't need to discuss it for long to decide to go in. We all had an egg salad bun, Mandy and I had Cokes, Brenda had a pot of tea, and I got some carrot cake in celebration of Sam's birthday. (Happy 12th, buddy!! Mom and Dad love you!!).
We got back out on the road and a few kilometres later a gentleman who was mowing his lawn ran down to intercept us. He asked us what we were doing and then invited us in to have tea and cookies with him and his wife. It was very kind, and we were making such good time that we couldn't refuse. They were originally from Bath but had bought and built the place here last fall. They now run a B&B from it. We really enjoyed their hospitality and then got back on the road.
About an hour later we walked to the Invernahavon Caravan Site at 3:00. A great day of easy walking capped off by an easy evening with showers, laundry, and foot maintenance. We're in the tent now at 8:30 and it has just started to rain which is fine because we are all tucked in. Tomorrow we have a fairly long walk planned, with a fair amount of off-trail. We're hoping to make an early start but we'll see what the weather is like first thing.
Thanks for reading the posts, and for all of the comments - it really helps!
Next update will be Saturday night from Braemar. We are heading through the heart of the Cairngorms now which is very remote, and should provide some good views and challenging walks.
Goodnight everybody. Thanks for reading!