May 27, 2012
Once again the day dawned with blue sky and sunshine. We had a leisurely start to the day, then walked to the train station to catch the 10:44 am train to Aviemore. Originally we had thought we might take the bus out to the Culloden battlefield, which is a highly recommended display, but eventually we decided to make our way to our next destination instead.
The train trip took about 40 minutes and went through pretty countryside on the way to Aviemore. Arriving at Aviemore, we were surprised to find that its station was still decorated in an old-fashioned style, unlike the other ScotRail stations we had been in. Outside the station, we wandered up the main street through the shopping area. In the Tourist Information we bought a copy of the map for the Speyside Way, and also a couple of small souvenirs. We also found out that the current warm weather was predicted to continue for the next few days. Since it was nearly noon, we stopped at a small café for lunch before heading out on the start of the Speyside Way.
Before leaving, we waited to see the Strathspey steam train chug out of the station, and then we headed out along Aviemore’s main street. This was supposedly the first part of the way, although we didn’t find anything marking the start and there weren’t any waypoints along the street. When we finally did find one, it directed us to turn right onto another major road. We continued along this road for quite some time, going over both the ScotRail and the Strathspey steam train tracks, and past some new housing developments. After about 15 minutes we realized that we were going the wrong way, so after consulting our map we tried following some streets and paths to cut over to the actual path, but eventually we had to return to the last waymark we had found.
When we got back there, we found that after turning right we were supposed to have seen another waymark across the road which directed us to turn left and continue on a path beside the main road. It would have been much more practical to have the waymark across the street where the walker would actually see the next one. But anyway now that we were on the right path, we found more waymarks. The route was quite pleasant as we went by fields and through woods. One of the fields had numerous bunny rabbits hopping around. This was the first time in our trip that we had really seen any rabbits.
Our nice path soon joined the cycleway, which meant the route was wider and made of gravel. By now the shade was gone, as we were out in the open on the heather moors. The views of the Cairngorms were really lovely, but by now the heat was getting to us. Periodically we walked through a grove of trees, but for the most part we were in the open. We finally reached the outskirts of Boat of Garten and walked along a newly tarmacked road past some quite fancy houses. This road was longer than we expected, but when we finally got to the village we stopped at “The Boat”, the big hotel in the centre of the village, and bought some Cokes before finding our B&B.
Luckily where we were staying was not too far away, so it only took about five or ten minutes to reach it. Upon arrival our hostess offered us tea or coffee, so we gratefully accepted a pot of tea. Our room was upstairs and was quite large, so we had plenty of room to spread our stuff out. The first order of business was to get our laundry done. We made a good start and soon our room was decorated with socks and underwear. We also checked our e-mails and the Giro d’Italia results – Yippie! Ryder Hesjedal won it! On that note we decided to go out for dinner rather than using the self-catering kitchen. Our B&B hosts recommended Anderson’s, which was just down the road. We both had a glass of wine with our meals to celebrate not only Ryder’s success but also the success of our walks so far.
After dinner we walked down the road to the train station and then onto a short trail by a little lake at the edge of the village. The evening was very mild and it was really nice to wander the quiet streets. Back at the B&B we did a bit more laundry and a bit more blog updating.