May 28, 2012
Today was a real rest day, because we had nothing strenuous planned. After a leisurely breakfast of porridge and home-made gluten-free corn muffins, we did some more laundry. Our plan for today was to walk to the RSPB site at Loch Garten to see the nesting ospreys, which would be about three miles each way.
After leaving the hostel, we made a quick stop at the little shop just down the road to pick up a few things for our lunch. Having purchased our usual oatcakes, sausage, and apples, we continued down into the village and then across the bridge spanning the River Spey. The path from there took us along the Speyside Way, where we would be walking tomorrow. It was mostly forest trails, some close to the road, going through the Abernethy Forest Reserve. The footing was good and the path undulated up and down, but only a little. Soon we reached the turnoff to Loch Garten and followed the path to the entrance, where we paid the concession rate of £2.50.
There was only a short path to the visitor centre, so soon we were looking at Loch Garten’s nesting ospreys. The male, named Odin, was sitting on top of a dead tree not far from the nest while the female, named EJ, was on the nest tending to the three chicks which had just recently hatched. The centre had several spotting scopes trained on them, not to mention video cameras filming the goings-on. Also outside the centre were feeders for both birds and red squirrels. Most of the birds which came to the feeders were chaffinches, but we did see a red squirrel which spent quite a lot of time at the squirrel feeder.
We spent about half an hour there, then went back to walk along a shorter trail along the edge of Loch Garten to a smaller lake, Loch Mallachie. By now it was noon, so we ate our picnic lunch at Loch Mallochie. We also watched a female Common Goldeneye with her six or eight chicks, who all kept diving and making it difficult for us to figure out the exact number. It was a lovely way to spend the day – the weather was warm, there were no bugs, and the birds were singing.
Returning to Boat of Garten the same way, we arrived back at Fraoch Lodge about 2 pm. We had thought of mailing some of our trail guides back home, to save weight, so we stopped at the local post office to inquire about postal rates. While we were there we noticed that they had much better-looking produce than the other shop up the road, so we decided we would buy some for our dinner.
Back at the hostel we reconsidered the idea of mailing un-needed books back home. They really weren’t that heavy. So instead of packing them up for shipping, we just walked back to the shop with the post office and bought some veggies and other dinner supplies. For dinner we had cock-a-leekie soup (from cans) and a stir-fry of potatoes and carrots along with the salami we had originally bought way back in Glasgow, followed by tea. Definitely cheaper than going out to dinner!
Afterwards we read some outdoors magazines in the hostel’s lounge and then updated the blog. Tomorrow we would be back at work, continuing along the Speyside Way.