A few precious days off and I arrived in the Highlands fresh and raring to go. A short drive to Aviemore to buy fuel and the Cairngorms awaited. The intention had been to walk a big loop South from the Achlean Car Park into Feshie, East through Geldie Burn then North through the Lairig Ghru to Coylumbridge but I was carrying a back injury which made me modify my three day plan. At least I could spend some time in the Cairngorms. Glen Feshie was spectacular, just beginning to show Autumn colour.
The Glen has benefited in recent years from a process of rewilding resulting in a naturally regenerating forest of Scots pine, birch, Juniper and Alder. It is a spectacular example of how rich the natural environment can become in a relatively short time. The Ruigh Aiteachain bothy looked seductively smart following its renovation but I wanted to spend the night under canvas. A late afternoon pitch, still night and a late morning start felt luxurious. Glen Feshie is somewhere to linger, listening to chattering Geese, taking in the massive bulk of the hills or the tiny, jewel like flora and fungi, or just contemplating the mesmeric tumble of the peaty River Feshie. I met Mark, a photographer who had slept in the bothy and enjoyed a leisurely brew and chat about his exploits in Alaska and patagonia and mine a little more local. An unburdened walk up the Glen to the shadow of Creag na Gaibhre in the morning sun was fabulous. Then back to pack up gear and return to the car with my overstuffed 33 ltr pack. Lesson for the future: take less or a larger pack. With that in mind, once health and time permit, I’ll be back soon to walk the 40 miles of the original plan. Can’t wait.
My Vaude Hogan tent. Stormworthy but very small.