Saturday, 26 April 2014
Easter in Drumochter (14)
The idea had been to cross the A9 at Dalnaspidal Lodge, ascend Fuar Mhonadh and A' Bhrudheanach Bheag (the fifth Munro of the expedition - bringing my tally for the year up to that for the whole of 2013 with just the single expedition), then continue over A' Bhuidheanach Mhor, down the northern ridge, up to hill 902 and down the quarry track and so back into Dalwhinnie. However, the idea had also been to take my lunch at Dalnaspidal Lodge. I was two hours behind schedule, and the descent over such steep and difficult ground had taken a lot out of me. So I decided to leave the fifth Munro for another occasion, and follow the cycleway back to Dalwhinnie. I had done enough for this expedition. It had been a good one, and I was happy with what I had achieved.
I crossed the railway line and turned onto the cycleway, taking note of the fact that it is possible to pass under the A9 here on a concrete ledge incorporated into the bridge over the Allt Coire Mhic-sith. The cycleway is pleasant walking, using the surface of the old road for much of the way; but it offers no shade to protect you from the blazing sun, and no opportunities to refill water bottles.
I had walked about 4 kilometres of the cycleway, past the Sow of Atholl and the Boar of Badenoch, and still had about 8 kilometres to go when a car pulled up and offered me a lift. This wasn't the Challenge, and my expedition was effectively done. I was just walking back to base, a necessary trudge which added nothing to the expedition. I had no need to walk that final 8 kilometres. So I accepted, and jumped in. The driver was from Dalwhinnie. He had assumed that I was returning to a car at Balsporran Cottages; but on learning that I was not, he was more than happy to take me all the way back to Dalwhinnie.
And so ended a very enjoyable Easter expedition. I drove up to Newtonmore again that evening to bid farewell (until Montrose in May) to Ali, and on Easter Monday I drove back to Bedfordshire.