(Posted from Kingussie)
Today: 18.0 miles
Total so far: 1280.0 miles
Percentage Completed: 76.6%
(Click map to enlarge)
A quiet night and packing up as a rain squall comes in; a wet tent is in the bag. A quick trip around the shops so bread and cheese and coke is on the menu for lunch. There's no getting round a trudge down the minor road to Easter Balmoral in the cold rain, but the Dee is my companion and the little fishing huts are reminiscent of Aldeburgh.
There is a roadside sign for a shop at Easter Balmoral, and after nipping up the road and arriving at the front door there is a sign for 'teas' so my little heart leaps and I spring through the door. Even though she isn’t actually doing teas today (she had forgotten to take down the sign) the lovely lady in the shop makes me a wonderful pot of tea, with a pot of hot water with a big slab of fruit cake and I spend a happy half hour watching the rain outside, rehydrating from last night's endeavours. Raven haired beauties come and go into the shop as I drink my tea.
Then it's back outside as the showers clear and I am ambling through Balmoral.
It is a beautifully kept spot and there are tourists wandering about the grounds. The pathways and tracks are as smooth as silk beneath my feet after the harshness of the roads of the morning. According to the lady in the shop, the Queen has been about recently; yesterday she was with the Ballater Pipe Band at Balmoral.
As I am walking towards Braemar through the forest I meet with a couple of chaps who are making the smooth forest tracks even smoother!
And then there is the sound of a big motor coming towards us. We move to one side as a very shiny dark green Range Rover approaches. It stops and the window drops to reveal a little old lady with a headscarf and big old lady glasses......Yes. It is...
She enquires after the road men's progress and asks if I am having a good walk.
She is observant as I am carrying a big rucksack and wearing silly tights and big boots and the men are sitting on a Bomag Vibrating Roller and a JCB. I am sure she asked the right questions to the right people. 'It's all to do with breeding' (With thanks to Johnny B)
I walk on and a second Range Rover turns up, carrying two very smart young men who look like they could kill you with their specialist Origami skills at a distance of a hundred yards learned at the Secret Military Academies. One is dressed in Airforce blue, the other in Army green. They ask a few polite questions and I give them the address of my blog. Who knows - We could have the Royal Protection Squad as part of our blog congregation!
Suitably made up by our monarch’s conversation, I have my bread & cheese at the Invercauld Bridge, which is having a bit of a makeover itself at the moment and stroll into Braemar.
I know the weather was crap, but today was a good day - the tea at the shop and Liz did it for me!