(Posted from Ft Augustus)
Today: 20.4 miles
Total so far: 1334.0 miles
Percentage Completed: 79.9%
(Click map to enlarge)
It's a beautiful day and so Derek and I set off in the sunshine past the shinty pitch and head off for Wade's Road to Phones. The last time I came this way (in the opposite direction) it was pouring with rain and all a bit of a chore.
But today it is delightful and we stop to pause for a breather at one of his perfect little bridges and take snaps. It doesn't get much better than this. Derek is worried that he is slowing me up but quite the reverse is true: It is a perfect little walk, elevated above the A9, with views to die for and bird song that drowns all possible negative thoughts. I learn more about the history of the Challenge and some of Derek's bigger walks around the world and the people he has met: It's not about the statistics with Big D - its about people and the time he has for them. He is one of life's gentlemen. (This is a description that is easily bandied about, but in this case, it fits like a glove)
We sit at the MacPherson Monument in Glen Truim (the McP's do seem to fancy themselves - they have self aggrandising monuments all over the shop hereabouts!) and snaffle a little lunch in the sunshine. But Derek is seizing up and so we are up and away again to find smoothies at the Pottery before meeting Marian at the Monadhliath Hotel.
D&M leave me in the safety of the pub and I spend a happy three hours or so tasting the Guinness and Pizza before setting off nearer 8:00pm than should be comfortable, for Garve Bridge.
The evening walk is done at rapid pace (6km per hour - yikes!), but I do not miss the wonderful evening wildlife - the snipe are drumming, the deer grouping, and the flies around the lake swarming. It is peaceful and I glide through the evening as smoothly as possible before making Garve Bridge to flip up Wanda and have a Hairy Lemon and some of Derek's wonderful home-made bread and some cheese.
Derek Emsley and a Wade Bridge on the track to Phones
The full length Exped 7 Mattress is sensational and I sleep the sleep of the dead.