Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mar Lodge, Part 1—Kingussie to Ruigh-aiteachain Bothy

The past two days have been quite special. I'm sitting in my cozy room here at Mar Lodge and marveling at what my money is buying me. A tiny fee gets me a great room, I'm sure the bunkhouse is good, access to the Gun Room where a roaring fire burns and snacks and alcohol can be shared amongst friends, the kitchen, and a tour of a remarkable ballroom that is impressive and unnerving (granted this might not always be the case). But I'm getting ahead of things.

Leaving Kingussie in late morning I plodded down the roads past the old Ruthven military barracks which once housed three score redcoats. Now a ruins you still have sense of the goings on there and most times it would've been hard. I know I missed a lot of information which gives me an excuse to return.

More road walking would lead to Glen Tromie and the working forests contained therein. At least I didn't walk through clear-cut but the effect was similar. It wasn't a pretty forest. Maybe it was the forest road or the skimpy nature of the woods but it had less charm than many such (working) forests back home. Crossing Baileguish Farm was OK but nothing special. The final few kilometers were on standard road that followed the Feshie River which is very nice. Were I to do the walk again I'd see if walking on the river edge would be possible. I saw some paths down at the shoreline but other times it looked like the shore was almost cliff-like. Maybe floating in a packraft would be an option. Hmm...

I found Cameron filming by the bridge. We would go to Ruigh-aiteachain bothy together. The setting here is quite nice with plenty of flowing water, good camping, a well kept building (although why they've blocked access to the sleeping loft I don't know. Safety reasons seems silly in a way since you're out in the woods already taking a risk. Seems quite a waste), and interesting people. I found Jock (sure that's spelled incorrectly) with his skittish alsatian named Wolf. Nice guy though maybe the mass of Challengers put him off a bit. Once we got a fire going in the wood stove chatting in the bothy was very enjoyable and the relaxed sense of community that seems to pervade the Challenge (and any gathering around a fire, even a contained one in a wood stove) took hold.


Ruthven Barracks. Although I spent a fair bit of time here I ended up missing quite a bit of stuff. Somehow I ended up just exploring the main barracks building that you see here. However, that just gives me an excuse to come back. May 15, 2008. 10:30.

I love walking by or at least near rivers. River Feshie is no exception. This gos lined path takes you down to the slightly shaky bridge I would cross to reach the bothy. May 15, 2008. 14:56.

Moonrise over our tent city at Ruigh-aiteachain Bothy. I am sure I will leave people off any list of names so I don't think I will try. Suffice it to say that this is the largest group I think I would ever camp with. We had a fine time here and this is a very nice bothy that I would stay at again. May 15, 2008. 21:41.

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