Day 39 Tues 07-06-2005
Pitcairngreen to Blair Athol
I was ready to walk before 6:00, as I had a long day ahead. Shonagh had agreed to leave me some sandwiches, and I crept downstairs to find them. I heard a noise, and Shonagn appeared, with my packed lunch. I thanked her profusely, and apologised for getting her up so early. What a star she was.
My route ran mainly north, following the River Tay, and then the River Tummel. Before I reached these wooded river valleys, I walked through tiny lanes, and came to Bankfoot at 8:00, where I breakfasted in a charming tearoom.
As I walked on, the railway, the river, and the A9 were on my right, coming closer and then receding. The scenery was lovely, with wooded hills to my left, and the floor of the valley to my right. I met a man parking his car who was out for a days walk. Originally from the Isle of Wight, he had lived in Scotland for the last 45 years. He had lost his wife in 2004, and found walking a good way to pass the time. He thought lejog a good idea, and said he might give it a go.
There were no villages or towns until I reached Balnamuir at 1:30, where the map shows a pub. Some workmen cheerfully informed me that it was no longer a pub, but was being "developed" ! Oh well. I sat in a field, and ate Shonagh's delicious sandwiches, then walked to Pitlochry, a bigger town, where I got a beer, and a bag of chips.
The River Tummel went west, and I followed the River Garry to Blair Atholl, where I camped in a large, modern site. I found a pub with no food, had a beer, then a pizza near the campsite. As I walked into the site, I got an ice cream from the van parked there. It was at this point Tina phoned. I found it hard to convince her of my tiring thirty mile plus day, when all I could say was "food, food, beer, food, beer, food, ice cream."
Looking at the map before turning in, all I could see were brown contour lines. The Cairngorms were ahead of me, and I faced possibly the most challenging part of the whole journey. I couldn't wait!
Blair Castle Caravan Park