Cateran Trail | Day 1

Cateran Trail | Day 1

Happy Mother’s Day!

Day 1 on the Cateran Trail complete! We made it from Blairgowrie to Bridge of Cally where we are spending the night. The terrain was varied and we have had an awesome day.

I have been doing lots of thinking today about ‘stuff’, mainly Eve’s education and the style of the nightly update posts that I write. In my head they both interlink because of the time it takes me to write them.

Today I had lots of discussions with both Eve and Sarah about the home education whilst on trail and how to progress and improve it. Especially when Sarah (who will not like this next bit) is in my opinion the more intelligent of us and definitely the better educator.

To be honest, I have started to get a little stressed about the whole home education thing, but not necessarily in the way you’re maybe thinking. I want to have more time and resources available to do more with Eve especially in the evenings.

I know home educating Eve is seen by some as a controversial choice, and it’s one that we constantly stress and worry about, as any parent would. When a child is in school, you can worry about it and try to influence it to an extent by talking to the teacher. But with home education you (we) make all the decisions.

Sarah being a teacher doesn’t make those decisions any easier or simpler. If anything it can make them harder.

The ideas and discussions between us are ongoing but I am thinking of carrying a lot more resources with me to do more stuff with her, i’m just not sure how that will look or pan out.

That’s how it starts to interlink to my nightly posts, as they take so long to write.

In my opinion I write the posts as a diary. We did this, we did that etc… and that’s great. But i think I need to change my thinking to more of a journal which is what I originally wanted when we started hiking last year.

I don’t think it will necessarily change what I write much but I think I do need to try and give myself more time and less stress. I do get very stressed about the nightly updates because I know a lot of people read them and seem to enjoy them. But also to make sure we are maximising the fundraising and helping people to think about Autism differently.

But that’s one of the things I have been thinking about. The nightly updates are in my opinion more of guide or trail guide. That’s more what the website was intended for and as an extension to social media, if or when we have the time.

So… I think I’m going to try and think of the social media being more of a journal, if only to free up some time and minimise my stress, to give Eve some more formal one on one time with minimal distractions.

So… that’s the first ‘journal’ style post and maybe, hopefully it will chance my mindset to be able to give you a different and more in-depth view of our lives on the spectrum, whilst we have adventures with an autistic child. As well as raising much needed funds for charity and challenging what people think they know about autism.

So, moving on, a bit about today…

We didn’t get to start walking until 10.30am as we have to pop to Tesco in Perth to grab some food for today and tomorrow. The weather today has been superb and felt like spring.

Today is the first day we haven't had to wear our windproof jackets.

We have had a slight clothing issue. Eve has new thermal trousers as her old ones got a joke in them through prolonged use. However her new ones are a little big so they keep coming down. We were having to stop every 10 minutes to pull them up. Luckily Sarah has a smaller pair at home so we will swap them when we see her next.

The start of the Cateran trail was a little hard to pinpoint so we chose the carpark next to the River Ericht. I have no idea how you pronounce that so if you do, please let me know so I can tell Eve!

The walking was along a path next to the river with loads of old buildings that are in ruin. It would be an adventure on its own to explore these wrecks and learn about the industry that was here. There are some seriously impressive old chimneys that Eve was asking a lot about.

The route then followed a tarmac road that lead all the way to a farm that was having some building work done. However they also destroyed the trail so we had no idea where we would go. We chose to walk straight through the farm but we should not have been there. We did eventually find our way back onto the path by walking over a muddy building site. I was really annoyed. I did feel a bit better later on when we got approached by a couple who were out walking and asked if we had issues around the farm as they had also had the same issue. I’m glad it wasn’t just me being stupid and missing a diversion.

The Cataren Trail is extremely well signposted. Most of the way markers are huge and the logo is a massive red heart making it easy to see. It stands out really well.

The views as we walked along the tarmac road were lovely and reminded me a lot of the Scottish Borders that we really like. It always amazes me the diversity of landscapes that Scotland has in such a small country.

The trail followed a few paths around farmers fields and eventually onto a new well made path that isn’t mapped but is way marked. It makes the trail a bit shorter and simpler. We took a break on the path to eat a sausage roll.

This well made path is the last decent path we walked on until we reached Bridge of Cally.

The trail turned into a river as we crossed the moors. Burns were crossing it and running down every few metres creating a huge swamp. We crossed using grass and stones as stepping stones for several miles. It was fun but hard work.

Our feet were soaked. Literally soaked. We stopped to wring Eve’s socks out and let her feet breathe. We also covered her feet in some tea tree oil. We didn’t put waterproof socks on as there would have been no point. The only footwear that might have keep our feet dry would have been fisherman’s waders, but they are definitely not suitable for hiking!!!

Our socks are currently drying ready for tomorrow.

The final short section was over a field that felt easy and refreshing to walk over after the last 2 hours of bog walking with wet feet.

The accommodation we are in is nice. Eve had a quick bath and I had a shower followed by our dinner of pot noodle, fruit cake and fruit! Yum!

The trail so far had been great, easy to follow and varied.

We are looking forward to tomorrow, although it's supposed to be raining all day.

Take care folks and see you in the morning

Ian, Eve & Sarah