We had a surprisingly hard days walking today. The weather for several hours turned really nasty with painful hail and the amount of mud and surface water was unbelievable.
We had a section crossing sheep fields that were so wet and muddy Eve fell over more than 20 times. She couldn’t stay on her feet! She was laughing about it at the start but after about 15 times she was getting fed up and managed to twist her leg hurting her groin slightly. She was okay though and it wasn’t anything serious.
The alarm went off a lot 6am after a very good nights sleep. We could hear rain tapping at the window outside.
We snuggled briefly before getting out of bed and putting on our hiking clothes and grabbing some breakfast. The breakfast was continental and we had cereal and toast. We don’t like heavy breakfasts before walking, so it was ideal. Thank you!
It felt a little sad leaving the Glenisla Hotel, after how well we had been treated, without the chance to say thank you again! If you’re in the area or walking the Cateran Trail please pop in as they will really look after you and make sure you sign their visitors book, we did!
Heading out the door there was no rain, the sky was looking blue and there was a cool breeze. It felt great!
Our plan for today was to get as far as Alyth which was about 10 miles away. We walked 11 miles by the time we reached our accommodation.
The first hour of walking is always the hardest. Trying to get going, stretching off and finding our pace. This morning was particularly hard work and my backpack felt very heavy. We both struggled to get into our rhythm.
The first wee section was nice, over moorland and through fields being grazed by sheep. It was wet but nothing we couldn’t side step.
Once at the top we removed our windproof jackets as we were overheating which is never good when trying to get into a rhythm.
We walked for about 2 miles along easy tracks stopping for a break at 4.5 miles. It was warm and the sky was clear. But by the end of our break we had full waterproofs on and the rain was going sideways.
It didn’t really let up all day after this, although it did start to blow over when we were at about mile 10.
As we continued on, the trail moved from tracks to trails over fields, round hills, woodlands, ascending and descending constantly. It was exhausting.
The weather turned from drizzle to a constant downpour that was bouncing off the already saturated ground. Then came the sleet and hail that hurt. Luckily we found a fallen tree that we crawled under for some shelter. We stayed there hiding for about 30 minutes eating a bagel each whilst drinking hot juice and coffee.
It felt awesome and I think I will remember it forever. The best times are never about the location or the views, but the feelings. Being snuggled with Eve, under the branches of a fallen tree watching the horrendous weather, eating and drinking was magical! I think Eve was just happy to be sat and hiding from the weather!
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get that many pictures as the weather was just too bad to use the iPhone camera and I am always a little paranoid about getting it damaged.
On a positive note the trail was easy to follow with great views over the surrounding hills and snow capped munros. It was a stark contrast from the man made countryside we were walking through.
I don’t want you to think we didn’t enjoy today or it was a bad day, as it wasn’t. Hard work isn’t a bad thing and always brings the best rewards. Today was no exception. It was a good but hard day.
Walking into Alyth we were both wet, smelly and hungry. We found a bench on the edge of the village to sit down on to sort ourselves out. We removed waterproofs, collapsed hiking poles etc and used Google maps to direct us to the co-op.
We popped into the co-op to resupply for the next couple of days although I took the lazy option and went to the chip shop this evening for dinner. I used some of the Buy Me a Coffee funds so thank you to everybody who has donated. After watching Eve constantly falling over in the mud earlier i felt she needed something yummy! So thank you all again for your generosity
As I’m sure you know I hate shopping and resupplying with a passion. Eve is awesome and knows to just let me get on with it and injects ideas and suggestions at carefully selected points. We have plenty of food now and we even have an empire biscuit for this evening!
We are staying at the Alyth Hotel this evening which has been gifted to us for the night. Thank you so much!
We were met and greeted by a lovely gentlemen who I think is the owner and we got speaking to about the hotel. The hotel has a bar (that's on the opposite side to the accommodation so the rooms are quiet) and how they try to help charity events like ours. They fed 30 people the other day for free for a charity event!
I have said it before but the biggest and most profound thing I have learned since we started full time charity hiking last year, is the kindness of strangers! It is mind blowing and will never cease to amaze me!
On the Cateran Trail we have met some truly lovely and inspirational people.
The Alyth hotel are fully refitting the hotel and decorating the guest rooms. It’s stunning what they are doing and they are clearly investing a lot of money into it. We are the first people to sleep in one of their new rooms at the front of the hotel overlooking the village and river. The room is massive and very modern with the biggest windows I have ever seen in a hotel! It’s stunning!
If you’re in the area pop in and have a drink or stay the night. You won’t be disappointed.
We dropped our bags off then went to grab some chips before coming back to eat and settle down for the night. This evening we are going to try to spend some time researching some of the many questions that Eve comes up with whilst we are hiking.
Right then, I’m going to eat a biscuit now with Eve so sleep well and we look forward to seeing you in the morning.
Keep safe and I hope you have a great weekend planned.
Ian, Sarah and Eve