Eve now has a new personal best having hiked 15.1 miles today through snow that at times was over 6 inches deep. It was hard going, our feet were soaked (but warm). She’s awesome and I’m so proud of her!
The trail was amazingly beautiful, walking along and through old railway ravines, flanked with snow, icicles and small frozen burns cascading down giving us a feeling of magic and wonder. It was amazing and we kept stopping to just stand, looking and trying to create a permanent memory of how spectacular it looked and felt. It really was something special.
We started walking just after 7 am from Grantown-on-Spey reaching Edinkillie Hall just over 9 hours later at a 4.20. It was really cold when we started walking this morning but we soon warmed up.
Eve and I felt excited to be starting the Dava Way, as the trail is short, simple and easy. But it’s beautiful and the sense of magic and wonder far exceed the short mileage and unchallenging terrain.
The photographs will never do justice to how spectacular it was. Some sections were so amazing and magical it didn’t look or feel real.
The route started from the centre of Grantown-on-Spey from a unspecified location. We found an information board and used that as our start location, taking some photos and enjoying the moment before setting off.
Walking out of Grantown-on-Spey we passed a huge campsite with caravans and pods then up a small embankment and onto the old railway.
From there the walking was easy and flat. We just kept going along the old railway. At small sections the trail would leave the railway line, going through small woodlands before coming back onto the main railway again.
Walking over the moors was spectacular, following tree lined paths and looking out onto the wild and barren moorland. It made us feel small in a huge landscape that just went on for as far as the eye could see.
I have been struggling to write this post as I’m tired, but also because of how to break down today into some sort of story. So I apologise.
The reality is, the trail is so easy to follow, and the scenery so beautiful, the images could tell you so much more than I could ever hope to write.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to simply try and let my very amateur iPhone photography do the talking.
But… before that, I did want to say that I think Eve could genuinely have walked the last 10 miles and completed the whole trail in one day. She just kept going, and going and going. We actually got a phone call from Sarah at one point who was tracking us to ask if we were ever going to stop, as she was getting worried!
The biggest challenge we had by far was getting the taxi at the end, and only goes to reinforce my feelings on the matter.
Once at Edinkillie Hall I tried calling every taxi in Grantown-on-Spey and surrounding areas but couldn’t get through to anybody or the phone numbers were simply wrong. The same happened with every taxi company in Forres. I was starting to feel a sense of doom.
I phoned Sarah to talk to her and she then tried phoning people as well, contacting some taxi companies that she had found on social media.
Eventually she did get though to somebody on Facebook who sent a taxi, but it was at a premium! We did get back to Grantown-on-Spey but it cost a fortune!
I’m not going to go on about how it felt, as I’m sure you can work that out based on some of my previous posts.
Needless to say I am more exhausted from the taxi situation than the actual hiking.
What did happen however which was lovely, was a man pulled over in a huge 4x4 as he recognised us from social media and said he would take us into Grantown but couldn’t until later on. It was such a relief knowing that there was potentially a backup plan that if all else failed so thank you!
Right that’s it from us, we hope you enjoy the pictures and will see you all in the morning.
Ian and Eve
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