“Fancy a walk, Boris?”. Well what Boxer doesn’t fancy a walk on a sunny day? So I am packed into the boot with rucksack and my water and a snack to keep my energy up (Sausage and Chicken courtesy of Teapots kitchen, yummy) and we are off. First stop Craigellachie to pick up Marie. Marie is walking a Million Boot Steps for charity. Gulp, hope she’s not intending to do them all today or my pads are going to be mighty sore. Once Marie is loaded (she wears a lot of green doesn’t she, Mum) we set off back to Fochabers. Have we not been there once this morning? Human behaviour can be really strange. Maybe it’s the sun.
Ok, seems Fochabers is where the walk actually begins. Oops. Mum’s forgot my lead so it’s a quick dash into Christies to get another one. Handy when your Ma and Pa work somewhere which stocks everything isn’t it? So that’s another lead she’s bought – well a dog can’t have too many leads I say. My Da even comes out to see me off with encouraging words “for what you are about to receive may your paws be not too sore”. Should I be worried I wonder?
Quick slurp from my new combo water bottle cup and we are ready. Oops no, mishap, broken water cup. Back in the shop she goes. We’ll be away soon honest. My Mum is Sam by the way – not usually known for being scatty. Come on Mum, shake a leg.
Hurrah – we’re off. Down the road following the directions. Except we know what these two are like with directions don’t we? Yes. You’ve got it. Half an hour to find their way out of Fochabers. You couldn’t make it up could you. Marie’s already clocked 1000 steps and she’s not left the village yet. Seen some lovely houses mind you. Not been around these parts before, I like to wander in and have a nosey when I can. Water anyone?
So for those who don’t know this section of the Speyside Way, it leaves Fochabers (eventually – rolls eyes) via the Ordiquish Road and heads south to south west along the road through Culfoldie and Turnhead. There’s an evil little section which takes you first downhill – and what goes down must come back up, right? Then oh how it climbs. I might try a limp. Ok, no fooling these two. More water please? I don’t need it really but I can tell Marie is flagging so she might appreciate an excuse to stop. Mum, is making good progress though. She can still talk and walk and breathe.
Then the road continues past some fabulous pads. They’ve got the map out again trying to see what the big house is. Hope they’ve got the map the right way up?. Then eventually we reach Boat of Brig where the path then goes ‘off road’. Thank heavens for something soft underfoot. Did someone say lunch? Oh, seems not, it looks like we are carrying on. Mind you this warm weather has brought the flies out. Mum won’t want to share her cheese with them. So it’s onwards and upwards as they say. I think they might have Ben Aigan in their sights! More water?
Down a bit of a lane and past the odd quaint cottage. “Afternoon” – a cheery exchange with a lone walker. He must be doing the route in reverse. Actually it’s been awful quiet today. So far we’ve passed two cyclists, a friendly couple who gave me a wide berth (cheeky) and the man in the bubble on wheels. That was a strange one. “Boris – it’s an invalid carriage. A new experience for you”. Well he must be cooking inside there, because it’s boiling out here.
“There’s a clearing up here we can stop and eat”. That’s Mum offering food incentives to Marie. She’s flagging I think. Aye up, Marie’s stopped, and she’s not saying much now. Maybe she’s meditating, she’s gone awful quiet. Oh no, with a determined “right let’s do it” she’s off again. It’s a slog now. Off road, up hill, flies and no sign of any clearing yet. And to top it all we’re into some serious wet boggy stuff now. At least Mum’s not got her new boots on today, she’ll not want to mess them up. Lovely views – more water anyone?
Ok let’s eat here! Here? I mean, are they serious? It’ll be like velcro-ing yourself to a vertical face. No, they’re definitely going for it. Ok, I’ll just perch here shall I? Food’s out. Sausage and chicken. Nom nom. Oh here’s that chap again? Is he not coming back the way he came? He looks a bit sheepish, maybe he went the wrong way. Time to pack up. Hello, where’s she off to? Oh that’s a bit embarrassing. Mum’s fallen off the floor. Get up they’ll think you’ve been drinking. Well I did say it wasn’t a safe place to sit didn’t I.
Then re-fueled we’re off again. Time for my lead off now we’re safely on forestry track. Lunch has put a spring in my step, if I trot on ahead I can lead the way, then they won’t need a map. Viewpoint off to the right – just have a look. Nope not that good, back on the track. Have they still not caught up? I have four feet so I must be doing four times as many Boris steps to Marie’s one! It’s still climbing, maybe we are going to the top of Ben Aigan?. More water?
Eventually we reach the crest of the road – time for a photo with Marie for her blog. Fabulous views over the Spey. We can even see the sea from here. It’s been hard work but worth the effort. Then it’s (with a sigh of relief) all downhill from here.
We did pass the signpost up to Ben Aigan, but time was marching on (which is more than these two were doing) so they abandoned any thoughts of tagging it on for another day. As we rejoin the tarred track we catch up with the American again. “Is it far to Craigellachie? I am done for”. Not surprising, he’s come the same way as us – plus the stretch from Buckie – and went the wrong way too. We are by now just about a mile out the back of Craigellachie. Then we just have the wee walk through to where Marie has parked by the tennis courts. Time check reveals these two are due at a meeting in just over an hour and I have to get home first. And they need to eat (again??). So would this would not be a good time to come across Mrs McKay out for a gentle stroll with her spaniel. Should I go for an overtaking manoeuvre? Oh she’s speeding up (don’t you hate it when they do that). Drop back, Boris, don’t crowd her now. Oh she’s found a passing place – and we’re passed.
Back at the car by 4:15 and Marie’s claiming 30,222 steps on her Fitbit App. So that’ll be at least 130,000 for me then. Nothing to this challenge lark is there. More water anyone?
Thank you Boris (and Sam) for being my fab funny walking companions today – and for being my guest blogger?.
Fast forward to 8:00pm that same evening and Sam shows me a message from Mr D. “I think you broke the dog – he’s not moved since he came home”. He looks beached – well he did drink an awful lot of water.
Don’t let Boris’ walk be in vain! If ‘he’ made you chuckle even a little then sponsor today via my Virgin Money Giving page and remember to choose which of my charities (WaterAid or Moray Women’s Aid) you wish to donate to.