TOMINTOUL TO BALLATER
Quarter of the way through my journey & another great breakfast to celebrate the milestone with the company of Anita and Paul! It felt like such a luxury and secret that we have a car at our disposal today! It created a lovely warm feeling that no-one else knew about and as i walked out of the B & B with the wishes of 'Have a wonderful walk today' i felt a bit of a phoney climbing into the car!!
I soon got over this about 20 yards into the drive as i saw how the walk would have panned out along a rather busy A road with fast traffic and many twists and turns! We reached Ballater in around 1/2 hour and it was funny to think that although it felt like a really long way in the car, i have already walked longer distances than that with my pack on!
The sun was out in full today for our first really fabulous weather day.... at last! Ballater is a beautiful Scottish town right in the midst of the Cairngorms and it seemed alive with all the visitors and a really happy High Street with lots of cafes and bistros all with home baking and wonderfully enticing menus!!
We parked easily and found our nights accommodation, then wandered into the Tourist information office to find out what walks we could do that wouldnt tax us too much after our 17 miler yesterday! Anitas feet were still sore and whilst mine have repaired a lot, it was still a welcome idea to do a local route off the beaten track! (My mini tubigrips for my baby toes have been invaluable and my feet are really looking much better now since i have been using them!)
We settled on a 5 .5 mile Seven Bridges hike, a circular route around Ballater and crossing (surprisingly!) 7 bridges!! We pic-nicked (?Spelling?!) half way around on the banks of the river and lapped up the welcome sunshine pretending we were really somewhere in Spain! Afternoon tea was then beckoning by the time we got back to Ballater so we whiled away 1.5 hours over a pot of Tea and some scrummy homebaked delights and put the world to rights with conversations that i always see my children yawn over!
We decided to check out our seperate pads for the night - Anita and Paul are in a little hotel across the road from me, as i am in the Habitat Bunkhouse for my resting place for the night! My residence looks newly fitted out with underfloor heating and a great lounge area and there is only one other room mate in my bunkhouse of 8 so hardly overcrowded!
Dinner was at 6pm but as the Italian is closed on Mondays, we ate at a lovely place up the road..
Looking forwards to seeing all the children tomorrow, they are already in Manchester and should be with me by early afternoon hopefully.....
(Side Note: Apologies for always seeing photos of me in the Red Coat! It is my main outerwear and as i cannot carry an extensive wardrobe, it'll probably be in a lot more shots! I thought i would ring the changes with todays picture and not have me standing in the doorway to save us all from another Red Coat Front door apearance!)