I started off the day with the best scrambled eggs (and smoked salmon) of the week, following this up with the obligatory catch up on the Olympics while waiting for breakfast to settle.
The Last Lap
As is always the way with a long distance run (or walk), I had mixed feelings on this final day. While part of me is looking forward to going home, I’ve very much enjoyed being ‘with myself’ and having the total freedom to set my own agenda, something that doesn’t happen when working. It’s also been very relaxing mentally – I’d highly recommend it!
Setting off from Aberfeldy, I headed through the town centre and followed the road, running alongside the river, past the caravan site, and seeing more people than I have all week.
Before too long the pavement ended and the path turned left towards the river.
This path very quickly narrowed and became a single track. I ran slowly as the narrow path made it challenging to go at any pace. All the time I kept in mind that there was no rush to get anywhere.
Through the Sheep
A gate led into a field of sheep. They were vaguely interested in my presence but not at all perturbed, continuing their grazing as I skirted the edge of the field. They’d had the good grace to stay off the path too and this was much appreciated, my trainers staying clean!
On to Grandtully
The path widened again, heading through the trees with at times the river and road running alongside. This section made for very comfortable running and easy progress was made.
Reaching the river at Grandtully, particularly in light of having watched the canoeing in the Olympics before setting off, I was disappointed that there was nobody out on the water. It was tempting to hang around for a while to see if there was any activity, but being Friday rather than the weekend I figured I could be in for a long wait.
The Climb of the Day
Leaving Grandtully by a little signposted path, the climb began on a good path and was initially manageable. However, as it progressed up past the golf course, it got steeper, narrower and tougher underfoot.
As always, it was worth looking back to see the views opening up.
A wee bridge crossed a fast flowing stream and the path continued to climb. At times I’d manage to run a few steps, then slowing to walk again due to the gradient or terrain hampering my progress.
Finally reaching the high point, I crossed an open area of moorland with a single track path. When I finally came upon a forest road I was very excited! I could properly run again.
The Final Descent
What goes up must come down, and the descent path was equally steep. There was a good start with a grassy track, but this quickly changed to more single track, rooty and stony. Again, it made me realise I’m not a hill runner; I’m way too cautious for that, picking my way slowly down the slope to maintain safety.
Later, I reached a forest track that led me down past a farm and then to my most dreaded part of the day – the A9 crossing! I waited for a gap in the continuous stream of cars, campers and caravans, finally getting a break from traffic in both directions to allow me to run across. Result! I’ve finished alive!
Final Destination: Pitlochry
Crossing the River Tummel I’d arrived in Pitlochry, continuing on up to the town centre to the beautiful memorial garden and the finish. Here I relaxed for a while, taking in the beauty of the garden and surrounding area. Job done!
And for the evening: Pitlochry Festival Theatre
I love theatre and don’t go often enough, so I’m ending my solo adventure with An Evening of the Greatest Musicals! Most definitely in my happy place!