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Tuesday June 17th 2014 - Blair Atholl to Loch Tummel - Day 6

After the long walk through the hills the day before this days walk was completely different in all ways, the distance was about 8 miles shorter, it was all road walking and we were going to be carrying all our gear in rucksacks as we no longer had the help of Elma to transport it for us.

The day basically started with us neatly packing our gear into our rucksacks using every inch of space it could hold, happy that we had off loaded the extras the night before.

Pleased again that the weather was good we set off along the B8079 in the direction of Killiecrankie where the infamous battle took place in 1689, being on the road and although we are surrounded by where all the action of the battle took place trees restricted any views of seeing any of the landmarks and carrying heavy packs did not stray off the path to take a look. We walked on until we come to the junction of where the B8079 joins with the B8019, the road to Tummel Bridge, the road just after the junction crosses a bridge over the River Garry. This road was built over an old 18th century General Wades military road, in fact it was also used by soldiers and drovers century’s before that it is in fact part of the route used by the Roberson’s of Struan on their way to the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Just beyond the bridge is a wee car park with an interesting information board which relates to the history of the road and is worth a read. From this point the road winds steadily upwards for about 3 miles until the top of the hill is reached this is called the Queens View generally believed to be named after Queen Victoria who took tea here in 1866, the viewpoint actually commemorates Queen Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce who ruled Scotland between 1306 and 1329. From here the views are spectacular with views west over Loch Tummel with Schiehallion in the background. There is a visitor’s centre which includes a café, but unfortunately for us and other tourists it was closed for refurbishment, it wouldn’t be so bad but we were looking forward to some refreshment after climbing the hill in the warm sun. On the bright side we chatted with tourist about our exploits which brightened their day after also being let down by the closure of the café. Another bonus was that we were at the highest point and it was all downhill to Tummel Bridge. Before leaving the Queens view we were amused by a tour guide telling the tourists a story about how red post boxes with the EIIR cypher was hard to find in Scotland as they were replaced after 1953 due to them being vandalised and in some cases blown up because of the insignia.

Having sat about in the sun for a good half hour it was a thought restart, but knowing it was all downhill we cracked on. Descending downhill views are a bit restricted by the roadside trees, but it was easy enough to see Loch Tummel on our left, this is where the River Tummel enters into from the east and exits from the west, this stays with us all the way to Tummel Bridge. As we drop down to level ground of Strath Tummel our luck of some well-earned refreshment is shattered once again when we came across the closed Loch Tummel Inn, in the wee hamlet of Strath Tummel. Having a few miles to go we took a seat for a few minutes to have a drink of water, water is fine and well for help with dehydration but after a while it not only dries your mouth, but you crave for something with a flavour or a fizz.

Reaching the Tummel valley Holiday Park, we head for the one and only shop, the first purchase for us both being a cold beer and an ice cream. John went into the reception office which was next to the shop to enquire about camping and then informed me that there was good and bad news. The bad news being that the holiday park only facilitated for caravans both static and touring and holiday lodges and there was no pitches for tents. The good news, because of what John had told the staff of what we were doing we were told to find any suitable space in the grounds where we thought we could pitch our tents and that we could use all the facilities as well. We sat on the ground outside the shop enjoying our cold beer and discussing the good fortune, which temporarily made us forget about our sore blistered feet and the fact we still had to find a place to pitch the tents. Reluctant to move, but knowing we had to set our accommodation for the night we went in search of a nice spot, we were lucky with the weather, there was still a heat from the sun although it was about 5 oclock. No sooner had we found a spot and had begun to unpack the rucksacks when a guy from a nearby caravan came across to see what we were about, obviously attracted by the fact we both had the plaids on. Scotland is well known for its hospitality and must say we never expected or considered being on the receiving end in a caravan park, but this guy took over a cold bottle of beer for each of us from his caravan fridge, must say it was one of the coldest beers I have ever had. We spoke for a while introducing ourselves and the likes and we were even given the offer of supper in the caravan, but as we had already decided to go to the pub of the holiday park for a bite we respectful declined the hospitality shown. After refreshing ourselves, showering etc we made the short distance to the pub although it took longer than normal due to the condition of our feet. Once there have to say the aches and pains were soon forgotten as we enjoyed the excellent food and a cold pint it was a great way to relax at the end of the day. For anyone in the vicinity of Tummel Bridge the pub/restaurant at the holiday park is well recommended.

Having been watered and fed we made or way back to our tents for a semi early night with the knowledge we had another fair walk in front of us the following day.

Click here for Day 7

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