Day Seventeen: Aviemore to Rogart

10:40

I can’t decide what to eat for breakfast. Hannah asks me if I want scone or bread. I don’t know what I want. I can smell the bacon Kristy’s cooking. I want bacon now.

14:50

We are on the steam train heading 9 miles north from Aviemore, once we reach 9 miles north of Aviemore we will come back 9 miles to Aviemore, we are killing time.

We don’t have time to kill; we have 34 hours and 10 minutes till we have to be in John o’Groats and we are spending our 1st hour riding on a stream train which will return us to the same point we started from; Aviemore.

We are sat in the dining cart, we have just looked at the menu but we are not really hungry, Hannah said that she’s trying to fill emptiness with food.

It’s been disappointing all day today. We decided to go up the Cairmgorm’s to experience the funicular railway. We (Kristy and I) walked out of the log cabin and waited for Hannah to return the key. I heard a loud crack sound and turned round to see a hefty tree falling into the river. The wind was gusting and whistling and rocking the remaining trees about.

We all walked up to the main road to find transport into the mountains. We had originally thought that the log cabin was in the mountains but as it is with most marketing material in the cold light of day things are not quite as they appear to be in the sparkly advert. There were no trains, the bus was going to arrive in an hour and a half and the taxi rank was empty. ‘Hitch?’ I suggested.

‘Yep’

‘Yeah’

We walked about a mile down the road and found ourselves back at the entrance to the log cabin. We all looked at each other, we’ve reached a point now where we don’t need words, just a look. It’s not any one person’s fault we are collectively responsible for the mishaps, but we all feel it.

A guy called Richie and his, 6 year old son Laughlan, picked us up and took us up to the base of the mountains, ‘The funicular railway isn’t running today girls’ explained Sheena ‘the winds are 130mph we cant take the train up if the wind goes over 70mph, you wouldn’t be able to walk on the mountain top, if you went up there you’d have to crawl or you’d get blown off.’

Sheena showed us around the train and allowed us, well insisted, that we sound the horn; I’ve never felt like such a geek in all my days. Hannah was in her element; she’s found a new passion for trains, apparently she loves them!

As we left, Kristy spotted a wheel chair, Sheena said we could have a go in it. I jumped in; unfortunately I don’t think Sheena anticipated just how excited I was about the wheel chair as it was ofcourse another form of transport. Sheena watched me spinning about and shouting that I was going to enter the Paralympics and quickly retracted the offer for fear that I would split the already punctured tire.

After sitting by a lovely warm open fire in the café for a wee while we decided to have a walk up the mountain towards the snow level. The wind was atrocious, every step we took forwards was a battle, and each time we stopped we were being blown backwards.

This feeling of disappointment is going to grow, Kristy said ‘It’s annoying that we have to go further away from home in order to get back home’. I do agree, it is annoying, but it is also the whole point of what we are doing. We could turn back and abandon the whole idea of getting to John O’Groats but then we will have failed, which would be incredibly disappointing. We would be home for about a week and then long for another adventure.

19:18

We are on the train to Rogart we have 29hrs and 42 minutes left, the land has become really barren; a few farm houses scattered here and there and all the men sound like Rab C Nesbitt. The sky is grey and the rain has been pouring down all day. It’s times like these when you just want to stop trying to get random lifts from strangers and sleep in your own bed. The further north we get the harder it is to get anyone to help us. Tonight we will sleep in a converted railway carriage and cook Hannah’s favorite meal, Thai green curry; so every cloud.

Hung-over Ria

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