Day 2 in Aviemore

Saturday 18th June 2022

We awoke at the hostel in Aviemore, after our second night’s stay. With a forecast that still promised strong wind upon higher ground, we would again stick to the lower levels of the Scottish Highland, in the names of both safety and of sanity.

Once we were all booted up and ready, we walked a short distance north up the B-road to get to the train station. I’m forgotten that a portion of the group were due to get on a mini bus and head to Loch Morlich (I think) for a few hours of time on the water, whether that’s kayaking, paddle boarding or canoeing… Something I’d like to have done. But for the likely 40mph wind and then the extra cost of booking.

From the station in Aviemore, we travelled north towards the end of the line. Most of our group would get off at Boat of Garten and walk on towards the Osprey Centre within the woods.

Only three of us would stay on the train until the end of the line at Broomhill. Making the most of the small fee we had paid! As it passes the station, the train stops before the engine detaches and moves around to what was the “rear” end of the line of carriages… And then, drives us back to Broomhill Station.

This had been penned in as our “rest day”. Originally designated to be our penultimate day before heading home. But due to the change in the weather, we’d all agreed to bring it forward.

From Broomhill, we walked the windswept roads heading south towards Abernethy Forest.

This road led us over the River Spey and we’d soon meet up with the Speyside Way long-distance footpath.

Quite a substantial bridge, with weathered timber braces supporting the road and foot traffic that regularly cross this way. With Harriet being wrapped up for winter in her red jacket, perhaps you can get a sense of how fierce that wind was!

We walked past what looked to have once been a train station, with the Speyside Way passing close by – and, or so it appears, following a disused railway line.

Following the Speyside Way towards the trees, we crossed over the River Nethy, just outside of Nethy Bridge.

A peaceful walk on through the woodland and with minor undulations. I think we passed only one other walker and he was packed as if he was going or had been out camping. Waymarking was very clear and consistent.

Before completing our journey in to the Osprey Centre, we stopped for lunch in front of Lock Garten. As windy as it was still, these were great conditions for keeping midges away! Some of us had been bitten on the previous day and often without realising. But the probability of it happened now had blown away.

I think we paid £3 each to get in to the Osprey Centre. Within the main building, you can see them on screens linked to nearby webcams… Spoiler alert?! There were no twitchers in our posse and, from the footage we could see, some of the nests were rocking back and forth in the wind!

Otherwise, there are many bird-themed gifts available to buy from the gift shop. You can even purchase and ice cream or warm drink. Catering for all the seasons!

We’d past the rest of our small group on the way in to the centre, as they were on their way back to Boat of Garten station. With our own tour complete, the three of us began our own return towards the train. We passed this unnamed pond and a group of American tourists, led by a tour guide, as we rejoined the Speyside Way.

We crossed back over the River Spey for one final time. There was a wait for the train to take us back to Aviemore, which allowed us time to regroup with the others (some of whom were in the pub next door) and acquaint ourselves with the hatch on one side of the building, selling warm drinks and cake.

I did contemplate walking back along the Speyside Way, which would take about forty minutes for a two mile walk. But that would’ve been for the sake of completing or… Ticking off a few more miles of this trail. One I have no intention to complete! With its friendly gravel surface, I felt as though it’s a route I’d prefer to cycle than walk (we did actually pass one cyclist in the woods).

I estimate that we walked about 9.5 miles in all. Not bad for a rest day! Weather-permitting, we’d be heading to the mountains on the next day!

Thanks for reading.


Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills in Somerset and I enjoy time spent outdoors, whether that's walking, camping or backpacking. My day job involved making furniture from recycled wood (I'm a furniture maker and carpenter by trade). I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Walks With Olly (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

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