Across Scotland: west to east

After reaching Cape Wrath in 2014, my cross-Scotland walk was complete. But I needed, I decided to keep my annual Scottish fix, so I walked the Southern Upland Way in the springs of 2015 and 2016. But then 2017 came round, and what to do …

The SUW is of course a coast-to-coast walk, well south of Scotland’s busy and built-up central belt. There seemed to be a certain symmetry in walking coast-to-coast again, this time well to the north. However there’s no dedicated trail across this remote country, so it was back to the maps again, to find myself a line that would both test my capabilities and yet be within them – much like the latter stages of south-to-north had done, and indeed the SUW.

Glen Geldie

The empty spaces of Glen Geldie

In terms of time, you need about two weeks. In the middle is the great south-to-north transport artery formed by the rivers Tay and Spey, which facilitates getting there; specifically, the Caledonian Sleeper stops at the main Spey valley settlements.

sleeper train

The Caledonian Sleeper leaving Newtonmore

Hence one year I could walk to the Spey valley, and the other away from it. Rather perversely, I decided to do the latter first. After all, it was all but new country to me – my south-to-north walk had not touched it, and I can barely remember one solitary holiday back in the 1970s.

Broad Cairn

The Munro of Broad Cairn

Therefore the next two pages detail the eastern half of the route. It worked well. Once again, I had decent May weather: indeed a bit too decent, for I started in a heatwave. The penultimate day in thick cloud was however a severe navigational test. Roll on 2018!

Glen Lethnot

Descending into Glen Lethnot

(And yes I know, crossing the Highlands west-to-east in May is the task set by the TGO Challenge. But maybe, one day …)

From Spey to Braemar

From Braemar to Edzell