July 16

Day 57 Ellon to Strichen

We strolled for just 6 miles yesterday and were exhausted on arrival in Ellon. We knew that today’s stroll was to be about 20 miles so wondered how everything would turn out.
Although breakfasts at the New Inn start at 8:30 on Saturday we were able to get stuck into stroll fuel at 08:00. We made our way to the start of today’s stroll, up the old railway, with a black pudding induced spring in our steps.
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Janet, in particular, leapt up the slope to the track like a gazelle
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Once on the track we ambled along much as we had done yesterday. The strolling was very easy as was navigation. It was a bit like following a canal in that the track bed is an obvious pathway. Along the sides of the track were a multitude of plants. My favourite is the wild raspberry. The season is just beginning so the odd ripe red beauty was there ready to be plucked from its brambly parent to be stuffed into my cavernous mouth.
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First stop was at Auchnagatt for some lunch. Lunch was the usual fare of bacon salvaged from breakfast, gruyere, nuts and some oatcakes. All this washed down with water from the bedroom tap served up in an old coca cola bottle. We had hoped for a pub at Auchnagatt but the mug symbol on our map proved false. A chap was setting up stuff for a football match at the village hall so allowed free access to the facilities thus adding hours of comfort to the stroll.
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So, on we went. The wind kept the flies at bay making our stroll very comfortable indeed. These cooler climate conditions suit me very nicely for strolling.

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We passed by some flowers which are probably very common indeed. I haven’t seen the things before but they did look very fetching indeed.
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Onwards to Maud and our second rest stop. Maud has a museum which celebrates the history of the railway. The last time, or maybe the time before that, that we visited Maud we also visited the museum. The custodian gave us quite a complete tour of the museum so we didn’t feel the need to visit it again. It was enough to visit the external remains of the station.
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A light rain began to fall as we approached Maud so we were delighted to find that the Station Hotel was open. After some coca cola, crisps and a pickled egg we felt able to continue.

Janet leapt up the slope to the track like a gazelle once more.
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The scenery is not dramatic, as has been some of our strolling, but it is very enjoyable to stroll along chatting about this and that through this fertile land. The fact that the sun came out and blue skies appeared added quite a lot to our enjoyment of the landscape too.
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“Welcome to Strichen” A welcome sight after 19 odd miles.
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As we tucked into our suppers tonight we had difficulty in believing that this particular stroll is nearing its end. We shall have to return to the real world I suppose. A world in which there is no planning tomorrow’s route. A world of not washing knickers and socks in the bathroom wash basin every evening. I shall miss it very much indeed.

I think that tomorrow’s leg is a mere 12 miles. After the last few days this will be a mere stroll in the park.

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July 17

Day 58 Strichen to Inverallochy

I’m not sure which map is most important.
Is it today’s stroll?


Or perhaps it should be this one?

Regardless of all that twaddle we set out for Inverallochy this morning finding it very difficult to believe that it would be the last day of the current adventure.

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It was so unbelievable that we left twice.
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The main street in Strichen was quiet enough this morning for us to be able to stand in the middle of the road and take a load of photos.
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We had a choice in how to leave Strichen. We could return to where we left the railway or we could rejoin some distance away. The latter choice might cut off some distance but it would certainly have meant that we would not stroll over the old viaduct. Obviously we chose the former. Who can resist a high viaduct? Not us.
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Then once more on the railway we headed towards Mormond. We have been singing Fare ye weel ye Mormond Braes for most of today. Luckily for us and for others we have seen very few others so our tuneless warbling offended no one. Not even the White Horse I hope.
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I know that these white foxgloves have probably escaped from someone’s garden but they did look spectacular.

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Some work has been done on the path, thank Goodness. It was quite damp for a considerable distance and I suspect that it must hsve been a damp boggy nightmare before the clean up happened.

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We sauntered onwards enjoying the views of Mormond, of the White Horse and of the stag etched onto Mormond’s flank. The stag needs some imagination to be honest. In order to celebrate this auspicious day we devoured our last two aniseed balls. Their fiery flavour boosted us onwards.
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The railway eventually came to an end for us. We left its comforting presence at Lonmay and sat on a wall. Having sat on the wall we realised that we were tired and hungry. Cheese and oatcakes fixed the hungry bit. The wall sort of fixed the tired bit with the help of a small chirpy bird with a crest. The little blighter had no fear of us but had no interest in our oatcakes. Perhaps it preferred flies?

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Now that we were nearly there Janet cut the threads holding our house keys safely in their hidden bag. Another symbolic event. An event nearly as powerful as devouring the last two aniseed balls
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The weather forecast hinted atrongly of rain this morning, rain which never came. As Janet finished severing the threads on our door keys a mighty ahower hit us. We climbed into our kilts, hats and coats, covered our rucksacks, got wet in the process, only then did this capricious cloud move away never to show its face again.
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As we put the familiar key into the familiar lock it felt just the same as it has done all the many times which we have done this simple act. Almost immediately the stroll atarted to slip away and become unreal.
A visit to our kindly neighbours, for a coffee and a chat, started to bring it all back as we chatted of this and that.

Tomorrow? No alarm. Sleep all day? Possibly.

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