Jacqueline and I woke up and packed up camp relatively quickly. We had just made it into the Rothiemurchus forest having come through the Lairig Ghru the previous day. While not fully recovered, Jacqueline’s knee was feeling better, through not perfect. We were hoping that the path would be much nicer to her today, and it was. Today would be the last little stretch of our hike; into Aviemore itself. All of the walk today would be through the forest.
We set out, and after not too long we arrived at a junction with a four wheel drive track. We turned left and headed down to a river, noticing a much better place where we could have camped. Nonetheless, we headed on, arriving at a footbridge across the river. We were really getting back into civilisation now, there were people out for their morning exercise on their bikes or on foot. We went through a series of gates along a very flat path as we came closer to the trailhead. Finally, we noticed a few cars and caravans; we were here. We had a few kilometres to go back into Aviemore, but our spirits were now high.
We followed a walking path alongside the road through the town of Inverdruie until we reached a footbridge over the River Spey. We had reached the town, and had several hours to spend before our train back south. It was now that we finally turned our phones on for the first time in half a week, and spent some time before the shops opened in town to manage everything we had missed out on. Come midday, we walked down the main street to a pub for a big meal. We ended up finding a rather cute-on-the-inside building that felt almost like it was in a ski-resort, with windows looking up to the mountains beyond. I had a big burger, enjoying the fresh, warm food once again.
With some hours still to spend, we went and sat at some benches at the railway station and waited. It was a quiet station, with semaphore signals at the end of the platforms. Eventually, our train arrived, and we headed south towards Edinburgh, quickly undoing the distance we had hiked. We changed trains at Perth, heading back over the Forth Bridge into Edinburgh. I got out at Haymarket and went and picked up my bag from the Haymarket Hub hotel. I then got back on a train to join Jacqueline at Edinburgh Waverley. She then went out to get some Indian food from a nearby restaurant. We ate it all on the concourse of the station, before boarding our train bound for the south of England once more.
Finally, as we were speeding through Lincolnshire, I checked up on our connection from Stevenage back up to Cambridge, only to find it wasn’t mentioned on any of the journey planners. Jacqueline contacted the train service provided, and shortly afterwards, a different train magically appeared on the journey planner half an hour later. Confused, but not disappointed, we caught that service, and then a taxi back home again with all our bags.