Thursday 21st July Light SW warm, 20C sunny intervals
Off to Loch Garten RSPB reserve again from my deep in the forest camp site. It had been a wonderful, if unplanned rest, due to the violent thunderstorms the previous day, with books read and lots of sleep.
Tent is packed quickly and the road reached. No early morning capercallie on the way, just a pair of grey wagtails catching flies on the tarmac. The forest is extremely quiet, a serene silence and so beautiful.
Nimrod is in the kiosk at the reserve and comes out to give his friend a hug. He is eager to tell me his news, that he is in love with a Danish girl and that they will make a life together once he returns to his native Malta.
I had met a lovely couple from St Albans, Tricia and Duncan along the road and they arrive at the kiosk. As usual, it is great to.
meet a couple who bird together.
Nimrod introduces me to a residential volunteer, Donna and together she and I walk the path to the centre. Once more the osprey family are present, though the juveniles are without a fish today.
After a snack or two, Donna comes over to ask whether I would like to go in the forward osprey observation hide. Would I!? I had always wanted to see the inner sanctum of this iconic place.
Two hours inside with Donna and another res-vol', Jane is a pleasure and a privilege.
Donna is from Doncaster originally and used to live in Dudley. She had been to Worcester university where one of her lecturers was a friend of mine, Mike Wheeler. Small world. Donna is a keen birder and fascinating to listen to.
By now the afternoon is getting on and I decide to head off towards Carrbridge. On getting back to the bike I realise that one of the girls is missing, the small white rabbit June. Julia, the retail manager, gives me another rabbit to replace her, naming her Ginny. I determine though that June must be found. I have to retrace my tracks and find her. I can't leave her alone in the forest.
I find her along the small track very near to where I had pitched my tent. Phew! As if some sort of karma is deserved I pish a titmice flock nearby and two crested tits come very close. At last I manage to take a good photograph of one.
Once back on the bike it is a case of 'All aboard' and with everyone counted for with one new addition, we head off.
12.68 Miles 610 feet elevation up 682 elevation down