Our media frenzy meant it was lunchtime before we set out from Archiestown. First challenge was to recross the Spey (preferably avoiding the busy A95.) We wiggled down through the woods to cross via the old 'Telford' Bridge opposite Craigellachie (pictured) , attracting cheery waves from fishermen in the Spey. I thought they were cheery waves anyway - Yeoman thought they were waving lunge whips so we clattered across it in fine style!
You can then go along a narrow walkway beside the Spey (eek) under the road bridge (very noisy!) and sneak across the playpark in Craigellachie, which brings you out onto the Speyside Way. Phew, made it. But what's this? A warning notice from Moray Council, stating that due to landslides the path is now suitable 'for walkers only' (underlined and in capitals). Oops.
No immediately apparent alternatives, so we - I - decided to give it a go anyway. My enjoyment of the pretty path was slightly overshadowed by worrying about the landslide bit (which naturally enough was at the Dufftown end, a couple of miles further down. Old railways can sometimes be very difficult to get off (they were naturally not designed with crossing places) and I could see from the map that this section was steep on both sides. The worst that could happen was that we would have to retrace our steps but infinitely preferably not to have to!
A chat with a passing cyclist about the fearsome obstacle (well he wasn't walking, was he - Doogs) allayed my anxieties slightly. What he actually said was, 'if you've ridden nearly a thousand miles you'll know exactly what to do.' Thanks, mate. Visions of belaying Doogs over the edge on a leadrope?
Eventually we came to further warning signs. Somewhat unbelievably (but much to my relief) the track doesn't really get much narrower than what you can see in the photo. Admittedly, you wouldn't want to fall over the edge (wasn't planning on it - Doogs), but it does seem extreme health and safety paranoia on behalf of the Council. I suppose they are frightened of getting sued, but really!
We followed the Speyside Way which ends - on a railway platform in Dufftown. A surprise for Yeoman - and the railway guys - who kindly gave us directions for getting safely through Dufftown. This must be one of the few areas where every direction given pertains to a distillery "you'll pass a distillery on your left -when you get to the next distillery, turn right..." Yup, we can do that!