Day 1 - Monday 14th - Newtonmore to Aviemore
After a bit of a lay-in, after the previous 48hrs with very little sleep, we swapped hike boots for boats and packed our gear into our canoes, ready for the launch.
We'd spent the previous night at the Newtonmore campsite right on the side of the river and the campsite owners were kind enough to let us leave our buses there for the next 4 days.
We launched around 1200hrs and paddled 10 slow and shallow miles on our first day, from Newtonmore, across Loch Insh to Kincraig, just short of Aviemore.
As we would be doing every evening, we found a nice spot to camp for the night in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, with camp fire under the stars.
Day 2 - Tuesday 15th July - Aviemore to Speybridge
On the second day
we paddled approximately 25miles, passing through Aviemore and venturing on through the town of Speybridge.
A long days paddle, finishing around 2200hrs, with the sky still fairly well lit.
Day 3 - Wednesday 16th July - Speybridge to Knockando
On the Wednesday the river began to flow a bit faster as the team negotiated quite a few rapids, including the 'Washing Machine' and completed 17miles. Again, at the end of the day a beautiful spot was found for a camp site.
Day 4 - Thursday 17th July - Knockando to Spey Bay
On the final day we set off once more, this time with Spey Bay in our sights. Passing through the town of Knockando we made rapid progress, until one of our boats hit a fallen tree whilst negotiating a rapid and capsized. Not only this, but it was then stuck in a whirl pool and just kept going round and around and around. The whole team were involved in the rescue, which required the assistance of ropes to stop the spinning.
After the excitement of the capsize we carried on to complete the 23 miles left towards the sea. We hit the esturary just at the right time and flowed gracefully out to sea.
We pulled into the shore and celebrated our achievement, just as bottle-nosed dolphins and an osprey arrived in the bay, as the sun began to set.
A over-welming sense of achievement was felt by all.