Friday was the day for walking out. It had snowed on the hills during the night and rained all night at low level. The streams were all going a bit mad and the hilltops were quite white. Every twenty minutes or so the weather turned from sun to rain and , after twenty minutes, to sun again.
I squished along the soggy path South from Ben Alder cottage and, after about a mile, came to a construction site for a road heading, it would seem, for the timber which stands on the South side of the bay, a few hundred metres from the bothy.
I expect that this is very bad news for the quality of the experience at the bothy. Soon, it won’t be remote and will be easily accessible by bike. We could be talking Galloway experiences here… Maybe the relative remoteness of the start of the forestry road (assuming its not really for wind turbines) will protect the place a bit. It wil be a shame, though. The main attraction of the place is the fact that it takes an along time and some effort to get there.
Nevertheless, I followed the new road, turning off after a mile or so for a wide gap in the hills, beyond which was Rannoch station. There seemed to be an old route through here. There were small mossy cairns on boulders, an occasional path and hints of footpath engineering. The countryside here is full of wide open space. Agoraphobics should avoid, unless they attend as part of their therapy. Its a big country just here.
Eventually I emerged at Rannoch station where the knipemobile was still waiting (quite a good omen, I thought) and, after a raid on the shop at Kinloch Rannoch for beer and pies and a paper, I was soon installed in the Primevera tent on the nearby forestry commission campsite for a comfy night of light boozing, reading the paper and entertaining fellow campers to snoring exhibitions.
Saturday, I was off to Braemar encountering various shambling figures with big rucksacks on the Pitlochry – Kirkmichael road. I had brief chats with Lou and Phyllis (who had been advised by a chiropodist not to do any walking for a while!) and Roy and a bunch of others. Speeding traffic almost despatched one or two of the Challengers as they chatted to me through the car window. Everybody seemed to be on Foul weather routes.
On the way up Glenshee, I had a brief affair with Duchray Hill, a 702 metre heathery lump which took a couple of hours. It was on the summit that the weather resumed it’s assault. The view on top was hazy and the wind and hail were perishing, so I didn’t/couldn’t hang about. I expect its quite a nice hill, really….?
Next up was Braemar. I parked the knipemobile prettily, extracted the backpack and, after a quick pint at the Fife with TGO Challengers Miss Sophie, Sir Toby, Admiral von Schneider, Mr Pomeroy and Mr Winterbottom, I wandered into the campsite looking like a TGO Challenger. This got me a pitch. It was fortunate that the campsite at Kinloch rannoch has no showers as this added to the effect. (I’m not exactly sure what I was getting for my money at that site,though, apart from the manicured grass…?)
A pleasant evening of carousing and listening to Bingo Wings was spent at the Moorfield and a wet night in the tent followed. (This refers mainly to precipitation rather than incontinence)
Apparently there was some serious snoring on the campsite that night. I didn’t hear anything, though….