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Monday, 7 June 2010

TGO Off we go - Up the Minigaig

TGO Campers by the Geldie- courtesy of Andrew Walker

Having spent a quiet night with the wrong kind of spirits, I started following the beck or burn upstream. The idea was to find a certain re-entrant and follow this uphill to where it was crossed by the Minigaig path.

I should explain to those who don’t know, that The Minigaig is a very old route which goes from Blair Atholl to Kingussie – bypassed in 1728 by the military road over Drumochter and, at 26 miles, is ten miles shorter. Basically, its now a narrow path, but it does lead to just over 2700 feet which is not much lower than my first target of the day – Leathad an Taobhain – a Corbett just a few feet short of 3000 feet.

But first, considering that I’d last had a shower at Spean Bridge, some echty-blob miles away, (plughole bunged up), I was smelling a bit like a Yak Herder’s Jock Strap after a particularly hot summer in the Gobi, and , coming across a deep, green and inviting pool in the burn, I thought what a ripping idea it would be to have a dip.

Luckily, it was just before I’d got down to getting some fresh air to the naughty parts that Mike and Marion Parsons turned up. A few minutes later and there could have been ribaldry and rude jokes at least. They soon passed on their way, though and I tiptoed breathlessly in ever so gingerly a little bit at a time till the pain got too intense, then I scrambled out again using some quite rude words, I’m ashamed to say.

So I didn’t stay in very long. In fact, I hardly got wet at all. I thought I’d resolved not to do this kind of thing. There must be a better way. The best option would probably be to wait till August when the water might have warmed up a bit.

The Minigaig took me easily up to it’s high point, crossing just the one snow bridge, and off-path, the going was fairly easy on short heather and I was soon perched on the trig point of Leathad an Toenail. A fine viewpoint.

Onwards and sideways, I crossed the moors and by doing a bit of contouring, I avoided climbing up anything which wasn’t a Corbett and after a brew and an unplanned snooze, I came to the head of Coire nan Cisteachan (The pass of the chesty cough) which had a large party of German DofE expeditionists and their English trainers. (People who train, not shoes. Trainers are all chinese nowadays anyway. I mean shoes…) Anyway, we had a bit of a chat then I marched off to dump my pack at the bottom of Beinn Bhreac – another just-short-of-3000-feet Corbett – which I bagged easily (without the pack). The walking up here is remarkably easy underfoot on short, dry heather with few peat hags or boggy bits.

I headed down Coire Creagach and found the River Feshie, where it began to rain on and off. I followed the Feshie which, for the information of future TGO-ers, has many cracking camping spots – and, where that river turns North, I turned East across a short boggy bit to find the Geldie Burn.

The Geldie also has many grand camping spots and, after a while and in an incipient thunderstorm, I finally gave up, put up the akto and had me tea. I was about 3km short of Geldie Lodge where more TGO-ers were camped, and I could see a couple of tents on the sides of the Allt Chaorainn. People were heading for Braemar. We would all arrive tomorrow afternoon.

The thunderstorm developed nastily somewhere else. It was all quiet up the Geldie.

Apart from the snoring of a dozen or so noses and the windypops of those who had managed to consume vegetables…



As Jeff Chaucer used to say, when in doubt, resort to fart jokes.

More pictures will be added to this post as soon as I, or Jean Turner find any. If anybody has pictures of the Minigaig, Leathad an Taobhain or Beinn Bhreac………

Thanks to Andrew Walker for the couple used here.

And another thing - You might notice that the style of this posting is different from the others. This is because my windows livewriter seems to be broken. It can't find the server or something. I might try again tomorrow, in which case ignore this note....


Meanqueen said...

You need some wet baby wipes ;o)

Mike Knipe said...

Probably right. Never use alcohol-based hand-gel by the way. It stings like buggery. (I'm assuming, of course, that buggery stings...)

Helen Fisher said...

Or, possibly better for you (and maybe not for her), Kylie to appear to administer a sponge bath!

Mike Knipe said...

Oooooer - D'you think thats possible, Helen? This sparks off an entirely new line in in-tent fantasies....


Phreerunner said...

I wish I'd taken a break to read this last night, when I spent far too long trying to sort out a Windows Live Writer 'Server Problem'!

Which route up the Minigaig? Where was the landslip - it looks quite scary.

[Can you see, I'm trying to boost your stats this afternoon.]

Mike Knipe said...

Just a cuppla mies up the Minigaig from the South.
The lanslip is on a previous route of yours Martin - just after Gaick Lodge close to where the path meets the moors.

Phreerunner said...

I don't remember that landslip, and my diary for that day ( doesn't exactly yield any clues!
Did you notice I met Kylie on top of Mayar? Did you abandon her there?

Mike Knipe said...

The slip wasn't there, or at least wasn't significant when I passed that way a few years ago. I suspect its a product of the last winter.
I've mentioned it to Colin Tock because its something that vetters may wish to advise about.
Couldn't have been Kylie, she was snoring in the next tent. The minx.