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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Pies Over Scotland. TGO Challenge Through the Cairngorms

Meikle Geal Charn

Where'd we leave our hero...? Ah yes - In his tent sucking on a bottle of scotch and croning Abba songs over to Andy in the next tent.
In the morning - whatever morning it was, I visited the little cafe by the Glenmore campsite. This has a squirrelarium where red squirrels - and lots of wild birds, come and eat nots and other goodies in full view of the customer who ought ot be tucking into a Full Scottish at this point - which is what I was doing. This place is a highlight of any TGO challenge routed through Bynack or Tomintoul or other such places at the Northern end of the Cairngorms.

Glen Avon

I walked with Andy for a while but lost him somewhere up the Bynack, and met him again covered in what appeared to be breadcrumbs but may have been the ossified remains of a small animal and, along with Wullie Clark fae Stonehaven we plodged through intermittent snow showers to the Fords of Avon where I left them and turned uphill for the bagging of Creag Mhor - an easily bagged Corbett just about 600 feet higher than the Fords of Avon.
Shortly, I came to the snow level and found it to be mainly thin and soggy but with the odd deep bit provided for variety and surprise. The first top came underfoot just as the world turned white. I worked out some detailed navigation for the second top which suddenly appeared, suprisingly in the right place about half a kilometre away  and marched over to it just as it disappeared again. the top is a small granite tor of slabs, but a fierce blizzard started up and I had to hide in the rocks for half an hour till it subsided before I could teeter up the slab to the highest but. During this wait, a mars bar, some squirty cheese and two oatcakes received fatal damage. When in doubt, stuff yer face.

A GPS waypoint for Faindouran bothy gave a remarkably gentle route in a straight line, the enjoyment of which was only dented by the fact that the GPS kept turning itself off.
I arived at the bothy and brewed up. Other Challengers arrived. there were dark rumours of a large party of Glaswegians carousing their way down Glen Avon to occupy the hovel. I left and found a bonny spot beside a small beck about another five kilometeres down the Dale.

More Glen Avon
 having actually bagged something, and with some resistance from the elements, I felt that a short period of celebration should be allowed. This consisted of Beatles rock and roll songs (from the anthology) and about 40 cls of scotch I'd carried from Aviemore. This had, apparently, no effect till at 2:30 a.m. Mr Bladder came to call and I had to stand up. That is to say, I attempted to stand up but found myself in deep heather. It was a nice night, though and I was still happy, so I did whatever it was to satisfy Mr Bladder and slithered back into the golite for another six hours snooze.
And then it was the next day.
I wandered down Glen Avon, being bombed by lapwings and in the occasional company of two challengers who's names I failed to bother to ask.
After a bit, I turned Right (uphill) and climbed a track and some soggy heather to the top of Little Geal Charn. This has a fine view of the snowy Cairngorms.

Brown Cow Hill

And then on to Meikle Geal Charn. Which had some thin snow and an even better view of the Cairngorms and Lochnagar, both of which looked alpine.
The it was deep snow and the wide top of Brown Cow Hill. I have no idea why this plateau should be called Brown Cow Hill, but it is. And it's another Corbett.
I navigated off in snowy squally and through riven peat hags and , finally, down to Corgarff Castle and the hotel at Cock Bridge, which was occupied by TGO Challengers. The accomodation arrangements were chaotic. I'd ben told I could camp round the back, but other Challengers had been refused. Those who had booked rooms had only their first names recorded and there were doubts as to who had a bed....

Corgarff Castle, Cock Bridge
 But the food was fab. I had a magnificent steak. (Shtum!) and the farmer from down the hill said that we could camp in his field with the four tups. There'd be no bother from the tups, he said, and, indeed they were nae bother although one did snore and another had a bad bout of flatus and I had to let him out of the tent eventually.

Military Road, Corgarff

As I crawled into the akto, full of steak and beer, I couldnt help noticing that the old thing was stiff with ice.
Would I survive the night?
How could I carry on when I'm enjoying myself so much?
Why doesn't somebody stop me?
More follows during which there is sunburn and an actual shower (yes folks, I had a wash!)
Stand by...


Dawn said...

You did well Mike, navigation in those areas can be tricky. Very impressed. Glen Avon is pretty. Some fantastic photos too. Waiting for the next installment with baited breath!

Mike Knipe said...

Aw it were nowt, Dawn. I just ehaded for the North Sea as it's a very big target.

chrissiedixie said...

No mention of the dreaded ticks yet Mike. Where they all frozen?

Mike Knipe said...

I did find one tick crawling up my arm at Loch Monar, Chrissie. It didn't taste of much - a bit nutty, maybe but I probably overcooked it.

Anonymous said...

40 cl of Scotch? Erm, that's quite a lot, isn't it? I phoned that hotel from somewhere in Glen Loin / Glen Avon. The conversation went "Hello, do you have any rooms available for tonight, please?" - "Yup". "Could you keep one for me, please" - "Yup". "Er, OK, see you later". I was a little concerned I'd phoned the wrong number, but there was a room waiting for me when I got there, and he made me some dinner even though it had just turned 9pm. Oh, and there was beer!

Mike Knipe said...

Judith - 40cl of scotch is indeed far too much. It just seems to disappear somehow. maybe I spilled some... anyway it was snowing outside the tent so I had to cheer meself up...