THE END IS NIGH ---- ISH
Days 10 to 14 - To the Coast
Braemar, Callater - Sheilin of Mark, Tarfside (cos it was Lynsey's Birthday), Edzell, North Water Bridge, Nether Warburton, Montrose
In which despite the best of intentions, Al's hurty knee lures us to Tarfside, and a lucky missing bridge saves us from going via Brechin.
This is the final part of the TGOC write up other than doing some reviews of the odd item of gear and how it held up.
I thought just for a change I would finish with a rather fine bit of Music that involves Snowy White - Midnight Blues
(and yeah, he is a lot better than me - A LOT BETTER!)
And to the journey .............................
OK, there may have been a long stop over at Callater,
but am I REALLY expected to remember????
There may be the odd slpellin mistyke and maybe an grammatical error or even misplaced apostrophes'
BACK TO THE PLOT...................................
This is going to mainly be photos with captions.
For most of 2 days I walked on my own,
and anyway, not much out of the ordinary happened really.
- I mean, you can't count the walk down to Callater, because well....You can't.
- The next day was BIG, so that does count
- Going to Tarfside doesn't really count because we have done it before
- Edzell and North Water Bridge don't count either, because they don't involve any hills.
- And the last day doesn't count because it is the last day.
So as you can see, there is really only one day left
Day 10 - Braemar to LochCallater Lodge
|I didn't bother with the start bit of the map from Braemar|
Just after the bridge, or infact just before, Al decided to have a rest, what with having a HURTY knee and all that. Phil had already gone across and so had I, so I hurried on to tell Phil that Al was having a hurty knee stop or something, and so we slowly made our way up the start of the track past the gate, where lo and behold, who should we bump into but this dreadful lot.
|Ian, Mick, John, and a hint of Lambert!|
|We stayed a while.|
Actually until Al arrived.
At which point, Ian, Mick and John left.
BUT, Al needed a rest
It was day 10, and I was pretty fit by now.
Just as I neared Callater Lodge, I caught up with John, and we walked the last bit together.
There appeared to be a large group of non challengers at Callater, attempting, maybe successfully, I don't know, to blag a hot dog or beefburger.
People often read the big sign about TGO Challenge, and then still assume that they can go in and get a cup of tea,
So after arriving, I managed to blag a room, and dumped my stuff, and then wandered around just generally chatting, and drinking tea.
It was a rather nice day, although the sun was not as good for loch pictures as it has been in past years.
And... LO, it was time for the festivities to begin.
And it was a grand night for all.
Now, if you were there, you don't need to be told, and if you weren't there, it is impossible to explain.
You just have to be there really.
AND I LOVE IT!!!!
|Bill's memorial that he built this year|
|Looking down to the lodge from the memorial|
|Water and stones in the loch|
|View up Loch Callater|
|Norman, Al, Jayme, Heather, ??? & Peter|
|Phil's picture of me asleep.|
Not that I had drunk anything mind, I was just tired.
Actually, I woke after this.
Day 11 - Callater Lodge to Sheilin of Mark
Purple Ron Hills? - Really?
They don't make them anymore do they? I wonder why???? :-O
|Alan & Bill|
The 20th Callater.
Suddenly after goodbyes and I have to say a double bacon roll, we were off up a hill
Day 11 is always a hard day...
Mainly for 3 reasons...
- It is often a longish day
- It usually involves a lot of up, and that starts from the lodge
- It is the day after the night at Callater... ('nuff said)
|Starting the climb up|
|Looking back down to the loch|
We stopped a couple of times on the way up, but soon I had shot off into a distant lead.
I waited a couple of times, but no one arrived and eventually, I just cracked on on my own, initially skirting round on the path, but then in a moment of madness, and because I didn't really need to stop, I took an off piste route up and then down.
Might as well not bothered, since visibility was no existent.
Instead I just went straight back down again across the wet boggy ground, eventually picking up the stream at the top.
|More old Canberra debris|
Once you hit the stream, and then the old fence line, it is easy navigation right down to the loch.
Well, maybe not the last bit, but as far as the falls and the flat stones it s very simple.
At the falls above the loch, my feet were moaning a bit, because to be honest, I had not stopped enough for them, so I had an extended lunch stop of about 30 minutes and aired them. I assumed that the others would turn up before I left, but as it happens that didn't happen.
|Bitching feet getting an airing|
|Looking down to Dubh Loch.|
Still very misty.
Visibility was good but hazy
|Another falls picture|
There is no obvious track from here until you get much nearer to the loch.
I just went down the easiest way I could find, taking care, because it was quite steep in places, and the rocks and the ground were very wet and slippery, and this ain't the place you want to have an accident.
By the time I got down to the Loch, I could just make out some distant figures making their way past where I had stopped for lunch.
It wasn't worth waiting for them here, so I decided to make my way down
to Glas-allt-Shiel and stop there, and get a brew on for when they arrived.
|Looking back along the loch|
In the distance you can see the water cascading down above the loch
|Looking out to the hills behind Loch Muick|
I made my way down for a water and second rest stop where it crosses the waterfalls coming down from Loch Buidhe.
While I was here a couple of walkers were going up.
They may have been German, nit sure, they spoke in English.
For some bizarre reason, they thought it was necessary to take their shoes of, put sandals on to cross this tiny stream, that I had just skipped across.
I showed them where I went, by actually going across and back.
Whereupon, they still proceeded to take of shoes, put on sandals, cross the stream, then take off sandals, and put back on shoes and socks... Oh well.
I had about 15 minutes here and then made the final descent to Loch Muick.
|Approaching Loch Muick|
|On the edge of the Loch|
|In the woods just before the Lodge|
Once I got to the Lodge though, I put my pack down, aired the feet, and got out the stove and made a brew of tea, and coffee.
Oh.. And waited, for what turned out to be quite a Looonngg time
But the sun was out.
The weather was lovely.
I knew exactly where I was going today.
The navigation was easy.
And I was in NO HURRY at all, so I just lay and enjoyed the weather, and the tranquility.
|View along the Loch from where I stopped|
|Looking up into the woods by the house|
"I am really sorry" said Al "I know you have waited for us, but we have had a rest, and we are going on"
No I didn't, I said something like
"Not a problem, I was enjoying the sun, and I was going to stay a while longer and then catch them up"
So, off the went, and I had another drink, and lay in the sun a while longer, and then popped on DRY socks, and eventually headed along the track, playing some music and probably crooning.
|Looking back along the Loch|
Eventually I caught up with them at Spittal of Glen Muick.
Here also were a few others including Dave Brown,Mick, Norman & Vicky and Toby (just marginally older)
Obviously that does not apply to Toby, because he is nearly as old as us...
Vicky and Toby headed off a bit ahead of us.
After a bit of a pause, we headed off up the Allt Darrarie too.
|Al, Dave and Norman in distance|
Before long, I had crashed on into the distance leaving them behind again.
Quickly catching Vicky and Toby
|View back down to Spittal|
|Vicky and Toby happy to put up a tent.|
Or...happy that I was moving on???
But last year, it was bloody late when we got there, and the weather was shite.
This year it was lovely, and I decided to crack on over to the Sheilin.
|View from the small bridge on the way up.|
I could not really call them, to tell them they had gone up far to early, so I carried on up, and then at the end took a compass bearing to get across to the Bothy.
I took a pretty straight line top the bothy using my compass, and one always feels rather smug, when a plan comes together
As I came over the last bit of heather, lo and behold :-)
|SPOT ON NAVIGATION|
|Tent up and a brew on|
However there is more to this evening than meets the eye,
because there is a Tale to Tell.
On arrival I was told about the cries for help that occurred about 2.00pm
The dutch boys and Willem and Dave Pickles had heard cries for help.
They had raced all over the Mountain to see what was happening, but eventually found no-one.
However, this being a very haggy hill, and easy to get lost, they had called it in.
Well, that night after a food and a couple of whisky's, and by now asleep in my tent I was woken by fireworks about midnight (may have been later)
"What twat send off rockets at midnight" I thought, and then coming out of slumber realised it was Mountain rescue who had come over the hill from Glen Lee looking.
Well, eventually after a chat with I think Dave, they went, and it was called in as an accidental false alarm or something.
Possibly they thought a Fox (I don't mean Willem either).
However, it transpires that it was some Challengers accidentally getting a bit concerned having got split up on the hill earlier and calling to try and find out where the others were, or something like that.
Read the Final Event notes from John to find out what happened.
On a plus note, everyone dis the right thing, and no one was hurt or lost.. so Result really
And back to ZZZZzzzz I went to wake early the next morning.
Day 12 - Sheilin of Mark to Tarfside
A short breakfast bar and collect some water, and then across the stream, and straight up the hill.
Half way up, I caught up with Mike and Martin (Angel), who I ended up walking with for most of the day.
In fact, I ended up walking with Martin all the way to Edzell.
By the time we got to the top of Muckle Cairn, having gone a bit too far left and straight over the top almost, we picked up the track down.
This used to be obvious, but now it is an unused LRT for the most part, and it is easier just to make a line down over the short heather, which is nice easy walking.
If visibility was poor though, you would need some proper compass skills, or hope your GPS was telling the truth.
And then we were up and over and down into Glen Lee
Stooping briefly at the start of the Loch, and then for a proper lunch break in the old Chapel at Kirkton
|Action Shot of Mick|
|Mick and Mike heading along Glen Lee|
|Looking across to Inchgrundle|
|The small graveyard at Kirkton Church ruins|
|Kirkton Church looking up the loch|
|Mick and Mike|
It was a rather excellent days, in rather fine weather
|The Keep at Kirkton|
|Looking back to Westbank|
Watch this space!!
|Along the track|
Ohh Yess... AND CHILLED CHARDONNAY! as it happens.
Someone was VERY VERY happy!
|A few of the Tarfside HERO's|
|Treeza at Tarfside|
I do believe at some point Sloman and Lambert arrived too.
But, they didn't put tents up.
They blagged a room in St Drostan's.
I could have done that, but to be honest, it was too nice to stay inside.
Well, apart from the million bloody insects that seem to want to COPULATE in a frenzy of Entomological Procreation all over my yellow Trailstar.
Well, I can tell you now, that some were eliminated at the point of ecstasy.
Or whatever they feel.
And then it was time to visit the Mason's Arms.
JUST to be sociable
Well, as you can see, NOTHING CHANGES MUCH THERE THEN...........
|All the Usual Suspects then .....|
Another year, another evening in the Masons, and another late meander back to ones tent.
Day 13 - Tarfside to Northwater Bridge (via Edzell)
Up early again, and packed, and then over to St Drostan's to grab a BACON ROLL for breakfast before the buggers run out, and pay JD my bill, and have a chat, and say thank you to all the volunteers that make it work every year.
Now, the original plan was to head down the road, and then over the Clash of Wirren, and doewn to Brechin and hence to our intended end point at Lunan Bay.
Phil and I were not sure about this from here, but Al was insistent.
However, AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, the bridge was boarded and wired up and condemned.
The route was a 4 km back along the road.
BUT... here is the thing.
There was NO WAY ON GOD'S EARTH, that we could face John Manning and say "ST CYRUS", not again ... NO SIR.
So, Nether Warburton it would be then.
Down the road, across the river, down the Esk, and then back across to the Rocks of Solitude and then Edzell and North Water Bridge.
ANYWAY, didn't someone say that Mike Knipe was taking 9 Litres of Homebrew there???
ALSO... I had promised to show people where the bridge was that was not yet on the maps to get back across the river.
So I headed off down to the Retreat meeting Dave on route, and then going with Mick and Martin to Edzell.
So, that is what we did, and it is in pictures below.
|Leaving the Retreat after a cup of Coffee|
Kindly bought for me by Dave Brown
|Flower that Mick is going to test me on, but I have failed and forgotten what it is called already|
|Crossing the Esk on the first bridge after Mudloch Cottage|
|Looking across to Milden Lodge|
|The Old bridge with locked gates at Milden Lodge|
|Mick along the Esk|
|View back along the Esk|
|Martin Angel and Mick|
|Where the old track used to go along the edge of the forest.|
Now it is down in the valley.
|Holmhead I think.|
|The second bridge near Auchmull|
NO ONE EXPECTS BULLETS
|View from the Bridge|
|Rocks Of Solitude|
Also we met the old chap that Al and I had talked to 2 years before.
His favorite river.
He always came here to walk his old dog.
Sadly she had died, but he was walking a new young dog, for a friend, so still got to come to his favorite river.
|Rocks of Solitude Path|
|The Esk again|
|The BLUE DOOR|
|Blue door from the road side|
|The Esk from the road bridge|
|The fields on the way to Edzell|
I dropped my stuff, had a coffee, and then went to get PIES, and WINE, and special Beer to take to the coast.
OK, it's just a can OK, but by the time you arrive at the coast it has MIRACLE PROPERTIES, especially if no one is expecting it :-)
After a good wait in Edzell, I headed off with Mick to North water Bridge.
|Always makes me smile this|
Followed by a reasonably sociable evening.
However, this year I was NOT going to fall foul of the RUSTY NAILS.
In fact, I remained quite sober, although I may have had some HOME BREW, and maybe some Whisky.
Al's Trailstar appeared to become a Social hub
Because it was all over (nearly)
Doubly sad, because I was now very fit, but knee operation was pending on 3rd June, and this would effectively knobble me for 4 to 8 weeks.
Day 14 - Northwater Bridge to the Nether Warburton
And so it came to pass that we headed off to the coast.
AND, not St Cyrus.
Yeah ok, almost but NOT, and that is the point really.
|Church near the Mains of Morphie|
|The stone of Morphie|
But we could see the rain coming, and as we left to walk to the Mill of Morphie, it began.
And it wasn't going to bloody well stop either.
So, with dampness on our brow, we headed to the coast.
|A first distant glimpse of the sea.|
It was still bloody miles, and it was going to
PISS down, just to make the finish lovely
To my mind this is FAILURE!
You carry your stuff from Coast to Coast and Sea to Sea.
That is what you do.
You don't leave it at the top of the cliffs, or in the Tourist Information Hut.
BUT, that is for other people's conscience.
If they think they did it then fair enough
BUT THEY DIDN'T
However, we did.
|Al and Phil at the finish on the beach.|
An hour earlier it had been nice
|Selfie on the Beach.|
The others had buggered off by now after I took their photo
|Phil and Al in the Tourist Information Building at Nether Warburton.|
See how happy they are now they have finished.
And they are NOT in the rain
And that is what makes them smile so much.
OR, it could be that we now had a taxi to take us to Montrose.
|Alan, Phil and Roger at the Park|
BUT AL & PHIL, the day before, had blagged rooms in the Park!
AND AL, who is no longer a grumpy fucker, BUT A BRILLIANT BLOKE, allowed me to stay in his room.
This was payback for several years ago, when I had done the same for him on our Strathcarron start, as the wind and rain lashed into tents out side.
BUT, I think he would have done it anyway, because we are mates , and he is a THOROUGHLY NICE CHAP!
And hence, it was just a short walk, and a bloody good shower and clean everything later, that we made our way to the Park, which was easy, cos we was in it INIT!
And had another evening in great company.
And really I can hardly be arsed to write any more.............
AND THAT WAS IT THEN.
NO 9 DONE AND DUSTED
Just the knee operation when I get back then, and apply next year for the
It had been another as always memorable year.
The company had been as always good (I have to say that)
The people we met were fantastic
The weather had been reasonable benign
(so Lord alone knows why over 50 dropped out)
All in all, it had been a Challenge!
BUT a wonderful ONE
BUT a wonderful ONE
And then we all went home