TGOC 2016 - Braemar to Kinnaber Links

Day 10, a bimble to Callater via a Corbett

Samsara Blues Experiment - Waiting for the Flood

And so it was morning, and a packing of gear and lazing at the SYHA, then a wander into town to basically meander around and go to the Old Bakery and then maybe after talking to heaps of folks head down to Callater Lodge.

Pretty much how the morning went then.

Weather was not too bad, although a few shower were forecast later in the day.
So sometime a bit after midday, I grabbed some dosh from the machine for no apparent reason, and then hooked up with Jerry having decided that rather then go straight to Callater, we would knock off Sron Dubh, Sron nan Gabhar, Coire an Laoigh and finish on Creag nan Gabhar, then drop off down to Callater from there.

Well, it was there and the weather was not half bad at the moment.

So, we plodded down the golf course road, nipped over the small bridge and headed up the track to cut off right.

It is actually a nice route to Callater, even if it does involve a bit of graft.
In fact I may do it again in 2017 but add on carn Dubh, heading off a bit earlier than midday.

So after the summit, we could see the cloud building, and decided it was time to get down.
There are NO tracks that head down until you get much much lower.
Best bet is to just take a line that takes you over the easiest ground.
In poor visibility that really means a bearing. The route shown on the map is not as direct as our route down. We actually hit the track at about NO 171 841 and then went directly down to eventually cros the stream as shown on the map, dropping into Callater just before it started to rain again.
Which it did.

Now, normally I take a few photos of the Loch.
This year for some reason I didn't.
Maybe because it was hosing down with rain (again).

And also because it was more sociable inside.

So, here are a couple from an earlier crossing to show how bloody wonderful it is.

For truly wonderful, though head over to Mr Cotterill's web page...

Obviously this being Callater, all the normal bunch of reprobates and ner do-wells were there, along with a smattering of new folk, soon to be immersed in the Callater culture and as such damaged for evermore.
I did not have the old camera with me this night, so I do not have any pictures, but I am sure if you snuffle around the blog posts, you will find a lot of evidence.

In fact here you go, Mr Slomans Blog

Pilfered Off Al's Blog
Suffice it to say, that it was a long and eventful evening with much singing and merriment and beer and whisky, and that at some very late point I managed to fall asleep, and woke the next morning with a definite headache.

Day 11 Callater to Clova via 6 Munros

Bacon rolls were eaten, and tea and tea and then I was in a dilemma.

You see it is so easy to ignore your intended route and just wander off up a hill with a load of friends.

But I had to force myself.
And so after a small expedition with a large shovel, I packed my kit, gave Bill a hug and said aurevoir, and headed up the track to hit the 1st peak of the day, Carn an Tuirc.

This is a bit of a detour, I cut off the corner and headed to the highest point.
It is a bit of a boulder stumble at the top and seems to go on forever until you hit the top.

Luckily it was a clear day with bright blue sky (at the moment)

A distant fifure kept bobbing in and out of view.

Eventually we met at the summit.
It was James Impey.

We had a chat.
We were doing the same route, to the same destination.

Well, it seemed like an idea to walk together then, and so we did.

Dropping back down to the bealach and then up to the top of Cairn of Claise, and then the long excursion over to Tolmont.
It's not exactly on route, but it was there and just a we bit off to the left, before heading back over Tom Buidhe.

Hell is on it's way

From here was the long long drag across to Mayer.
A hill you can see for miles but it seems to take an age to get there.
And it did.

Not helped by the fact that as we approached the summit, the large cloud that had been following us, seemed to pause overhead (were it would remain forever until we were dropping off Driesh, and pounded us with wind and rain and wind and rain.
It is for this reason that the last picture is of Mayer (briefly)

The summit of Mayer, and it was already raining on us

Dropping off Mayer in a deluge we picked up the track and then cut left for the steep climb on dark rock to the summit of Driesh.

No pictures of this, although at the top we did bump into Fred.
Words were mumbled, and the rain continued to pound into us as we headed to the Hill of Strone.
This is a steep descent, and then steep ascent. Much harder than it looks, especially going down.
The Sneck of Farchal is a bit of a bugger. Especially when getting beaten by rain and the wet nasty slippery ground.

You feel once you get there, that the Hill of Strone ought to be a bloody Corbet, but it isn't.

The weather window cleared as we headed to cairn Inks and Cairn of Barns before dropping down to try and pick up the Minrie Burn

This also was steeper and more tufty than it looks on the map.
Hard going with some nasty wet steep slippery ground.

Towards the bottom were also some mad sheep.
James must have startled one, I don't remember seeing a sheep leap that high before, it looked like it was catapulted on springs before it charged down the hill.

After what seemed like an age and more we got to the open pasture at the bottom and crossing it we arrived at the road.

It was about to start raining again, and we made double quick time to get to the Callater Hotel before it pissed down on us again.

I had a two bunk room paid for since Martin was meant to be here.
James had nothing booked so it seemed that the perfect solution (if he could cope with my company) was for him to share the room.
We did a deal.
He paid for the food and that was it.

And thus we arrived at the bunkhouse, got settled in, dumped stuff.
Hung wet stuff to dry, and there was a lot of it.
Got cleaned and into some dry gear, and headed round to the bar for food and maybe a beer or three.

Quite a few folk were in, and another fine evening with Challenge folk ensued.

********************** Earlier Omission OMG *********************************

I have just been reminded of that evening.

Indeed after a start in the bar, I wandered off to see Mssrs Sloman and Lambert
(Les Trois Amigos had reformed, for one evening ONLY).
Where I hasten to add in wonderful company I had at times sadly missed this venture, was fed with something (I think it was a rather lovely soup) and wined on Red followed by more Red.)

Goes to show how your memory fades as you get older.

It was a lovely evening of chat and reminiscence .

Great mates...

NO..... I really do mean that...

Maybe next year in 2018 I shall be allowed to walk with them again...

Yes, that would be nice.
2017 I have a plan but 2018... Yes....Maybe....


Day 12 - Clova to Tarfside via the Goet and a bit of off piste

We rose early, went to the bar to get some breakfast, and then packed up gear and headed up the track to Loch Brandy, we were both destined to Tarfside, but I had The Goet to do, this being Top no 21

It was an overcast day, but OK.

We did the lower route over the causeway and then Broom Shank to Green Hill following the track across. James headed over above White Hill and I headed up to The Goet via Stony Loch

Stony Loch

The Goet
At the summit I headed back through the gate and then took a bearing to
Tom Titlach dropping down to cross the stream and then a steep climb up again to pick up the track to Wester Skuiley

I followed the track and then originally intending to head over burnt hill, bumped into Ian and an American chap whose name I forget totally, it being a year later.

Ian was navigating now, so I just kind of followed sheep like.
We were in some beautiful little valleys.
Taking in the scenery, Ian then realised that we were heading into Glen Effock, not towards Burn of Inchgrundle.
That is indeed the problem of walking and talking and lokking, but ignoring the obvious.

A big detour over some rather rough ground followed.
Yep, back to proper Challenge Terrain.

Eventually we blundered down a hill of heather to pick up the track that drops down to Inchgrundle.
Here we stopped by the stream for a spot of lunch and a foot rest.
I popped off the shoes and socks and lay back and aired the feet.
They do love a nice airing do feet.

We finished lunch and then dropped down to Inchgrundle.
The next 2 pictures I have unashamedly stolen from Ian's video footage.
He can sue me later.

Descending to Inchgrundle c/o Ian Cotterill (yep I nicked it Ian)
We continued along Loch Lee where we had another short stop to look at the old cemetery site and then off past the old Keep that looks like it has had some work done, because the tree is no longer growing out of the top parapet.

We carried on to Tarfside in some good weather. No Hill of Rowan for me this year, oh no, have the T shirt, ain't doin' it again.

And obviously, at Tarfside it was a visit to St Drostans, beer and tea, chats and hugs and all sort of stuff before heading to the green to put up the tent and then try and somehow get washed up and cook some food before heading to the Mason's Arms for an evening of beer and whisky and chats and songs and fun.

I have no idea why I have no pictures of any of it this year.
I had my phone, I could have taken some.

And then it was amble back to the tent and grab some sleep.

It appeared I may well be doing the bloody Blue Door - Rocks Of Solitude Tour again tomorrow.

Day 13 - Tarfside to Edzell and Northwater Bridge

And Lo, it was morning, and I went and paid my St Drostan's tab and had tea, and then headed down the road to The Retreat to meet up with lots more people for a late breakfast before heading down the road to cross to Glen Esk and follow the track to the cut off bridge of bullets and then the Rocks of Solitude walk to Edzell.

So many people on this stretch it was like a meeting of the Ramblers dysfunctional off shoot.

I won't say that the river had been high, but if you look at these pictures, the whole bridge was full of twigs and branches where the river had been over the top of it.
Now, bearing in mind it is about 15' from the bridge to the water, that was one seriously HIGH river.
The force must have been mental.

Now it is at this point that we must venture into the Millden Lodge incident.

Many years ago back in 2007, I had crossed the bridge at Millden Lodge.
This is a mighty fine wrought iron bridge.

I had accidentally approached it via a small track that I later discovered to be a driveway.
A lovely manicured area perfect for pitching that was the garden.
Another stone wall that I climbed over, and a very very bouncy bridge that had a gate at the end which I managed to negotiate since it was not at this point padlocked shut.
That said there was a sign at the far end saying.

"Dangerous Bridge do not cross, do not use"

Well, that was back in 2007, so it still appears to be up.

As we approached it there were three people attempting to get out from the locked side to the unlocked side.
One chap was attempting to climb over, and another chap was bashing the gate with considerable force whilst a chap looking somewhat distinguished was looking on.

At this point I was thinking.

FFS don't break the bloody thing you idiot, the Challenge will get blamed for vandalism.

Anyway, as it happens two of them headed back to go all the way round to the bridge.
They had navigated to here very badly.

The chap climbing over started to drop down and then suddenly plummeted with a crash and disappeared out of sight.

Thoughts of "Oh Fuck" sprang to mind.

Luckily he re-appeared ok, slightly shaken but no damage, the rucksack taking most of the blow.
We also discovered that the chap bashing the gate was actually the game keeper who was trying to get it open for them having given permission to cross.

So, really all was well, and we all headed up the track to find the bridge of bullets yet again.

Eventually after much walking, it is one of those places that never seems to bloody well arrive, we got to the bridge, amidst a large band of folk inc Martin B and Sue etc etc..

We clambered the hill while they went along the river.

Now apparently this lower route now goes, but I was not 100% sure having once got caught in all manner of brambled mayhem, so a race ensued to see who was right, and who had the best route.

At this point I need to point out that Neither Myself or Martin Banfield are competitive in any way. :-O

It turned out to be a draw.
Obviously neither of us had put in any extra effort.

And as a large gaggle, we proceeded to the Rocks of Solitude where we would stop by the seat for a spot of lunch and a well earned rest, whilst Ian and a few others went off to try and kill themselves by attempting to take pictures from treacherous positions.

And thus after food, the ENORMOUS Challenge Conga continued to Edzell, where the congregation overwhelmed the Tuck In. One of the great coffee and cake shops on the TGOC.
I headed down the road to the pie and wine shop to buy some food for the evening at NWB.
Important this, because there is bugger all there other than a vending machine.

Food was eaten, and then it was the short jaunt down the road via Chapelton to the track and NWB

Yes, yes, yet again I have no bloody pictures of this.

I really, really must take some more sociable pictures this year.

But tents up and cold showers as the boiler there seems to be permanently overwhelmed, it was time to be sociable to the early hours.
Which I was..
Including the making of the Sparkle Lion Video that maybe will never get the light of day.

I sooooo wish at this point I could remember all the conversations with Vicky and Sabine
and Sparkle Lion.

All I can say is this.
Sparkle Lion had been given some very poor treatment by a certain Mr Pooler.
The sort of thing that the RSPCA might be interested in had this not been a toy.
But....What sort of cad leaves their toy Sparkle Lion lying outside the in the porch.

Enough said about that.
I do believe he has learnt his lesson amidst public humiliation.

I just need to find out who has the video (VICKY), so I can add it to the blog.

The Final Day 14 - NWB to Kinnaber Links

Well, it was a reasonably early start today.
Only a short walk envisaged, and the route was to attempt to get to Kinnaber Links with as much off road as possible.
Alistair reckoned he had a pretty good route with some off road shortcuts, and so who would argue

We all headed off en-mass to cross the dreadful A90

We cut off the corner to the Mains of Gallery and then headed down the track just before the bridge at Marymill , past Craigo and on to Logie.

Here the track heads back WSW to the main road and then turning left a short distance further on there is a nice track that runs through the trees all the way down to come out by the hospital.
Going down past the memorial and then across at the junction to take the road out towards Maltings and right down to Charlton to the Farm shop for a special breakfast.

And fortified and resilient for the final push, we made the last short trek to the beach, made slightly longer by my appalling navigation.

But we all arrived anyway, and dipping toes in the sea, it was all over yet again.

Well, apart from the long walk up the beach into Montrose to sign out at the Park Hotel.

Where I hasten to add, I had a room... Oh Yes... Sorted

No Plasters

No Blisters

So, all that was left now was to catch up with all the old shower,
have a few beers and then plan next years :-)

We sat up until late chatting.
It was pretty damned excellent.

YEP... I do love the TGOC.