TGOC 2007 (No. 4) Day 9 (Ballater to Tarfside)

Another longish day, that was not really helped by the force of the wind over Mount Keen

Suicide - Stray

Day 09 Fri Ballater to Tarfside via Mt Keen (37.7km 1137m)

After a rather blustery night, I packed away, and headed off over the bridge to eventually head to Mount Keen.

Taking the path out through the woods and over to Pannanich Hill before heading South and South East below Lach na Gualainn , contouring over to actually cross at the bridge.

The map above is not quite right.

It was a nice but blustery walk up, and not many pictures for some reason.

I took the old Mounth Road up to the Mount Keen and over the summit,
Indeed, I crawled over the summit on all fours as it was so windy, it was hard to stand.

As I dropped off the other side of the summit in a very stooped position and buffeted by wind I encountered a border collie. We nodded in a dog like way, and shortly afterwards his owner arrived.
We nodded also, and may have exchanged words that got whisked away in an inaudible whoosh before disappearing into the valley.

As I descended, the wind abated slightly and a rather more pleasant down than the up was experienced.

I dropped down, picking up Ladder Burn and then via the Queen's Well into Glen Mark.

Once down onto the road just past Kirkton, it was the familar trudge over via Westbank to Tarfside.
One day I would go over the Hill of Rowan.
One day, but NOT this year, that would not happen until my 10th in 2015.

And finally into St Drostan's for some company, and food, and as this was still only Day 9 , the Friday before the famous Tarfside Tuesday (I still had so much to learn about timing), I easily blagged a bed fore the night.

Yes, it's Bacon

Chris and Ian 

There may have been some cans of beer.

Sadly only 2 more days to go, as yet again, and foir the last time, I would go across in 11 days, and finish on the Sunday.

Still Rocking now (Minehead Jan 2020)


TGOC 2007 (No.4) Days 7 & 8 (Aviemore to Ballater)

And Yes, I know I should have been taken my time over this next bit.
It was all going so well, and then I did 3 days in 2 🤷‍♂️

Day 07 Thu Aviemore to Builg Burn (37.7km 1137m)

So, here is the thing, when I got up early (no, I mean early), I had intended only walking as far as Faindouran Bothy, but the best made plans eh...

It was a bit overcast higher up at the start, but still a nice morning.
I made good progress along the road up to Loch Morlich.

In fact when I got up there, the little cafe where the squirrel and bird viewing was open.
It would have been rude nay NEGLIGENT to bypass such an opportunity, and I went in for breakfast.

This was a short stop, and before long, I was on my way again, heading up the track to heads to Lochan Uaine 

I followed the track up and then round and down, looking at misty views of  Bynack More.
Then just after the boundary line, heading East(ish) to go via the low bealach just north of Dagrum, going between there and the 797 point and then drop down SE towards Faindouran Lodge Bothy

The small stream behind Faindouran
And that was it, it was some time around 13.00, could have been 14.00 and I had arrived.

So I dropped my stuff, had a mince about, as I was the only one there.
Had some lunch.
Thought about what I was going to do for the rest of the day (as you do), and then what with it being a nice day thought "bugger it, move on" and so I upped my gear and headed along the path in a very very Easterly direction along the Avon for quite some while.

A fuzzy Stob bac an Fhurain looking south from the LRT heading East from Faindourain Bothy

I don't know what it is like now, but in 2007 the track that follows the Avon up to the bridge was overgrown and bloody hard work. I would have been better climbing a bit and taking the LRT

All that said I finally got to the bridge that crosses the Avon and headed along the other bank to the Linn of Avon

At the end where the river turns south I encountered my only real obstacle of the day.

Where this map shows a Ford, there is now a bridge, but in 2007, there was no bridge, just 2 iron girders across.
Well, back then I was 'ard init, so with a full pack that still weighed a ton (inc the steak and bun, bur weirdly no alcohol), I just walked over the girder. 🙆‍♂️🤷‍♂️

It was getting on with time now, and after a short way down here, I was looking out for a decent pitch. No-one else about, and I assume they would have pitched up much earlier. I pondered on trying to get as far as the loch, but a short way down, I came across a really nice flat wide grassy bit by the river, and decided that was it. Popped up the Comp, and set to with a wee gas stove and a titanium dish I had picked up in the states, cooked my steak, lathered it with HP sauce sachets stolen from the pub in Aviemore, and had a mighty steak burger.

I have decided for an extra 75g, that dish is going with me in 2021, and I am MOST ASSUREDLY going to have some steak again, although my route does take me further south next time, so I won't be buying it in Aviemore.

That's a bit of pasta in the bowl, I had already scoffed the steak bun by then.

Day 08 Fri near Builg Burn to Ballater (37.7km 1137m)

Up reasonably early, I headed on down the track by Builg Burn to Loch Builg

Taking the track east at the loch over to Carndarvon Lodge and Bothy.

I stopped for a nose about, and then took the track onwards along the Gairn to cross the bridge at Daldownie

Following on the wide easy walking, I eventually turned left over thge river towards Tullochmacarrick.

Now, having crossed the river, and half way across the field towards the farm, I came across an excellent sign, that said

Beware of the Bulls   note the plural there.

Luckily there were none to be seen until 2/3 of the way, when I looked right and down the slope of the field and there was a rather large gentleman BULL.

No problem, they are not so fast at going (UP, or is it DOWN)
Hmmm. pretty sure it's down.

So I walked on.

TBH, they weren't the least bit interested.

Having survived, I turned right through the farm and headed over to Gairnshiel Lodge, and then a short bit of road before taking the track East over behind Delnabo and Tomnavey and east more to a rather poor track past Dalfad and over to Inverenzie and out to the road, the very very very long bloody road road to Bridge of Gairn (there must be a nicer alternative) , and then luckily a nicer track into Ballater, where I headed for the Camp site.

Ruins by the river Gairn near Tullochmacarrick

Looking back to the hills from near Gairnshiel Lodge

Bridge near Gairnshiel Lodge

Mount Keen in distance as approach Ballater near woods at Prony

River Gairn near Ballater from woods at Prony

Mount Keen in distance as approach Ballater near woods at Prony

The Bridge at Ballater in gloom from campsite track
It was destined to be a very windy night, I seem to remember.
I put my mini tent up away from the field and battened it down.
I watched a family arrive in a car, and put there large bedouin scale tent up under a bloody great tree.
I pondered on telling them, but heh... All adults right.

I then headed to the pub for dinner.
Either nobody else was going to be there, or I chose the wrong pub, or the wrong time.
I don't know.
But at some point, after several beers, I headed back to the campsite, and huddled up in my tent.

I'm pretty sure it rained, and it was a bit windy.

NOT AS WINDY as it was going to be heading over the top of Mount Keen in mist.

And that opening bit of music again, only live. :-) 

And MY GOD, this takes me back.
Isle of Wight 1970 Live
I was 16 at this and probably stoned!