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!

TGOC 2007 (No.4) Days 4 to 6 (Cannich to Aviemore)

The next 3 days are here, but have few images really for Day 04 until near the end, but there is a good anecdote from my abortive 2009 venture that I will tell.

R.L. Boyce (Jumper on the Line) [Banging Slide Guitar Babes]

Day 04 Mon Cannich to Drumnadrochit and Loch Mhor (30.2km 762m)

So, morning start from Cannich, and then a road , then forest then road walk to Drum, where some extra supplies and a beer may or may not have been in order.

Anyway, to an anecdote from 2009 (the 2nd time I had to withdraw in medical grounds, the 1st being a broken leg).

But in 2009, I came via Tomich and then across to Drum, but for some mad reason, I came out of the woods and hot the road too early.
Also, I had sore feet having done a stupid day from Cougie to to Drum in a day 🤦‍♂️
So back to the anecdote.

I has walked a fair bit of road, and was sitting just inside a bus stop, tending to my feet with a rest and tape, when a small blueish car pulls up.
The window winds down, and a lovely wee old lady leans over and asks me if I want a lift to Drum.
I explain, that I would love one, but I must walk it all, as I am doing the TGOC.
We have a wee chat about it, and she drives off.

I am getting near to Drum after an extended rest, when the same car pulls over again (heading the other way).
I pop over, and the window winds down again.
"Here you are young man (I'll take that, I was 55)" and she hands me a bag of treacle toffees.
"That should get you ta where you're going"

And with a thank you and a wave, she drives off home.

Some days, you have to LOVE people 😍😁👍

And, that's exactly what I did, meeting up with some folk, grabbing a beer, and making the evening ferry across the Loch.

A couple of the following pictures are from 2007.
The ones with the nicer looking weather are 2009 , just to give a view of the Loch and the boat, as the weather in 2007 at this point was a bit blustery to say the least.

These next few are 2009, with nicer weather

The last one is the quay at Inverfarigaig.
Now, imagine getting off there in choppy conditions, because
that IS where you climb up!

From the ferry landing, in less than ideal conditions, we took the long walk up the road, and I headed past Ault-na-Goire not knowing it was there, and all the way to the road to Farraline.
But, by now it was getting late, so sneaking into the woods by the side of
Loch Mhor, I managed to find a small enough piece of ground to pitch up.

It rained a bit, but the views as the sun set where rather spectacular.

Steve and Pete pitched up

Rain coming in
Tent Views

Sunset pictures

And then it was time to sleep for a reasonably early start the next morning.

Day 05 Tue Loch Mhor to Coignascallen (22km 845m)

Up camp and down the road to cut through the back of Farraline, and pick up the often indistinct path over to Dunmaglass.

Approaching Dunmaglass Lodge

All these views are now ruined by the Wind Farm (I say farm 🤦‍♂️)

Heading to Carn Odhar
It was a trudge up and over the track and then onto the more open moorland to finally hook up with the Allt Calder and track the river down to the main Findhorn track.

Choose the right route, and these are fabulous hills.
Views of wonderful plateau's and valleys, now sadly ruined by so many massive Wind factories.

Once down at the Findhorn, it is just a shortish walk along to get to the camping spot by the bridge before Coignascallan. AND YES, I did camp there last year, but I arrived this time from a different route.

Can't remember who arrived. Definitely Steve and Pete, and maybe some others.
That's my Red Laser Comp (now owned by Sandy Millar)

Day 06 Wed Coignascallen to Aviemore via the Red Bothy (24.5km 830m)

It was a nice start the next day, across the bridge and the field to then go across the grass and the river, to take the track up, and then cut ESE over open ground to take a bearing to drop down to the Red Bothy.
I love doing this bit, as really, there are no real tracks, you just need to take a bearing and look at th ground and geography

Ready to leave over the bridge, and the open grass to the river diagonally opposite

Dropping down to the track that leads to the Red Bothy
 A brief stop at the Red Bothy, and then up and over the Dulnain and over the Burma Road to drop down to Aviemore.
AND yet again, I didn't do that outlier Corbett 🤷‍♂️

Easy walking, but the Burma Road is an enormous scar visible for miles

Peter nearing the top
Then the drop down, the little bit near Lynwig, and that bloody walk up the road again into Aviemore.

Now, here is the weird thing.
I assume there was food and drink in the pub that night somewhere.
I did walk up to Tesco and buy a bit of steak and a bun for the next day
(Humphrey would be proud).

BUT... I cannot for the life of me remember who else was there.
Nor, can I remember where I actually stayed 🙆‍♂️

I am assuming the same bunkhouse and the pub next door from the 2006 Challenge.

So. that's it.

You'll have to wait for days 7 and 8, that get me to Ballater (yes, 2 days).
Much will depend on the weather tomorrow.
If it's crap I'll write it up..