TGOC 2022 - Torridon to Kinnaber Links (Days 9 & 10) - Bob Scotts Bothy to Lochallater Lodge via Braemar

TGOC 2022 - Torridon to Kinnaber Links (Days 9 & 10) 

Bob Scotts Bothy to Lochallater Lodge via Braemar

(Not as much swearing today...)

Day 09 Fri 20th May - Bob Scott's to Braemar 

14.6 km (291m Ascent)

Although some movement from the girls, who yesterday had said they would be away early, I was the first awake and up.
I needed to pop out for a comfort break.
I was still alive, so either I didn't snore, or the threats from yesterday were untrue.

Most were now sorting out gear when I got back (TBF, it's not too far to the toilet), and I proceeded to pack away my gear. I bade them safe journey, as the forecast for later that day was less than good, and they were heading high, and started towards Braemar.
No 2 nature had not called yet, and so I was hopeful for a sit down ablution at Mar Lodge.

It was a cool morning at this point, and a rather same-ish track much of the way yo Mar Lodge.
Easy walking as not too much up and down, and no nasty rivers to cross.
Plus the promise of a cup of tea and a biscuit at Mar Lodge.
I had skipped on breakfast, but only 7km to the Lodge, so not an issue.

I plodded on at a gentle pace.

Now, time in the hills, and toilet tales (and I have many over the years, just read old blogs πŸ’©) are never far from each other.
It was going well until I was about 1km from Luibeg bridge, but then the little voice in my head started saying. "Told you to go back at the bothy!"
It was ok, it, it was only about 4.5km to Mar Lodge now, and anyway, there were for some reason, what seemed like hundreds of people walking towards me up the slope in small groups, and looking at the sides, there was nowhere to hide away.
I decided to ignore that annoying voice and carry on......
The annoying voice was NOT to be ignored.
And it had already sent messages south to stir up trouble.
As I neared Luibeg bridge , the little voice came back.
"This is your 1 minute warning, and remember, the elastic is gone on that underwear, so if I was you, I'd get this shit sorted out", that was a literal request.
Nowhere near the track seemed viable, too much visibility, and going further on was a stream, so I had to go away from that.
Nothing for it then, as that little voice was beginning to rant instructions to other bits of my anatomy.
I turned a sharp left and headed upwards through the undergrowth, through a bog (pretty annoyed, as my shoes had finally dried out), and upwards until I finally found a big fallen tree in the middle of a marsh, about 150m off the track, and thankfully hidden. Finding a dry-ish place for the pack, I removed required toiletries, trowel, and dug a suitable size latrine. Thank God for walking poles to balance on, as this was both precarious/dangerous and prime tick undergrowth.
Five minutes later, and all was right with the world.
I was heading back towards the track.
Hopefully without any form of insect/archnid like invasion, and the little voice had ****ed off somewhere else.

Now of course, you didn't need to know any of that, but TBF, it's more interesting than describing a light brown track and weeds.

I decided at the small junction where the paths cross, not to go straight down to Claybokie, but for some reason, I would take the left fork up (yes, up) and then swing right down the track that comes out right opposite the entrance to Mar Lodge. I had done that bit of road too many times, regardless of how short it was from this direction. Actually some nice views from up there, although the double track down shown on the OS maps is a long way removed from the narrow, overgrown, rutted track that is the reality.

In places the track down is better than others,
but an LRT it definitely ISN'T

I bimbled the last bit down to Mar Lodge, where I went in for a sit down, tea and biscuits, rest my feet, and ponder the likelihood of a light drizzle of rain.
There were several people in there.
I spoke to all of them.
Several I knew from this years trip or over the years.
Sadly, my Biden brain cannot remember who anyone I spoke to was now, other than Lindsay and her son. 🀦‍♂🀷‍♂️
(Memo to self, next time take more pictures)

Well, it was time to head into Braemar via the woods route, as I just hate tarmac.
So it was off over the new bridge (where I had a call to do some work for someone, but had to decline due to being half way across Scotland. I did give advice to the problem though, and as they never got back to me, I assume that fixed it).

If you've not gone via the woods, then do it.
So much nicer.
Take the road from the bridge until you cross the stream.
Then carry on past the houses until just after the house on the right, where a track goes off to the left up to a large gate. Through here and then take the central track up the hill where a steeper track goes off to the right.
Carry on until you get to the pond, then go right round the far end of the pond, up to the track where you go left, and then right again up (don't be tempted down the big track).
Carry on through the woods, and 2 gates until you get to the trig point
(I am told that in my ignorance this is NOT a trig point but a toposcope by Louise and Alan. I am humbled & now better educated. Who knew eh... πŸ™†) that is hidden just off to the left. If you start to head down to a golf course, you missed it by a country mile (I have that T shirt from many years ago).

For the uneducated πŸ˜‰  ...  Toposcope - Wikipedia

From the trig point toposcope, follow the track down and round to the right to end up on the road into Braemar.

It was a wander into town to see what I could find, who I could find, and what was left, as the cafes seemed somewhat lacking in people , and I was definitely dressed in the wrong gear for the Fife, as I had no tweeds on, nor a blue rinse, although as it was NOT Pant season, I had no chance of that anyway. Mind you ,if the TGOC was in Nov, I have a wardrobe lady who could provide just the right outfit.... 😳

So I wandered around town, until I spotted Julie and Dave by the Coop.
Had a discussion about disintegrated underwear, where a fine tip was given (see later trip to the Braemar Mountain Shop), and then we went to the Fife for a beer, where we were allowed in as long as we vacated the table within 25 minutes as it was reserved for some posh clean people. πŸ™„

Beer was had, and then it was time to go to the coop to buy whisky and supplies, and then more importantly to the gear shop to find new underwear.

The advice given by Julie, as Dave had some, was that the Saxx Boxer shorts where the dogs. Not cheap, but excellent.

Well, they were worth a look IMHO, as the grey Rab ones I had as a free replacement to the Red Rab ones that had disintegrated a couple of years ago, where.... Hanging in there (literally).

Now, for the squeamish, I have NOT taken a picture of the old ones.
Too much hanging in there!

But below are the red ones from a couple of years ago.
Plus... I picture if the new ones.

Yes... The Saxx Boxers with the Ball Park Pouch really do work. πŸ˜€πŸ˜²

The original Rab destroyed shreddies
(don't ask or even think)

And here they are.

Now, at this point, and for those that are INTRIGUED about Ball Park Pouch.

To Clarify
1. The Mesh is that Colour
2. They have been washed
3. Yes they do work

In fact they are so good, that after I went back to the YHA, cleaned up and showered, I wore them as a tester into town.
They were so good, that the next morning I went and bought a second pair.
I was willing to carry a 3rd pair of shreddies to the coast!
The 2nd pair were a different colour.

So, as stated, I went to the YHA and booked into my room.
It was a twin I had booked when Keith was going to be on the Challenge.
Then, I was going to share with Craig, but his route had changed and so as luck would have it, it worked out well, as Carl shared it, while Gabriella shared with Sally & Laura.

Cleansed, I went back into town and met up with Carl and Gabriella, & later in the bar (Sally & Laura) and after looking around, off to the Fife for a 2nd attempt, where there were a few more in.

I wasn't being anti-social.
I was listening to the live stream of a funeral
in which my daughter was making a speech.

Sally, Gabriella, Carl & Laura
TGOC Family 😊

Later it was decided that the best place for a meal, was the Farquharson's Bar & Kitchen . We had to wait a while as it was crowded, probably because (my opinion) the Fife is so unwelcoming and ridiculously expensive. Now some may love the Fife, but for me, it is a never to go to hotel again.

The next 3 pictures I pinched off their website and FB pages.

As it was before the refurbishment

Obviously Taken in Winter

Inside view taken off their FB page

Well, what more can I say, REAL Ale, Good Food, and very friendly.
At least they were on the Friday Night.

Top evening, in great company and then eventually, back to the SYHA for some kip.
Not much pending for the Sat, other than breakfast, a slow bimble to Lochcallater Lodge via a Corbett, and a night of socialising.
Look, it's nights 9 and 10, it's mainly about beer and whisky and singing.

Not much left of the Braemar Lodge Hotel 😲

PS.... Carl Snores, and we'll NOT mention the farting πŸ˜¬πŸ˜¬

Day 10 Sat 21st May - Braemar to Lochcallater Lodge via a Corbett

13km (578m Ascent)

So we finally emerged from the SYHA at about 10.30, as they were chucking us out.
Went down to the Bothy Cafe for breakfast, which took ages and ages, as they also allowed ****ing tourists in. The delay worked out OK though, as it was now that I bought the extra Ball Park Shreddies.

Then we generally bimbled around, and I went off but failed to bump into anyone again.
It had rained while in the Bothy, and as we had a glimpse of shadow and sun I decided to head off to Lochcallater Lodge, me destination for the day.

As I got near to the cut off point I pondered on whether to go via the Corbett again.
Last few times, I had walked this with Gerry. It had become an annual thing.
There were rumours that Gerry was about, but our paths had not crossed.
Thinks .................. πŸ€”πŸ€”

Yeah, why not, it's there and not raining, even if it was a tad windy.

So off I went heading UP again.

This is a cracker of a route to the lodge.
The last bit of navigation from the summit down to pick up the path is very off-piste, but as long as you watch where you are heading, it's a matter of hitting the big track, and then making sure you find the rather indistinct path off it to the right that wanders down to the bridge near the Lodge and Bothy.

And I was at the Oasis of wonder that is Callater Lodge.

Looking up the Loch.
I scattered some of my Mum's ashes here in 2019

Bill's dog Zuri (sp?).
Lovely old boy.
Soft as..
Struggling with eyesight now πŸ˜₯

I cannot express how much I love being here.
It was funny this year to be here on the Sat, rather than the Sun, but, as it happens, it was to be a brilliant evening.
A small number of people, and a more intimate (in the good sense) evening of friendship and songs.

In the last few years (and this is my opinion), there have been some great folk there, that I really like, but a degree of getting utterly pissed by some to the point of being almost a burden.
I could even say that a slight disrespect to Bill and those that are there.
That is NOT I add, the intention, but just probably the lovliness of the place that some maybe relax too much to a point of oblivion.
And this is not really a criticism, as everyone that goes there is a top person.
Just that some lack that extra bit of self control on matters alcohol.

Anyway, this evening was a BELTER.
Mick and Tracey were there, even though Mick (he's done 20 OK!) had withdrawn.

If anyone has any video's or images of that night I can add, then please message me and I'll give you an email address.

That said, below is the TGOC song I did (using Andy Howell's lyrics)
Sadly like far too many in the last 2 years, Andy is no longer with us (IT WAS A SHOCK to me).
I recorded this after the even, as it's difficult to play it, and record it at the same time.

Press Play for the TGOC Song

Not that anyone would want to, but you can download the 
MP3 from here.

Download PP3's

TOP evening as I said.
Many many thanks to Bill, and all those that provided this wonderful place.
Shame Michael couldn't make it this year, but we'll catch up sir.

At some point it was time for bed.

Those in tents went outside, those who had blagged a room wandered up the stairs to sleep.

Tomorrow was another day.
It would be in great company, and fuck all visibility.

Its called the Challenge!

Final song as done at the lodge, and recorded later.
Gravedigger (my interpretation)
Originally I think by Willie Nelson
And an awesome version you should seriously listen to
By Dave Matthews

That said.
Press ****ing PLAY
on this one!
It's a Challenge Family THING!

See ya on day 11.
Another day.
Another song (God help you!)

1 comment:

  1. Cheers Neil.
    That would be nice.
    You can email on