The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Scotland - Day 18 (Drumochter)

Anyone paying particularly close attention will have noticed I said that yesterday was our last day of walking for this holiday. That left me feeling a little robbed, as originally we would have had an extra couple of days, but an appointment was forcing us back south a little earlier - a situation which wouldn’t have been so bad if the weather hadn’t been so spectacularly good.

To ease the feeling, last night I started looking at what little lump lay close to the A9, which we could nip up on our way home to enjoy one last dose of snowy views. It was Mick who suggested that I should look at what lay either side of the Drumochter Pass. Genius! Rather that finding a little hill, we could drive up to 1400’, without even leaving our route south, and go up a bigger hill!

Geal-Charn was the chosen objective. With the summit being just 2.5 miles away from the parking area, with 1600’ of ascent, it was the perfect objective which would still allow us to get to Ma-in-Law’s house in time for tea (albeit a slightly delayed tea from when she might have wanted to serve it).

The only slight fly in the ointment was that we didn’t have a map for that area, but with there being no possibility of the weather deteriorating, during our outing, from the clear blue skies which have prevailed over the last few days, I didn’t feel too bad about breaking the cardinal rule of ‘take a map, a compass and know how to use them’.

A group of five from Belfast set out at the same time as us, and for a while we walked along with one of them, until he realised that he had left his companions behind. Being on a schedule, we didn’t pause with him, but positively charged up the hillside (showing a degree of fitness which was certainly lacking three weeks ago) pausing only to don Microspikes when the slipperiness started slowing us down.


Snow-free on the summit, unlike the ascent route

Within an hour and a half of setting out we were tucking into our flasks and sandwiches on the summit, and drinking in the views. The views were slightly curtailed compared to yesterday, with a haze in the distance,but it was as windless and as sunny as the last few days have been. Gorgeous!


Downhill was, understandably, faster than up, which was a good thing as if we had been any later we wouldn’t have made it in time for that all-important roast dinner.

As it went, even after getting stuck behind the slowest-lorry-in-the-whole-world-ever, we did make it in time for that roast. And, with the location of said roast being in Yorkshire, I think I can now safely say that our Scotland trip is over and there will be no walking up a snowy hill tomorrow. Only two and a bit months until the TGO Challenge though!


  1. If that was you as unfit for our first walk, there's absolutely no hope for me. But then, I knew that.

    See you soon!

  2. I can see Munroitis creeping up on you. Fabulous views of Ben Alder etc down Loch Ericht.

  3. A lovely trip, you two. I knew we should have stayed for an extra couple of weeks.
    Chris Townsend and Terry BND have also been enjoying life in the Cairngorms...