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]

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Scotland - Day 3 (Braemar)

We had two possibilities in mind as we set out this morning. With the weather forecast being the best of the week, one of the options was to go up Creag nan Ghabhar, a Corbett just east of the A93. The other option was to simply walk a few miles up the glen to Loch Callater and back. As both options shared the same first mile an immediate decision wasn’t needed and up the glen we headed.

“You’re the birthday boy, so you get to choose” I said to Mick when we reached the junction of tracks.  The low route, he decided, maybe based on the tired legs, left over from yesterday’s efforts, or maybe based upon the unappealing look of the uphill option, with white hillside camouflaged against the white sky. It was not quite the weather that the forecast had suggested (indeed, the ‘occasional snow flurry’ turned out to be a constant very light snow, from heavy white skies, for most of our outing).

Underfoot today, the snow was even more powdery and soft than yesterday. It was like walking 7 miles across sand dunes. Ankle shaping, some would say. Certainly harder work that the gentle track should have been.

Having admired the frozen- and snowed-over Loch Callater, and having dismissed the notion of walking a circuit around it, into Callater Stables bothy we went for a bit of shelter for lunch. It was Red Leicester (the last of a Christmas Cheese Hamper present) with the rather-odd walnut and ginger chutney on our sandwiches today.

Callater Lodge

The view, towards the Loch, from beside Callater Stables

The return journey simply retraced our steps, with occasional views of yesterday’s hill, Morrone, as we went. Such was the soft powderiness of the snow and the very gentle gradient of the track that the return journey wasn’t an awful lot easier than the outbound one. Skis would have been handy!

Still, it was another good stretch of the legs and an enjoyable outing. It will be interesting to see the same glen again in different conditions when we head up there on the TGO Challenge in May. Hopefully it will be a little easier going then – and hopefully we’ll be a bit fitter too.

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