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 21 May 2013

Day 10 - Braemar to Water of Mark

Sunday 19 May 2013 (0815-1630)
Distance: 17.25 miles
Ascent: 2300'
Weather: morning: grey, damp mist; afternoon: sunny
Number of working wrists we have between us: just 2

Poor Mick! Not only did I have him walk over 17 miles today, when he was full of cold, but he also managed to submerge himself in a stream. However, that wasn't until just before lunch, so let's leap back to the beginning of the day.

After no small degree of faffing, we left the campsite (where it turned out that we had chosen the worst pitch - we found Vera to be sitting in a puddle when we returned to her last night and had to move her to drier ground), and the first task of the day was to get ourselves to and through the Ballochbuie Forest. We've headed that way a few times before, but today the distances didn't seem as far as I remembered them to be.

A while later we broke out of the forest (a lovely old forest, not a commercial plantation) and saw ... absolutely nothing. When we had been shrouded in mist even at the campsite, it didn't bode well for a day of views.

The lack of visibility gave us no visual references against which to gauge our progress and it seemed that we were spending forever gently climbing up to the high point of the track. We knew that there would, on a different day, be a stunning view of Lochnagar to our right to capture our attention, and the Corbett I'd planned to nip up should have been visible on our left.

There was no way I was going to be motivated to go up any hill in that level of visibility, so on we plodded. We had finally reached the top of the track when the first hint of sun shone through the damp murk, and I assumed it to be just a solitary hole in the cloud, rather than a hint of an improvement in the weather. But no! Slowly but surely the cloud grew thinner, the views grew greater and by the time we were lunching at the picnic tables in Glen Muick, we were bathed in sunshine and all of the tops were visible.

The sunshine, and the warm temperature today, were a blessing for Mick, who, not far before Glen Muick had taken a very nasty slip when crossing a burn. Down he crashed, into the water and came up sodden.

It looked the sort of fall that could have done a nasty injury, but he insisted that he was okay. It took him a while to realise that he couldn't move his left wrist very well, and then to notice the bruise and swelling. What a pair of crocks we are!

Anyways, after a good long break in the picnic area, off we headed up a horribly muddy path to reach Shielin of Mark bothy, outside of which we found three generations of the Fowkes family. They weren't done for the day and soon moved on, but before they did we must have reached the peak time for arrivals. Within minutes there were twelve of us.

With no alluring pitches around the bothy, we have headed a little way downstream - not that there's any improvement in the lie of the land down here, but it's nice and quiet, save for the gentle babble of the water.

The afternoon, which warmed up somewhere towards 'roasting' (or at least, warm enough for me to be walking in my shirt sleeves) has stayed fine, and even as I type this at 1830 (oooh, must be time to add the rice to our rehydrating dinners) it's warm enough to be lying around in the tent trouserless and jacketless.

(The photos were taken about 4 hours apart; the views were definitely better this afternoon!)

Click here for Day 11

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1 comment:

  1. Sunday - inversion day - pleased to hear you enjoyed it from lower down as well.
    You've missed Sue - she's at Tarfside tonight (Tuesday)