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]

Friday, 17 May 2013

Day 8 - Mar Lodge to Braemar

Friday 17 May 2013 (0920-10.50)
Distance: 4 miles
Ascent: very little
Weather: dry with sunny intervals

It was a leisurely start involving more than one cup of tea, and sufficient watching of the breakfast news to enable us to double check that the weather forecast for tomorrow is not as good as we would like.

Then it was a stroll into Braemar, taking the path through the forest rather than the road. There are some forestry operations going on, but only for the first half a mile, whereafter the old paths were as pleasant as ever.

Being a bit early to pitch up at the campsite, our first port of call was the Old Bakery where we ate a meal nearly as big as last night's offering at Mar Lodge, before waddling down the road to join the tent town (which tomorrow will no doubt swell to be a tent city).

Having splashed out on washing, we're now attired in fresh, clean clothes and a stock-take has shown that only a few groceries are required before we head out of town tomorrow.

Finally, we are meeting lots of other Challengers, so chatting has been the order of the day. I'm sure there will be plenty more later too.

Wrist update: it is still very painful and swollen, but no longer bruised, and I can now wiggle my fingers. My firm self-diagnosis is a nasty case of tendinitis and I have to now conclude that it's not going to get better whilst I'm still walking. It's surprising how much hands are required for this walking malarkey (although in truth, it's the camping, not the walking that's the main problem). Amongst many annoyances and inconveniences, I can't even put my own backpack on. If I was solo I think I would have been on my way home on Day 2, so it's a good job I have a helper to hand (he even cut up my lunch for me today, much to the mirth of others in the cafe!).

(Conrad - no Munro agenda, but I do like a summit (of any, or even no, classification) on a fine day. We spoke to someone today who went around the side of the hill, rather than over it, and confirmed that it was an arduous yomp, as we suspected it might be. Does your lack of recollection of the hill suggest that you did it in poor weather (and so didn't see it) or that they all merge into one blur after a while?

JJ - four shin-high channels rather than one deep channel. Still a lot of water either way, although probably not as much as if we'd arrived there a couple of days earlier.)

Click here for Day 9

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  1. The Old Bakery is a cracking eatery - I spent rather too much time in there last year!
    Glad to hear (see?) that you're both doing well. Sadly the weather for tomorrow doesn't look too sparkling.
    Are you having a rest day in Braemar?

  2. I often reminisce whilst lying in bed about the many ascents, most of which I remember well. There is no question of of overall blurring, but I think you are probably correct. If you set out in poor weather, particularly on a quick up and own single there isn't much to remember. What puzzles me about that one is that there is a large, significant reservoir on the way, but that could have been invisible in bad weather.

    I also have memories of that bakery, and also of a "blur"moment in the shop that sells Paramo. I already owned a Paramo jacket (smock version) which had always irritated me, but which I couldn't justify replacing with the zip up jacket on cost grounds. I went into that shop with no intention of purchasing and came out twenty minutes later with the new jacket, and another complete memory blank, and a considerably increased balance on my Visa card.