Friday 22 May
Mona Gowan (NJ336058; 749m)
My kipping spot on Thursday night was perfect for my needs. Nice and level and, being 300m down a dirt track, gloriously quiet. I’d arrived there just after 1pm and tested it quite thoroughly, in that it was quite a cool afternoon and, being low on gas, I didn’t want to run the heating, so I curled up under a blanket with my book and promptly fell asleep for a few hours. Even when I did wake up, the weather wasn’t such that I was enticed out to explore my immediate surroundings.
Friday didn’t dawn too badly though, so by 7.30am I was pulling into a parking area for a quick walk up Mona Gowan. Then, briefly, it rained on me, which was a bit antisocial and certainly not in the forecast I’d seen.
The best sort of track. Pity it only lasted for 50 yards before becoming more classically ‘tracklike’ again.
I’d been in two minds as to how to approach this hill and I’m glad I came from the south west as it proved to be unexpectedly easy, in that a new track has been built which took me above the 650m contour, leaving me with less than a kilometre to yomp to the top. On the way back down I found a decent trod joining the track to the top; pity I didn’t find it on my way up!
Not a nice track, and quite an eyesore, but I was happy to make my ascent easy by walking on it
I’d just sent Mick a text to tell him where I was (I send him a dated and timed text from every summit so that if I do go missing then at least he’ll know where I was at a certain time) when my phone rang, and it was the man himself, so I sat myself down for a chat. It turned out that he’d got thoroughly wet through on Thursday and, not feeling inclined to pitch in the pouring rain, had walked on further than intended, which in turn meant he was a lot closer to Ballater than he was supposed to be, and as I was meeting him in Ballater (his first campsite of the trip – he was more than ready for a shower!), I thought I’d best get a wriggle on to make sure that I got there before him. I did, of course, take the time for a few summit photos…
An ascent powered by audiobook
…before I turned and retraced my steps.
The stats for this one were 5.6 miles walked with 1300’ of ascent.