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]

Saturday 21 May 2011

Day 8 - Mar Lodge to Braemar

Friday 20 May
Distance: 8 miles
Weather: sunny intervals, one snow shower

Waking up in a proper bed, with the curtains still closed, I was able to lie there and imagine that it was a gorgeous calm sunny day outside. That's not what the weather forecast had predicted, and when I wandered down to the kitchen and looked out of the big windows there, I found that reality was that it was pouring down. "I'm not going out in that!" I declared.

Having been joined in the kitchen by Louise and Robert, breakfast became a prolonged affair as we all hoped the weather would improve.

Finally it did and by the time Mick and I stepped outside the sun was shining. That was a Good Thing, as it meant that rather than taking the four-mile road-walk into Braemar we could pop over Morrone of Morven (2818'). Even the wind didn't seem to be particularly strong - although that was perhaps because we were quite sheltered as we set out.

I don't quite understand what qualifies as being marked as a track on an OS map and what only qualifies as being a single-dotted-line path. The track we followed up the Corriemulzie Burn seemed to be a good obvious track to me, yet only qualified for the single dotted line. Admittedly it did degrade as it went further and, just as the map said it would, it gave out at about 600m.

There then ensued a knee-high-heather, very boggy yomp to get us onto the ridge, during which I did question myself as to why I felt the need to go over this big lump. If we had gone around we could have been sitting with a nice cup of tea and a slab of cake in a tea room, rather than wading through unavoidable bog.

Fortunately, whilst the ascent may have been a heather and bog yomp (and let's face it, we couldn't have expected anything else), we were reasonably sheltered on the ascent to the ridge.

Gaining the ridge we also gained a good track, but felt the full force of the wind, and that wind was strong.

As we reached the summit (which boasts excellent 360 degree views) showers were just coming in, so we took shelter (from the wind at least) behind the building at the top (this is a summit with a huge mast, and also the associated buildings). Incredibly, the shower missed us. As it reached the lump on which we were standing it split and went down the valley on either side.

With hands and feet freezing after just a few minutes up there, off we set back down. The next shower may also have missed the summit, but being on our way down it hit us. We didn't get wet, though, what with it being snow rather than rain.

The sun was threatening to come back out by the time we reached Braemar, where we (along with Louise, Laura and Robert, who we bumped into on the way) made a bee-line for the cafe for lunch.

And thus an afternoon and evening of socialising began, interrupted only by the need to pitch the tent and buy some supplies.

Having broken the walk from Corrour into Braemar into two days, we're now only a day ahead of ourselves, so tomorrow (Saturday) will be spent in Braemar, before we set back out on Sunday.

(Today's photo is of Mar Lodge, where we stayed last night. Not too shoddy a place for £15!)

Click here to go to TGOC Day 8a

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  1. Just caught up with your blog after several days of frustration getting my own posts to go.
    I can see you getting infected by the Mynro bug if you're not careful! The Devil's Point is a good one, and Cairn Toul, the one next to it is one of my favourites. I've just arrived at Hay on Wye and booked into a b and b. Tomorrow I will be doing that long ridge to Pandy - looking forward to that.

  2. Bet the cake tastes better after a boggy yomp and climb over a big lump!

  3. Conrad - I don't think that I'll be going out of my way to start bagging Munroes (famous last words, eh?), but I concede that it is nice to stand atop them in clear weather.

    Mike - Not only does cake taste better after a good walk, but it also makes it all the more justifiable to pig out with 2 tasty cakes!