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 19 February 2013

Scotland - Day 10 (Tomintoul)

Off to Tomintoul we tootled this morning, under more stunning blue skies. The blue skies did, of course, mean that it had been a cold night, which was to our benefit, as the ground was frozen solid. No mud for us this morning!

Carn Daimh was our objective for the day, which is the one indicated by the shakily-drawn arrow in this snap:

Carn Daimh

The problem of being in our current location, to the north of the Cairngorms, is that when we’re out walking the sun is never in a good position for a picture of the snowy tops. Today’s effort used the shade of some forest to stop the glare, but it still doesn’t show the glory of the view.


The Speyside Way provided our route to Carn Daimh, except that we took a bit of a detour as we passed through a forest. It seemed a shame to be in the cold cover of the trees, without any views, when we could walk a parallel line, less than 50 yards away, outside of the trees. Back on the path, it was a bit snowy:


Happily, the snow was firm under foot, so very little post-holing for us today.

Lunch, on top of the hill, didn’t come a moment too soon for my rumbling tummy. There was a bit more of a breeze (and thus wind-chill) than yesterday, but even so it was nice sitting there in the sunshine, with 360 degree views.


The view to the NW was of the Cromdale Hills, so it was coincidental that whilst sitting there I received an email from Louise asking what the snow conditions were like on those hills. I confess that I would have had no idea that I was looking straight at them if it hadn’t been for the thingamybob that was right behind me (someone, please put me out of my misery. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of one of those round plates that gets mounted on top of hills which tells you the direction and distance to other hills/places).

Having eaten our sandwiches and drunk our tea, a decision had to be made. The route that I’d plotted was a circular walk, but it involved dropping off the hill to walk a circuitous route through a forest plantation. It seemed criminal on such a glorious day to put ourselves in a location where no views would be had. So, instead of following the plan we simply did an about turn and walked back the way we had come, enjoying the sunshine and views all the way, bar one little forest interlude. The snow was somewhat softer on the way down, mind, and the frozen terrain had become mud once again.

Back at Colin, and after a restorative cup of tea (for today’s excursion I forgot to pick up a bottle of water and my hanky; I really do need a checklist for every time I step outside!), an amble was had into Tomintoul itself. What can I say? There’s not a lot there!

In different conditions, we would have spent the night parked up there for another walk in the vicinity tomorrow, but with the skies so clear there’s the promise of another very cold night, and whilst Colin is ‘winterised’, even with the tank heaters on all night there is just too much danger of water freezing somewhere in the pipework where we don’t want water to freeze. So, back down to Grantown we retreated, where (with the benefit of electric hook up), we can leave the heater on low all night.

(Stats for the day: 9.5 miles; 1500’ of ascent)


  1. Just one tiny, little thing. Could you save some of this glorious weather for May please?

  2. I think toposcope is the word you were searching for!

  3. I've always called them topographs.....but I know nowt! 'Toposcope' sounds much better.


  4. Thank you both. It was driving me mad not being able to remember (I confess that I did, in fact, check my phone for an answer in the middle of the night, when I was still searching my brain for the right word).

    I have also always known them (well, until the word fell out of my head) as topographs, but toposcope does seem like an appropriate description.

  5. Hereabouts it's a 'table d'orientation' - so now you know.....