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]

Monday 11 February 2013

Scotland - Day 2 (Braemar)

Call us unimaginative if you like, but when the day dawned far nicer than forecast, we decided that Morrone seemed like a good objective. The top, this time, not just some random point half way up.IMG_5084

As an added bonus, we could see the top today, albeit it was a bit white-on-white.

A different route was taken, first heading along a minor road to the south for a few kilometres, so that we could take the navigationally easy option of following the track that heads all the way up to the summit. The snow that had fallen on us yesterday had become heavier overnight but even the extra few inches on the ground couldn’t obscure the line of the track.IMG_5090

See, it’s obvious, innit?

Navigationally things may have been easy, but the going underfoot was sometimes arduous – particularly through the deeper drifts.IMG_5093

No drift at all here, but I’m surprised at how many blue-skied shots we have of the day. I don’t remember the blue sky, and it was only a few hours ago!


That was one of the deeper sections and it was hard going for my unfit legs! It was steeper than it looks in that photo.

I was desperate for a sit down, a cup of tea and a bite to eat by the time we were a mile short of the summit, but by then we had lost the shelter we had been enjoying and it was clear that the only sensible place to stop was in the lee of the buildings atop Morrone.

Eventually we finished our uphill snow-wading and made it to the top and the sandwiches were most welcome (although I’m not sure about the combination of both walnuts and ginger in a chutney). Being hit full in the face by a snowball (launched at me by the roof of the building behind which we were sheltering, when the wind shifted) suggested that it was time to move on and in the absence of any hint of a path from the summit (nor indeed any other bootprints) we just headed off in the general direction of Braemar.


Not the most attractive summit, but the lee of the buildings was a good place for lunch.

It had taken us just over three hours to reach the top (in fact, so slow was my ascent that the GPS gadget spent much of the time auto-paused; I should have learnt by now that I need to disable the auto-pause feature before tackling hills), but it took us less than an hour to get back down again. In the absence of any hint of a path we simply took a direct line.

Some of the snow was scoured, hard and icy. More of it was deep, soft and good fun.


Goose-stepping? Doing the can-can?

We were about half way down when we finally encountered evidence that someone else had been on the hill today. In fact, it seemed that a few people had made it to the half-way point before retreating. We didn’t follow their footsteps back down as in some places they hadn’t half taken an odd choice of line.

With thoughts of hot showers and hot chocolate in the front of our minds, we didn’t tarry as we passed through Braemar, but made a beeline for Colin.

In retrospect, it was a jolly good day out. For three quarters of the day, my feeling was that it was just jolly hard work!

The circuit was 8.5 miles with somewhere in the region of 1900 feet of ascent.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun.
    Except for the snow.
    I'm being a bit wimpy about snow.
    It's hard work and I'm inherently lazy.
    (And it scares me a bit at the moment :-( )