Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Thursday 15 September - Deeside Physiotherapists

This holiday and the July one in the Lake District have both been marred slightly by a nagging shoulder/back muscle problem. In the Lakes it got so bad I went to a GP in Keswick who was utterly useless. He could barely drag himself out of his chair to examine me - Co-codamol tablets was his solution.

Here in Braemar I decided to visit the excellent Dr Cruickshank, although I'd already decided that physiotherapy would likely be the best course of action. He agreed, so on Wednesday I saw Richard in Aboyne and ... On Thursday we visited two old favourites, Glas Maol and Creag Leacach. I didn't really expect any great improvement after one treatment but I was wrong and whereas prior to physiotherapy I would have been stopping every fifteen minutes or so to remove my sack and massage my shoulder, on today's walk I felt no pain at all.

Early morning sunshine didn't last and we shared the misty summit of Glas Maol with a couple out for the Munros. With that all behind us we felt no pressure to push on but eventually decided to go out to Creag Leacach. The sun shone.

On Friday we walked out to White Bridge and up Glen Dee - very little pain - and today another old favourite Carn a' Gheoidh. Perfect day. Shoulder likewise.

Thumbs up for Richard and Deeside Physiotherapists.

I don't suppose the photo will appear. Don't know who to blame Google or the site wi- fi.







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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Derry Lodge

Note: photos at end of post. What problems getting this post to go!

As we drove the beautiful six miles from Braemar to Linn of Dee we wondered if we'd made a mistake. All the signs of a cycling event were present suggesting that the car park might be full. 

Fortunately it wasn't and we found a slot for the 'van. The way through the dense Scots pines soon joined up with the familiar estate road to Derry Lodge, a road cycled countless times when out for the Munros, or tramped, foot-sore sometimes, returning from day trips. It always seemed to be hot and the shade offered by the pines near the Lodge was a relief; today we sheltered from the wind.  The boarded-up Lodge is now a sad sight but I'm in two minds as to whether the plan to turn it into a hostel for walkers is an improvement or not. I fear it will turn into a base for groups, pre-booked and of little use to lone stravaigers or couples looking for a bed.

We passed quietly by and came across Aberdeen MRT vehicles. Down by the temporary bridge over the Derry Burn the team, on a training weekend, had earlier established and were now dismantling a Tyrolean rope traverse between two Scots pines. The previous day they had been practising stretcher lowering on Stob Coire Etchachan. Grateful thanks to all MRTs. We spoke for a while with one of the team who told us that many of them joined having been involved in 'incidents' themselves or knew people who had. 

We had just settled under a Scots pine by the burn for a late snack when a lone backpacker arrived. At first glance, with beard and sandals, I thought it was Chris Townsend but no, he was a New Zealander who'd camped in Glen Derry overnight having come in from the Linn of Quoich the previous day. An interesting half hour was spent covering the Land Reform Act, walking in New Zealand, his love of art and the time he'd spent in Paris before flying to Scotland and our own exploits in the Cairngorms. We were also happy to offer some information on Glen Affric, his  next destination and, given this was his first visit to Scotland and the weather forecast was for a stormy night, we tentatively suggested he seek a sheltered camp rather than a high one, although I'm sure he was well able to look after himself in the hills. I'm always reluctant to offer unsolicited advice (as opposed to information) to people in the hills - it seems presumptuous and patronising to me, so I rarely do it. 

We watched him shrink in the vastness as he set off for the Lairig Ghru and Aviemore. I envied him his passage through the Lairig, particularly since a current shoulder and neck problem is making carrying a day sack difficult and painful for me so lugging one full of gear for a few overnight camps is impossible at present.  

Hopefully next year we can have some days like the one in the last two photographs. 

Photos:  Derry Lodge; looking towards Glen Derry; Aberdeen MRT by the Derry Burn; A backpacking trip from Linn of Dee in May 1982 - Lynne on Carn a' Mhaim and Loch Etchachan*

*The route was: Carn a' Mhaim, Ben Macdui, down to Loch Etchachan, on to Beinn Mheadhoin and camp near the Lairig an Laoigh. The following day we climbed our 100th Munro, Beinn a' Chaorainn and walked out. What happened to May weather like this?



Thursday, 8 September 2016

Wednesday 7 September - Creag Bhalg (Graham). NO 091912. Map 43




It was a beautiful walk by the east bank of the Water of Lui as it rushed through gorges or quietly made its way to join the Dee.

The path through the pines, heather, cranberry and blaeberry bushes was overgrown in places and eventually disappeared, but the going was still easy and soon we joined the track from Derry Lodge just in time to receive a cheery greeting from four backpackers.

Our route to Creag Bhalg took us through the open woodland of the Doire Bhraghad and so to the heathery hillside where we were glad to discover a path going all the way to the top. The deer fence mentioned in the guidebook was nowhere to be seen. 


The views in all directions were superb but it was those across Glen Quoich to Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon which constantly drew our eyes. We could even see the mighty Mitre Ridge.  A great day we had on those hills in June 1984 ending with our Border Collie, Morag, in a rucksack! 

She was a hardy collie and had roamed the Cairngorms with us in all weathers on day and backpacking trips with our Saunders Basecamp tent, but on this outing the granite granules had worn through the epidermis of a front paw. 


Two cairns welcomed us, the furthest away one being the summit, and we stopped briefly before continuing on the thin path to the 657m top for lunch and a fine view towards Braemar. 

An easy descent and an all too casual attitude ensured we missed the start of a track. The penalty? Much ploughing through and up slopes of long heather to finally gain it. The reward? A lofty panorama of the Dee, Mar Lodge and the hills of Glen Ey and beyond. 

From Claybokie it was all road with the river and pines for company, and finally the car park. We used to just leave the car by the bridge at Linn of Dee but now this is not allowed. At £2 a day with toilets provided one can't complain but it's this sort of change - seemingly quite a small change - that reminds of how simple and how different things were during our Munro years. 

But, today's walk had been quintessentially 'Cairngorms' and in that, the most important thing of all, nothing had changed at all. 

Photos: By the Lui; from the Doire Bhraghad; Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon



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Monday, 5 September 2016

Friday 2 September - Morrone

As usual at this time of year, Braemar was bustling with visitors arriving for Saturday's Gathering, the games field a hive of activity as final preparations were made and sunshine had replaced the rain clouds over Morrone.

The fact that the route was familiar, the ascent having become a sort of annual event, did not detract in any way from our enjoyment. High up very heavy rain for half an hour or so meant wearing full waterproofs but that gave me a chance to test my new Montane Air Jacket made from Pertex Shield AP. When the rain passed I opened it up to find my mid layer wet at the front. I hope the wetness inside was as a result of my initial delay in fully zipping up the jacket because I'm sure it wasn't condensation.[ Edit - it wasn't because of the initial delay, as two subsequent wearings showed. Awful jacket as far as 'waterproofness' is concerned]. We shall see, but the AquaGuard zips don't look as well sealed when closed than the ones on my ME Morpheus. I hope I've not made a mistake in not sticking with ME jackets which have never let me down. Somewhat perversely, I'm now hoping for a wet day to settle the question - any doubts and the jacket is going back.

We took the bulldozed track and left the windy summit, identifying various distant hills as we went. Lochnagar was luxuriating in sunshine while An Socach, Beinn Iutharn Mhor and the like lay under dark skies. Ptarmigan darted about and startled grouse occasionally exploded from the heather.

This is all wonderful country. It's good to be back.

Photo: From the lower slopes of Morrone towards
Braemar.


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Friday 2 September - Morrone

As usual at this time of year, Braemar was bustling with visitors arriving for Saturday's Gathering, the games field a hive of activity as final preparations were made and sunshine had replaced the rain clouds over Morrone.

The fact that the route was familiar, the ascent having become a sort of annual event, did not detract in any way from our enjoyment. High up very heavy rain for half an hour or so meant wearing full waterproofs but that gave me a chance to test my new Montane Air Jacket made from Pertex Shield AP. When the rain passed I opened it up to find my mid layer wet at the front. I hope the wetness inside was as a result of my initial delay in fully zipping up the jacket because I'm sure it wasn't condensation.[Edit - it wasn't because of the initial delay, as two subsequent wearings showed. Awful jacket as far as 'waterproofness' is concerned]. We shall see, but the AquaGuard zips don't look as well sealed when closed than the ones on my ME Morpheus. I hope I've not made a mistake in not sticking with ME jackets which have never let me down. Somewhat perversely, I'm now hoping for a wet day to settle the question - any doubts and the jacket is going back.

We took the bulldozed track and left the windy summit, identifying various distant hills as we went. Lochnagar was luxuriating in sunshine while An Socach, Beinn Iutharn Mhor and the like lay under dark skies. Ptarmigan darted about and startled grouse occasionally exploded from the heather.

This is all wonderful country. It's good to be back.

Photo: From the lower slopes of Morrone towards
Braemar.


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Friday, 2 September 2016

Thursday 1 September - A year skips by

I can't believe it's 'Braemar time' again. But here we are having travelled up yesterday past fields of wheat, oats and barely, the rolling hills beyond Blairgowrie and through the starker hills of Glenshee.

As usual we stopped in the ski centre car park for a coffee, the weather dull with some rain in the air though it had eased now we were in Aberdeenshire!

We had a leisurely drive down Glen Clunie with Braemar Gathering parking signs in place for the benefit of those arriving on Saturday for 'The Games'.  Clunie Water was, unsurprisingly, low, the hillsides dry. 






It's a bright morning and for our first walk we are off up Morrone for the umpteenth time. I expect we will find signs of preparations for tomorrow's  the hill race.



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