I fancied some company on my walk today, so I fired off an email to Laura, just in case she had enough time to fit in a little adventure. Oddly enough, she did! So, off I went to find the car park near Mains of Inverourie. I was late. So I panicked a bit when Laura wasn’t there either. She was either in the wrong place or late as well. I panicked even more when I discovered I had no mobile signal and couldn’t get in contact with her. Yikes! After a bit of aimless wandering and finally establishing I was where I wanted to be, I was debating what to do for the best. In drove the silver campervan and all was well again.
We set off (after a bit of obligatory faffing) along the road to Milton, where we crossed a bridge and made our way over a couple of fences and through some trees to rejoin the path to head up the hill.
We slowly made our way up the hill on a dull and threatening day. The drizzle eventually turned in to more meaningful rain and strong winds, so waterproof jackets and covers were donned and we continued. With some difficulty at times. The path ran out and we navigated our way, with Laura’s GPS, over dry bog and rough ground.
We kept coming across these little chaps and eventually, one was close enough to investigate. It turns out it’s a heavy-ish metal pyramid standing in a metal tray that collects and dispenses water, presumably for the game birds.
It was quite tough to reach the top, the winds were strong and mostly head on, so we were blown about as we staggered along. Eventually, the rain stopped, never to re-start. The wind didn’t drop though.
A welcome break in the weather
We eventually reached Creagan a Chaise where we took shelter behind the rather substantial Jubilee Cairn to have first lunch. (I didn’t get a picture because my Reynauds was playing up at the time and I forgot.) Soon we were off again, having to find our way down quite a steep slope before finding a vague track that followed the line of the county border.
We were soon at the next cairn, another impressive construction, dedicated to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra (is that right?) when bonfires were lit to mark their coronation (I think).
We were over there before
At this point, the path varied between vague to non-existent, but we yomped on over the heather, jumping the odd stream and avoiding holes in the main. Some of them just yearned to be fallen down. In the distance, behind us, an ATV appeared. It paused awhile on the horizon and appeared to sound some sort of horn. We walked on. The ATV dropped down below the ridge out of sight and reappeared a few minutes later, pausing to sound the strange horn again. This is what we saw.
On we went, heather bashing and navigating towards the path we wanted to join to make our way down hill. It took us a while, but eventually the scar on the landscape we’d been looking for hove into view and scrambled on to meet it. The track took us down hill on quite a steep path until eventually we were surprised to see the ATV coming towards us, up the hill. How on earth? He was a cheerful chap and he waved at us as he passed us by. On we went until we turned a corner and came across this.
We got closer.
We chatted to the lady who owns these friends of Santa’s and found out they winter around here and summer on her farm in the valley below. They are part of the herd from Glenmore, but have been moved to lessen the impact on the Cairngorms. They may not look their best at the moment, but it was a lovely sight and really made a lovely end to a super day out.
We eventually made our way to the end of the track at Knock, where this poor, dilapidated building stands.
Soon, we were back with the cars, enjoying a cup of Chai tea and second lunch!
Roughly 9.5 miles, 1962 ft total ascent, 2.2 mph moving average, 4 hrs 25 mins moving and 1 hr 32 mins stopped. A really enjoyable walk, worth the hard work at the beginning!