Thursday 19th May, 2011
Ruigh-aiteachain Bothy to Mar Lodge
18.7 miles 1991 ft
We left the bothy before 9 am, after Pat and Steve?, but before Bill, Mary, Fiona, Ann and Alvar, (they’d stopped further along the Feshie). We made our way along the glen, which is really pretty, but there are some slightly tricky landslips. We saw a golden eagle above the skyline opposite and ‘wild’ horses across the river. Emma wasn’t for stopping and we stepped along for quite a while, burns were forded, bridges crosssed and bogs hopped, (not too many of those really). It was a nice day mostly, but breezy and occasionally showery. On and on we went, until eventually I decided I was stopping for a ‘late’ lunch and Emma stopped too.
A lady Challenger appeared out of nowhere, “Is it one of you ladies that had a new pack?” “Er, yes!?” “Can I have a photograph?” What? How on earth?
Ann and Alvar caught up with us and we all walked together as a loose group for a while. Alvar and I chatted at quite some length. Alvar tried to be the gentleman and pull me up out of the peat when I slipped. Emma and Ann laughed and took photographs that will be published, apparently. Kind. We saw an adder, my first.
Onwards until, surprisingly, the temperature suddenly dropped. We reached the dangerous building at NO 002 869 where we found Bill had already pitched. Ann, Alvar and Emma all decided to pitch, but after so much mincing, my legs were glad to be stretching on the LRT, so I elected to continue. I’d already decided that I was unlikely to stop at White Bridge as planned, which was lucky as I totally missed it when I crossed it! I continued on. I almost leapt off the hillside as a chap on a bike approached me from behind and spoke, but managed to regain my composure for a brief chat when he told me we weren’t far from Linn of Dee. Mar Lodge was within reach, so on I went.
I used the GPS for the first time on this trip to check the GR of the turn off, as I do not know this neck of the woods at all. I soon found myself approaching the impressive Mar Lodge and was then in a quandary. How do you get in? As I pondered this dilemma, another likely looking Challenger approached from behind and he seemed to know the way, I fell into stride along side him and we chatted. As a second time Challenger, he recognised my inexperience and was happy to steer me in the right direction to the rear of the building where there was the door to my shelter for the night.
Approaching Mar Lodge from behind
Our approach must have been observed, as a chap soon appeared through the glass door to our left. A chap I recognised. As he opened the door, I exclaimed “I know you!” “Louise!” “Mick!” What an absolute treat! Gayle duly appeared by his side and an enjoyable evening began. My companion turned out to be Robert and when we went into the kitchen with the promise of tea, I found Pat was already enjoying his evening meal.
We were soon both allocated a room and both took time for a kit explosion before revisiting the kitchen to make the most of an electric kettle to boil water to rehydrate our evening meals. Tea, coffee and chocolate were all enjoyed with much chat and catching up. Gayle gave her approval of my recently purchased (and now received) PHD bag which I was grateful for.
I sent Robert off for his bath/shower so that I could then have mine before retiring straight to bed. The shoulder had been much better. However, by now, my heel was not pretty and in fact, during the course of the evening I had become aware of an unpleasant odour emanating from it’s general direction. Before bed, I’d had a closer look, trimmed the current Compeed and applied more where necessary. All I needed to do was get into Braemar, then the heel could have a rest and TTS could give his valued opinion.
I knew it wouldn’t lead to a good night though.