Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Santa’s on holiday

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.

SDC11554Not keen on side-less bridges

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.

SDC11560Ben Rinnes

SDC11563  What can I say?

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).

SDC11566 The cairn

SDC11567 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.

SDC11568 SDC11569 We couldn’t believe our eyes

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.

SDC11570 Can you see what they are yet?

We got closer.

SDC11572 Scratching, not headless

SDC11573Oblivious and perfectly happy

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.

SDC11574 A surprising water wheel

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!


Alan Sloman said...

I had a ghastly time clambering over the Cromdales back in 2009 in appalling weather... that was another of Lord E's routes that was - one he wimped out of just because he required a little death defying surgery... Lame excuse, if you ask me...

Still haven't packed....

Louise said...

It looked like a lovely ridge walk from Cromdale, but it was a bit windblasted when we were up there. I imagine it would have been a tad more boggy when you were up there, but it's been so dry of late there was very little dampness.

Get that rucksack packed! I didn't have you down as a procrastinator.
Taking a wild guess, I'll see you in Braemar (if we don't bump into you in Inverness...)

Laura said...

Enjoyed that walk a lot! Thanks for inviting me along.
Still trying to finish the dehydrating and packing so won't have much time to play with my computer today....See you in Braemar (eventually!).

Louise said...

Boots on way back to Webtogs today, I've sent a covering email with photographs of the problem area, but I have found a complete guarantee for any problem with Keen footwear on their site, so hopefully there'll be no quibbling!

See you soon, have fun and take care! (Thunderstorms forecast moving northward, so less of a problem at the moment...) xxx