TGOC 2017 Days 10 to 14 – Braemar to Kinnaber Links

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Midnight in Harlem Live (Click on it)

Well, you can read on,ย 

OR first you could just shut your eyes for 12 min and listen to the music.

Just an idea but a great idea..

AND.. some of the best bottleneck slide guitar you will hear!!

Trust me!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐ŸŽธ๐ŸŽถ


Day 10 – Sun 21st – Braemar to Callater

Ahh.but that’s no day at all is it.

Well, you’d think that, but read on

First thing, maybe NEW SOCKS?

The day started with rising and then popping out to the shops for last minute supplies.

Also to buy some flowers and stuff to leave for Kate (as she is a diamond).

Then pop in for breakfast.

No longer sadly at the mighty OLD BAKERY as it was shut due to sad circumstances.

And it won’t be coffee there any more as I believe it is being converted into a shop supposedly on hearsay for middle management reward systems punters to buy woefully inappropriate tweed stuff, so they can be driven up hills to pretend to shoot deer while the local stalkers really do it.

The pseudo Rupert brigade.

Anyway, that me be totally crap and the wittering of a prejudiced idiot. Who knows.

So, morning Coffee, Walker’s though for the day!

So, after breakfast, and heading back and wandering about generally aimlessly, it was eventually time to wander off down the road to past the golf course I intended popping up a Corbett on route.

The one to the right, not the nightmare on the left of the river.

I had done it once before with Gerry.

The weather was ok, but blowing a bit.

I couldn’t get the actual start point in one grab

Can’t say much about this otherwise.

Follow the map..

Great way to Callater.

It will be my route this year 2019 too.

Old barn along the Golf course road

There were lots of day walkers walking back down.

I got a puzzled look, as with a great big rucksack, I just headed off right up the hill.

It was a bit grey and murky.

Not the summit

It was turning chilly now, I pondered on not going on but dropping off, as visibility was getting worse and rain was creeping in, but faint heart

Fewer photos in the next bit, some of the conditions were not conducive to keep taking out a camera, and I needed eventually to get down to Callater

Finally back down and on the track

I headed in to Callater to grab a hot tea, and to drop stuff off.

Bill, Pieman and Mick

I popped out for some pictures of the Loch outflow

Callater tent city growing

And then it was into the evenings entertainment.

It was a good evening, although some managed rather too much alcohol.

I know it was a party, but when you can’t stand and can’t speak.

I ended up late with Steve in the kitchen doing a lot of washing up.

Lindsay, Al and the very nice Mr Williams taken through the window

Tim may have had a few?? ๐Ÿ˜

Sleep amidst dreadful snoring was had……

And then it was time to go…โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ

Well, Tea and Bacon butties first mind…

Day 11 – Mon 22nd – Callater to Clova via Jocks Road

Now, I had last done Jocks road back in 1995 on my 1st TGOC, so this year I decided, despite an inclination to go high to the right (done that anyway), to head don the track.

I started off walking with Mike and his son.

As we moved on beyond the end of the Loch I moved on ahead, swapping with Sabine, who cracked on. I would eventually catch up again as we headed up over between Knaps of Fafenie and Tolmont.

Sabine was heading over to do Tom Buidhe I believe, and maybe Tolmont. I’d been over those in 2016, so we parted and I headed over to Crow Cragies.

As I dropped down off the 874 height point, the weather took a turn towards sodding wet.

Everything on, I dropped down in intermittent rain passed the shelter.

Starting the descent

As I approached the woods passing several people out walking with dogs the rain lashed in again.

I stopped in the woods for a bite to eat.

It was marginally sheltered.

Lunch spot
It was beginning to brighten up

Time to crack on out of the woods eventually and down the road to the Clova Hotel where I was booked in to the bunkhouse ( now sadly gone and replaced by expensive accommodation, so won’t be doing this route again, as camping is frowned upon, and the YHA is shut, and bunkhouse is now arm and a leg prices ๐Ÿ˜• )

Last year I was up there.
A bit of me regretted not going, but the WEATHER ๐Ÿค”
Heading down the road.
By this time boogie music in the ears to take away the tedious slog.
I stopped a couple of time to remove wet weather gear.
It was turning out OK.
Fingers X for tomorrow then.
Arrived at last

Now, for NO apparent reason, this bit is vague.

I didn’t drink much, but I just cannot remember who was actually there, or who I spoke to???

I have a vague recollection that Ali was there…. ๐Ÿค”

Add a comment if you remember and obviously actually read this! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Tarfside beckoned for tomorrow, via a different route.

Day 12 – Tue 23rd – Clova via Tarfside via Loch Wharral and the Goet

I assume I had breakfast……

Then it was off down the road for a bit rather than the trade route up to Brandy.

I had plans for Loch Wharral and the Goet, and then….. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

I’d make it up……

TBH, I think this is a much nicer route than the standard slog up to Brandy and down and over .

And you have a good walk over peat bog, and an option to do the Hill of Rowan.

I’ve done it twice now, so I gave it a miss this time.

Heading down the road

At this point what should have been a cracking path, but I couldn’t find the path, and having trudged through overgrown wood and new plant, eventually struggled up through God knows what until I had to clamber over a fence to eventually get to a bit of track.

With hindsight, going down the road to the main track would have been a darn sight easier.

Heading over nothingness

Eventually I got up to the loch track and went down to look at the newish hut

Time to move on and head up to the top of the Goet.

Top of the Goet

Heading off now to head over the stile and then over to Black shank.

Avoiding the temptation to get lured to the track that heads to the Sheilin of Slaughs

Not a track in sight, why would you take the nasty little boggy track to Wester Skuiley and round to Burnt hill, when you can just bimble across this expanse of nothingness.

A suitable stop point for lunch me-thinks

And more of the same.
Track??? What track ๐Ÿ˜
Civilisation at last

Looking down to Glen Effock

Cairn Caidloch (I think), it’s a bit vague

The river and bridge past Gleneffock farm

Finally back on the track to Tarfside

Maybe I should have taken some pictures of the track round below the monument, but I was racing to beat some people to the track.

And then I was there.

Popped in to St Drostan’s for a chat and tea, and then off down to the field to pitch up before grabbing some food and then heading to the Mason’s for some beers and a mighty social evening.

And then at some VERY late point it was back to the tent.

I was not last out by any means, and there were some there rather worse for wear.

Especially if you haven’t put your tent up yet, and you try to do it in the dark and hammered.

Bloody funny though.


Day 13 – Wed 24th – Tarfside to Northwater Bridge via the Hills of Wirrenย 

So I popped into St Drostan’s to pay up, and grab a tea or something.

Maybe a bacon roll.

Then down the road to the retreat for a second coffee before the serious work began.

No idea how that stayed up.
Half the poles and pegs weren’t in it.
Luckily it wasn’t windy.

So heading briefly down the road to the Retreat for extra caffeine.

OK, maybe more than coffee then… ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜

The legend that is Russ ๐Ÿ˜

And then it was down the road to cross the river.

At this point everybody went left down the Esk.

It was very very tempting, but I turned right and headed back 2km so I could go up the hill.

As it happens, I stayed too low and had to climb a fence and a wall and trudge up a steep bit to get back on track.

So, at this point, as nice as the flat grass was, I should have already been at least 200 m further left up the hill. ๐Ÿ˜•

Yep, it’s right up there somewhere

It’s quite a steep track in places,

but eventually after what seems to be FOREVER, you do get to the top.

This used to be a peat bog nightmare, but now there are wide tracks everywhere.

This is a good and bade thing.

It makes walking easier, but as there are so many criss-cross tracks that is makes navigation harder.

And IMO, it has spoilt the isolation of it all.

Ahh…. Track

Near the top there is a bit that you have to go through a gate to eventually start to get the right track down. You could carry on along the wall/fence line, but that is not a good thing……

Cracking views back down

Strangely, few people seem to go this way, they take the Esk…

They miss a great route.

I think it was an Eagle

Some serious wind erosion going on
The track goes through the fence near here to head down

And down

Heading to the farm and the road to Edzell

So Edzell it was, drop pack by the cafรฉ and go to the butchers down the high street for pies, and the shop opposite for wine and beer for NWB, then back to the tea rooms for coffee and a scone before heading off the final bit over the bridge and through Chapleton farm, before donning headphones and loud boogie music to do the trudge down the road to NWB

The boingy bridge

Don’t risk the whole road (EVER), cross at Northgate and take the back track.

It is nicer, safer and no further.

So there I was Northwater Bridge Camp site.

Booked in.

Tent up, and IF lucky a warm shower before it all goes horribly cold.

The Usual Suspects

My Cuben Duomid and Oookworks Inner.

Obviously I don’t have this anymore & Oookworks is no longer.

I am now using a Tarptent Notch (see 2018 TGOC) and a mighty tent it is

I believe there was partying until late, and beer and wine and whisky this night.

But… Never again since I think 2015 or 2014, will I get as totally bladdered as that.

Note to self: I must take more entertainment pictures in future

And sleep, tomorrow was the final day….ย 

๐Ÿ˜ and yet ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Day 14 – Wed 25th – Northwater Bridge to Kinnaber Links (off road if possible)

The final day.

The final push

Down the road, and over the dreaded busy A90

And then past the NEW slowly disappearing car.

There had been one there for year.

Then it went.

AND… Now, a NEW one.

Across the river, and then take the road to Mains of Gallery where we took the track to avoid the corner, then more road down to the corner at Marymill.

Under the railway bridge, and then take the track just before the bridge that follow the riverย  to Craigo and then to Logie.

Down the river

At Logie take the track to cross the main road and then follow the path through the woods all the way to come out in Hillside

In Hillside just follow the road down to the end and then cross taking the road to the Maltings.

I know the map show a path, but this is almost impossible to find as there is NEW build and it is just as easy to take the road to the Maltings and then look for the sign post to Charleton Farm and the WONDEROUS strawberry tarts and Teas.

Never been?


There we also bought strawberries to take to the beach and have with a whisky toast.

And so to the beach to celebrate another crossing.

NO 12 for me and more to come.

Despite the fact after 10 I said I was going to stop.

It’s a bit disturbing then that I also did 2018.

I am doing 2019 with Mssr’s Sloman, Lambert and Williams


I have already planned a route for 2020


Follow the track from the Farm out and then across and down to the Dunes and to the beach

And then after a few pictures of folk

It was off down the beach for the Final sign in at Montrose

And Montrose, sign in.

Chat and tea and…

Put stuff in room at the Park….

And chill! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

Obviously that is an ideal scenario, but not so.

All that is true, but then I had to go and find Humphrey and do some musical practice, get sound levels, and find Keith, because we needed to get ready for some LIVE music ๐ŸŽธ๐ŸŽถ after the meal.

And we did it in 2018.


If you are going to be on 2019 then it being the 40th, we have now got at least 5 acts !!!

Just sayin’

And then MUSIC!!

The 2017 Travelling T-Shirt

And that’s it folks!

Another year done.

It was great.

There was scenery

There was hard work

There was weather

But most of all

There was the TGOC Family!

I guess that’s why I keep coming back!


TGOC 2017 Days 5 to 9 – Fort Augustus to Braemar

Day 5 Tue 16th May Fort Augustus to Challybeate Springs


So before I go on, let me tell you about SHITTING ****ing Bloggerโ€™s bastard ****ing editor ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก

1 hours work down the drain because it decided to suddenly delete the whole lot then auto-save FA!
I did an Undo, but guess what yep FA!
I may move the whole lot to a better blog site.

And back to day 1

So after deciding on a party the night before, I headed out on the morning in ok weather
with Jayme, Peter and Mario

An ok walk out of town, avoiding the road as much as possible, and finding the new path that avoids the haul up the road and comes out about 400 m past the main site at the start of the Glen Doe engineering works.








The weather was threatening but ok on the way up.
It was however, blowing a tad, and we stopped off at the small bothy to the right of the track.

Cracking on after chocolate to head to the top and over to the reservoir









As we hit the top, the weather closed in.
Rapid donning of wet weather gear and head down to the reservoir and beyond into lashing rain and wind. At the bottom we stopped by the cabins to ask if we could shelter and get some water.

The nice man.


did much better.


He took us through to the rest room and kitchen area where we were allowed to dry off, and use the kitchen and have lunch..

I mean WOW


Well, it would have been rude not to stay.
So we did, for over an hour.
Stuff drying out, hot coffee and tea, lunches taken in the dry ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Eventually though it was necessary to head out.
It was still drizzle and rain, but it was clearing from behind and fingers X for Challybeate

So, off we went, checking further along where there used to be 1 track but now had 4, which one to take.
And on and on towards partyville.

Brief chat with a bloke with a digger, who had donated chocolate bars to the last bedraggled folk that had headed that way.


Wonderful isn’t it?
You wait until there are 65 400+ feet Turbines whirling round.
Huge access roads
A ****ing great sub-station
Loads more hydro access roads









Heading up the last bit off the main track to Challybeate

And at last we got to the party location.
Crossed the river by some rocks and some deft footwork, and started putting up tents.
Not many there yet, but give it time.
I believe eventually, despite the cold, there were over 20 tents.
And as luck would have it, the weather turned out really fine, which boded well for tomorrow.





Because SIZE does matter ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚











And party we did.
But the next day, gone as if not there.
I did have to walk a bloody long way to have a discrete shit though.
Nobody even built a HENGE!!! ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚

Day 6 Wed 17th May Challybeate Springs to Newtonmore Via the tops

And so without even a headache we rose early to crack on up the hill.
It was to be a big day before finally dropping down to Newtonmore and the Hostel, and maybe beer?
Having initially intended to walk with Martin and Keith from Day 1, today and for the next few days, I would finally actually walk with them.
I was probably just waiting for the better weather.

We started following the river, before heading slightly left and up to pick up the ridge line.
Some mighty views from up the top, as the sun cleared away any haze.
Still a bit blowy though.





Somewhere on route we picked up Rob.
Might have been at the start.





A rather fine ridge walk, and then round to pop up Carn Dearg









And then back round the ridge before the final descent to Newtonmore (see map)
It was a bloody long day.































Day 7 Thu 18th May Newtonmore to the Feshie


A day in which Viewranger (lucky we rely on paper maps), has a total epi and forgets I have any ****ing licences for any maps at all.

So what happened with Viewranger?
Well to cut a long story shorter, Viewranger had updated over WiFi at Newtonmore.
But I had my maps on an SD card not the main phone.
Chuck in the complication later that a cache cleaner had wiped out the licences, and that I had bugger all internet signal, what with being in the middle of Sweet FA, when I loaded VR up, it just said no licence, connect to internet to update licence….. WTF!

Now, weirdly a work around I managed at the time wasย 

Copy all the maps to the main phone memory.
It appears that the cache cleaner had only buggered up the links to the SD Card.
So, as luck would have it, (although we didn’t really need digital maps), I got it working.
Later when I got back I discovered the cache thing from VR in conversation.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I now keep my maps on the main memory.

I also have a backup of Locus Maps that I am playing with and looks good, although very very different.
VR now of course has OS map licenses, so no need to spend heaps on download tiles.
BUT…โ€ฆ It does not appear to retain these permanently, and swapping phones appears to lose them…
I may need to investigate that more.


Back to the trip….

We headed out of town SW down the road to eventually go under the railway and out onto what ought to be, but turned out to be anything but an obvious path.
So we sort of followed a track and then just plunged into heather across Nuide Moss, eventually finding a small bridge to cross before picking up the old military road track up the Allt Ghiubhais



What? No Paths? ๐Ÿ˜‚




Passing by the wee hidden bothy



and then up and over more rough ground before dropping down towards the river before Bhran Cottage.
Alas none of the bridges were there, and we had to bulldoze our way along the river through basically crap and wet before descending a fence line and then dropping in to where the second bridge by Bhran Cott was.


No way across that


Head up river kind of

Long gone, we ended up wading the river, before stopping to dry feet and have a snack.

Lowest point to wade across



Now I should mention Keith’s feet…
Martin and Keith had intended at this point a higher route, but Keith had foot pain, and so it was decided to take a lower route up and over to Feshie via the weir and forest trails and camp a bit up from the bothy, and give it time to get better. If it didn’t, at least it wouldn’t be up a sodding great hill.
So, pain killers inside we headed up past the weir and over along the track to pick up the eventual boggy track up past and around the woods before finally descending into Feshie




Crossing at the weir


Just after crossing the weir


Up the track past the weir and about to hit the higher track that takes us towards the woods.
Foot care is essential



Last water stop before heading up round the woods



Looking Back





About to drop into the Feshie
Lochan an t – Sluic


To the Feshie





Up the Feshie, South Side, East of the Bothy








A seriously low Feshie River, we tiptoed across


A Tree washed up stream in speight


Erosion on North bank
Over the river



Not a bad spot.
Not bad weather either




Well, that had been a bloody long day.

I mean a LOOOOooooonnnnnngggg day.

So it was early rise tomorrow, and then a trudge to Braemar.

Keith and Martin were planning to camp short, but I could already sense the lure of the Fleshpots for the Sat night revelries ?????

Day 8 Fri 19th May Feshie to Braemarย 


We headed off up the track, taking the trade route along the Feshie up past the waterfalls and on to the Geldie over the open ground. A classic route and a nice one with very little that can go wrong, although back in 1995, having camped up here, we woke to a bloody great stag by the tent, and 6″ of snow that had shrunk the volume of the tent by 50%.












The Geldie spreads out before us






Just after the American chap had been seen pissing into the stream ๐Ÿ™„ we caught up with Elton.
Or maybe they caught up with us.
Anyway, we all stopped for a sit down and a banter.

We headed off up to the Geldie crossing from Bynack Lodge, and the old ruin that is now being converted into a bothy…
I wonder how long before it is trashed by weekend ****ers in cars and bikes


Someone was staying here.
Not us

Then we headed on up to White Bridge and the Linn of Dee



As we approached the Linn of Dee, Martin decided it was time to camp and they headed off down to find a spot.

The Linn of Dee?
The Linn of Dee?

Why, it is but a stones throw from Mar Lodge, and that is just a bimble to Braemar.

It was Friday night, and the weather was good, and I was a day ahead for the second time.
I watched them head to the river.
Time to ring Kate and check if she had places for tonight as well as tomorrow

SHE DID!!!!ย  ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚

No contest then, “bye boys”, and to Braemar it was.

Stopping to walk along the river at the Linn of Dee rather than the road and on to Mar Lodge











Leaving Mar Lodge via the main bridge, harmonica in hand and a tune on the go, I walked up the road to the start of the woods and then took the middle track up past the pond, and then through the Morrone Birkwood to the trig point and down into Braemar.

Well, I say it was all just a stones throw.
In reality approx. 12.11 kms

But heh….

Beer, Bed, heat (AND….the forecast for the Sat morning was going to be RAIN).

Nuff said!



Leaving the bridge, just the road to go and the woods ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ And it was not raining…

Up the track


The small pond in the woods
I had a chat with a chap walking his dog here




Looking out and across to the big hills




Heading into the woods main






Ready to descend to Braemar





The kitchen at Kate’s (Rucksacks Braemar)

I landed at Kate’s, just me and a French Girl whose name I ought to remember in that night.
Shower and sorted. I think Gerry may have been in for the Saturday night.
All done, grab some food and head into the Invercauld Arms for a beer and see who was in on the Friday

Day 9 Sat 20th May Braemar all day, doing pretty much BUGGER ALL, or did I????

So, Sat arrived and I bumbled about.
Went and got some supplies and some whisky to take to Callater for Sun.

Had a chat with the lady in the Post Office, then, as luck would have it, I bumped into Jeanette and Bill and Michael in the high street, and was invited up to Callater for the day.
Well, it could have been a very dull day without that luck, so I dropped stuff off at Kate’s, and then wandered back and Michael drove me up to Callater, where I spent most of the day doing not much, just bumbling and chatting, and sorting out a bed for Sunday night.
Might have had tea and beer, might not.
No pictures as I totally forgot.

Later, Michael drove me back down to Braemar, where I bumbled into the Invercauld again after chatting with assorted folk at Kate’s, inc JJ.. ๐Ÿ˜

And it was into the evenings revelry…..
And mighty it was…

Fife Arms? Still not open? Who needs Ya!


JJ at Kate’s


Same old bunch of reprobates


Mick hold court and flirts with the ladies


Caburn, Lindsay, Colin and Al looking err…ย 


JJ bangs out a folky



Either they were all moving, it was an eathquake
or I had had a couple?
Yep… that was another blinding TGOC Braemar night.
We wandered back to our beds at some ungodly hour..
I see to remember Waggy couldn’t find his rucksack, and hadn’t put his tent up.
I may have dreamt that!
Oh well, sleep of the damned before breakfast in the morrow and a walk back to Callater for yet another party .



TGOC 2017 – Days 1 to 4 – Dornie to Fort Augustus but in 3 days because ???

Getting there and some light Music

Thu 11th May 2017ย  – Bimbling around Dornie and other stuff

When did this all happen?

Some time in May 2017, I vaguely remember.

So factual then?

I am suspecting that this is more of an introspective memory.
And some of those are now borderline fiction….
There are those that think all my trip write ups are fictional.
Could be… They really happened, it’s just the memories….

A little bird said once that I should not include automatic music.
But when did I ever listen eh. eh….
So it’s at the top, click don’t play if you don’t want to hear it.

That said…. Hannah Aldridge – Black and White
(off the Album Razor Wire)ย  –
Pretty ****ing haunting!

So, it all started on the Wed night at the Bree Louise (which sadly was closed in 2018 so that HSE can ferry a few rich people North at huge cost).
So a couple of beers and off to the train 9.15 to Inverness.

Now, I ask myself why I bought the ticket to Inverness rather than Glasgow, (apart from the price), as it meant either a really really early bus (the one I got, that got me to Dornie at some insane silly time), or spend all day in Inverness.
I had opted for the former, so at least I could book into the hotel.
The down side was that there were very very few people there, and I spent much of the day avoiding pubs, lest I collapse into a void of headache, and wandering around Dornie.

Well, there is the castle full of tourists, but really, not much happening otherwise.

So, much of Thursday, was spent meandering, and taking photos.
Even in the evening, when there were far fewer punters about than I had expected.
So, spent much of the evening supping ales with Matt King (a damned nice chap, and a pretty good artist too), check out some of his pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 1 Fri 12th May – Dornie to Camban Bothy

AND, so, it came to pass that it was Friday morning, and we were to start.

My original route took me North and then round, but I had decided that rather than miss each other completely, I would meet Martin and Keith at Shiel Bridge, and so I headed off with Matt.

So we headed up the road in a mainly easterly way taking the higher back road up near the viewpoint.

Now, it was a nice day and Matt and I chatted all the way up to the path that leads off to the viewing point. Here we met up with a small dog. that was looking lost. Not really much we could do so we said hello to it and carried on.
A few moments later a girl (I say girl, mid to late 20’s) called out to us.
She thought we had missed the view point.
But we told her we hadn’t and we were just starting out on the TGOC.
The dog was hers.
A brief chat and then she was gone running down the road.

Now, this is a BIT sexist but….

I soooooo wanted to follow.
I am now too old, but a man can dream.

Was she absolutely bloody stunning??

Babe Central

OH God Almighty Yes.

I would have relinquished the Challenge there an then if it wasn’t for the fact that I am now officially an old fart and have no chance anymore.

BUGGER this ageing process.

We carried on down the hill.

A MAN CAN BUT DREAM (not that sort of dream…OK, it probably would have been)

We carried on down the road, and onwards

We headed on.

My right little toe (the only one I am likely to get an issue with, having broken it 4 times

(YES YES, I am ****ing careless ok), was giving issues.

I normally always use X-Socks.
But as Darn Tough socks were reported to be the DOGS!, I had worn a pair.

Well, they were a Darn site tougher than my toe.
Hardly any distance, it was hot and bothered and blistered.



We sat by the edge of the road.
I changed socks, and plastered up the pinkie.

That bit of bloody belly needs to go as well.

We cracked on, failing to find the SO CALLED way up to the top track
Where it may have been it wasn’t.
We went down the road a bit, at which point I decided to drag Matt up through nothingness to find it.
It was steep, involved a fence climb, and crossing a small stream.
The logic was…
Go up and you’ll hit it

Red circle = Hoped a path was there
Blue circle = approximate way up (probably)

Eventually… The track, and now an easy yomp to Sheil Bridge (off tarmac ๐Ÿ˜)

Matt at the top

That bit of saggy bleeding belly has to go… ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ™„

ย We headed to Shiel Bridge and then to the Morvich.

NOW, I was meant to meet up with Martin and Keith about 12.00 at Shiel Bridge and then head North to camp, but after a brief text correspondence with them, it conspired that they had been held up by a delayed train , then by being stuck on the road to Shiel Bridge behind a convoy of Bastard Pointless Wind Turbines (DON’T GET ME GOING ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ก), I decided I couldn’t really wait for up to 2 or maybe 3 hours (it didn’t turn out to be that long but WHATEVER), so I changed to plan B (that didn’t exist until then), and walk with Matt up towards Camban.
Also, that was TGOC company, and for me, the TGOC is as much about the people as the walking.
I can bugger off and do big hills solo anytime.

So we headed off that way, stopping for a relaxed lunch break a bit past the Activity centre down by the river.

The afternoon passed with conversation and pleasantry.
The weather was pretty good with some stunning scenes, even on this lower route.

Matt was planning to stop near the old Glenlicht House site, but after a bit of persuasion (not much) he agreed to crack on the extra 6 (ish) km to Camban Bothy.

The push to Camban and a little climb

When we got to Camban (I was just slightly ahead), there was a Dutch chap there.
We got stuff sorted, and had a good evening.
The Dutch chap shared whisky, and I vaguely remember that Matt seemed to share rather a lot of his too.
I cannot remember what it was.
The weather closed in a bit overnight, and we had some low cloud and lashings of rain.
TBH I was rather glad of not having to put a tent up or take it down in it.
And with hardly anyone in, that meant lots of room.
OK, TBH, a fire would have been nice, but no wood that we could find.

Day 02 – Sat 13th May – Camban to Cougie (for me)

Clearing away in the morning

It was a bit overcast at the start, but it was just a short bimble along the track to Altbiethe, and a chat with the lovely Hannah for breakfast.

It is customary at Altbiethe to not wear grotty boots into the hostel.
As luck would have it, they have some slippers and stuff to put on.

Well, I found this natty sparkly pair.
TBH, they were slightly small but heh….


After tea and scones and stuff, and a chat with a few there including David Wehwell who was at the time on his 9th, we headed off.
Heading up to Loch Affric where we took a short stop a bit past Athnamulloch for a snack and foot rest. You can never have too many foot rests.
This is also where I dropped the GoPro and lost the USB cover ๐Ÿ™„

Lunch stop.
Just to the right down the bank.

We moved on heading along the loch further.
Matt was doing the Affric way, and I was bound for Cougie to catch up with them.

Now once upon a time, the little bit of river that meets the Loch was an easily accessible Oasis of Joy.
Sadly, due to the Hydro Abominations, not only was it inaccessible, but the original path as shown on the map had been detoured via an excuse for a path (it was a messy bog).
Maybe the proper path is back now?

This WAS the spot the Spot in 2015 on my 10th..
Lord knows what I was doing though?
Having a Zen moment?

No point stopping, Matt and I parted and I waded up the re-routed path to eventually via a lot of engineering works, pick up the original track that takes you over to Cougie.

So, arriving at Cougie, I went in.
I wasn’t booked in, but hopeful that I may just be able to blag a bed for the night.
As luck would have it I met Mel (see TGOC 2015 Days 1 to 5)
I managed to Blag a bed over in Brian’s house.
I had met Brian several years earlier in his pomp.
He was looking very frail now. I felt sad that such an interesting vibrant soul could have deteriorated so much.
Mel must have been days away from giving birth.
Must find out if they had a boy or a girl.

I sorted my kit and popped over to get food and a beer or three.
There was a good crowd in, and I have long forgotten who they all were.
The ones I remember are Hugh and Barbara , Frank, might have been Sandy too and Robert and his wife. I apologise to anyone else who I have forgotten.

It was a good meal, I had a shower and then went back to sort out my kit for the next day.
Then as it was only 21.00, popped back over to the kitchen to see who was about.
They had all buggered off to bed.
Just Mel, Sasha and their husbands (pretty sure that was it, I shall explain why that was vague)

It started with a couple more beers.
Then moved onto the opened half bottle of Lagavulin.
Had we only stopped there, but it turned into a brilliant evening (as always here) and a 2nd new bottle of Lagavulin appeared.
The evening slowly fizzling out about 2.00 am.
Not sure how much 4 of us got through (Mel was not drinking for obvious reason).
There could well have been wine too.
I’m also not sure how I even got back to my bed.
And Christ knows how I managed to get up the next morning.
I did sleep bloody well though.

With hindsight, I could have been up a sodding great cloud covered hill with Martin and Keith.
No offence boys, but NO. You missed a cracker.. (except the headache)

Day 03 Sun 14th May

Now, before I start today, I should point out that at this stage (I had radio’d in) I was not exactly on route, and was due in Fort Augustus on Monday, where I had a B&B booked.
But anyway…..

So we had an excellent breakfast, said goodbye to Cougie, and headed off.
I had decided to go with Hugh and Barbara, but deviate off and pop over the hills rather than track or follow the contours. This had been a route in 2015, but on that day the weather had been dire, so it seemed appropriate to do them now.
No idea what they are, Graham’s or some such I believe.
Whatever the case, it was well off piste.

We made our way out, through the forest, following the stream (nice route actually), then out onto the open moorland.
TBH, the map is approximate.
I have no bloody idea where I actually went, I just went up hills and took a bearing to the next high bit.

So, anyway, after bumbling all over the place in a generalish E to ESEย  direction I finally arrived at the track where I eventually met up with Hugh and Barbara, and also Frank, who was walking in beach style shoes, because his boots had crippled him after 2 days, being too small.
Much respect to Frank, as I have NO BLEEDING IDEA, how he managed to walk all that way, and then on to Fort Aggie. OK, maybe my idea of putting the foot-beds of his boots in the Beach Sandals, but even so. Hard or What?

Below are the photos before I landed back on the track

So, after meeting up back on the tourist track from Hilton, we headed on down to Torgyle Bridge.
It was actually quite a warm day, and we stopped just before the woods, to try and get some water.
It was a bit of a scramble. It also probably needed filtering but I couldn’t be bothered.

We stopped down by the bridge, and had some lunch.
Then headed up the track.
We deviated slightly up an earlier track that looked good.
I ran up it, and it seemed to be heading in exactly the right direction.
We all came up.
Everything went swimmingly until it fizzled out in the middle of sweet FA, and we ended up having to make a route up through sod all under the pylon line.
It was steep, and tough going, and because of this, the Scottish GOD decided that it was the perfect time to piss down with rain.

Decision time..
Frank, Hugh and Barbara (who keeps saying she’ll never do it again?)
Carry on or go back and take the track further East.

Carry On Up then

Eventually we hit the main track again and followed up and over and down through the forest to Fort Augustus.
It makes it quite a long day from Cougie, but good walking mainly, AND there is a bed and a pub at the end.
Well, I hoped there was, as I wasn’t booked in until the next day ๐Ÿ™„

On arriving at Fort Augustus, we went our separate ways.
We would meet up later in the Pub.
There would be a goodly amount of lying around and pub time.

I went up to my B&B to see if I could get tonight as well.
Sadly, that was a NO and so I went to Morag’s lodge and booked in there.
Luckily for me, I had nothing to dry out, just a bit of washing to do, as I had managed to get to here without putting the tent up.
Indeed, I would NOT be putting the tent up until day 5, as I was going to spend the whole of tomorrow bumbling about.
I can say now, that a day off on the way across is NOT to be sneezed at.
I had a day off in 2015, and in 2016, and again in 2017 ๐Ÿคช

So that’s what happened then.
I spent the evening bumbling and at the Loch Inn.
Then moved to the B&B on Mon morning.
Did my washing.
Met up with Martin and Keith during the day on Mon (they were cracking on to camp – Madness!)

Got supplies and then went to the pub again in the evening.

So stressful.

Met up with loads of people, many who I walked with the next day, when I have to say IT TOTALLY PISSED IT DOWN, and we arranged an impromptu Cheese and Wine (NOT the official one mind, I wouldn’t dare), to take place on Tue evening at Challybeate Springs.

Peter and Bert

Jayme and Mario

Pete, Bert, Jayme, Mario, JJ (JJ’s mate whose name eludes me) and a bit of me.

You’ll have to wait to here about that, but it was an absolute CRACKER!

That’s it.
Any errors are purely ERRORS.
Any spelling and grammar errors are totally intentional or maybe not.
Feel free to let me know.
I’ll decide whether to act on them or not.

Any way,I’m off to visit Humphrey… to boogie ๐ŸŽธ๐Ÿ˜


HMG WINDRIDER 3400 150 Denier Black 55L for Sale – Not Available

Selling my HMG Windrider 3400 heavier duty 150 Denier in Black

I’ve decided to keep it!

ยฃ225 now ยฃ175 delivered via courier

Link to current version :

Purchased in April 2016

Used on several trips and 2 x TGOC Challenges

Size ย L (Torso 19โ€ to 21โ€)

Capacity 55L (but in reality more I reckon 60L), and can also pack small

Pack weight is 1 Kg

Pack is in Very Good condition.

No scuffs or tears.

It has had additional seam seal added.

This is lined with Cuben fibre

They say it is waterproof, but โ€œNO PACKโ€ is, Iโ€™d still use a liner.

There are no tears in the mesh

(See pics for condition)

This would current cost new from HMG $345 + $66 postage ($411)

At current exchange rate of approx. $1.29 to the ยฃ1ย  = ยฃ319

Add in Customs Import Duty which is ยฃ10 + 20% of shipped price ยฃ73.80

Which meansย  ยฃ392.80 (ish) delivered to your door ๐Ÿ˜Š

Oh, and you have to wait for customs to process it โ˜น

So I am selling this for ยฃ225 ยฃ175 and that includes signed for delivery by courier

Yes, that is still and expensive pack, but it is also ยฃ217 cheaper than getting a new one.
WOW.. Under half price for a hardly used pack!

But why are you selling it you ask?

Well, since I have a pretty awesome Tramplite pack that does the same and an GG Gorilla I am now over subscribed with packs.

You could also obviously spend the money on a Tramplite pack as they are brilliant. But then youโ€™d have to wait about a year to get one, as there is a long waiting list.

And of course you could buy a totally different pack.

So, there you have it.

Payment preferably via Paypal (as a gift) or alternatively via Bank Transfer

Pack stretched out
Pack packed small
Side Pocket
Will fit a Tent (depends on tent obviously)

A couple of marks, but no tears.
Marks will wipe off.
In fact, I have now cleaned it properly

Belt Pockets.
Zips fully functional.
No tears

Front mesh pocket.
Has good capacity, and again no tears or holes
Looking down inside

And just to prove it has been out and about.

Staring out on TGOC in 2016

Heading to top of Ben Lui in 2016

Mighty Yawn in Ben Lawers range

Packed for start of TGOC in 2016.
MLD Solomid XL in side pocket (exc inner)

Mr W’s Trail Food Yum Thoughts Post TGOC

TGOC and other hiking trip foods

So, as a starter, all these opinions are my own subjective thoughts.
Food is a bit like socks and shoes, what works for A, may not work for B.
Most of these I purchased with my own money.
The exceptions being the REAL TURMAT – Cod in Curry Sauce
and the SUMMIT to EAT meals, which were given to me to sample and review.

The fact that some were free is NOT influential in my overall assessment.

So the meals on review are

Summit to Eat ย  (Overall Winners)
Chicken Tikka with Rice
Vegetable Chipotle Chilli with Rice
Scrambled Egg with Cheese

Real Turmat
Cod in Curry Sauce

Five Spice Chicken with Rice
Polish Sauerkraut
Mexican Dish

Bla Bandย  (Best overall for Flavour)
Indian Stew
Skinnarmo’s Pasta Carbonara


Food on the Move
Chicken in Mild Curry Sauce
Spicy Fruit and Vegetable Curry

LYO used to be one of my favourites, but as we will see this has changed.

More detail to follow, but let’s get it out there:

The WINNER IS, BANG for BUCKS, by a reasonable margin


Not because they were free, I would definitely buy these again, but because in a comparison

Flavour v Weight v Calories v Price v Instructions

they stand out IN MY OPINION as the BEST of the BUNCH.


They are fantastic value for money.
They taste good.
They are easy to make with good instructions, although leave them 10 min, not the suggested 8.
They rank highly for both cal / gram (carried weight) and Cals / ยฃ.
The meals have a reasonable number of calories in the pack.

All three I tested were a great flavour.
(The Scrambled Egg is a Breakfast meal, but could be a main meal if needed)
You don’t need to add any extra seasoning, but can do if you like.
You need to try them out to see, but trust me, they are very good, and you will most definitely NOT be disappointed.

As I said, I agree with Al Sloman, that leaving them 10 min is better than the suggested 8.

You don’t even need to have a wee dram of whisky with you in the tent to enjoy them, but heh….Come on!!!

My samples came via : Hello Everyone
But you can get them from Base Camp Food.
Except for the Food on the Move meals which came from Mountain Trails

Second for me and Best for Flavour, but heavier must be the Bla BandIndian Stew
This is probably my Favourite flavoured meal of all time (so far)

Great Flavours and light, but too expensive is Real Turmat

and the worst meal I have ever had was the LYO Polish Sauerkraut ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿคข

Comparison Table:

Table repeated smaller in case you don’t want to bother scrolling

Other Meals and Packages:

Obviously there are other meals out there, but these are the ones I have been using recently.

TGOC 2018 Days 11 to 14 (Mon 21st to Thu 24th) – Glenshee to Kinnaber Links

TGOC 2018 Days 11 to 14 (Mon 21st to Thu 24th) – Glenshee to Kinnaber Links

It had been blue skies most of the way, so ONLY far that the final music should be
Gary Hoey – Fade to Blue

Just 4 more days to go, but there were still adventures to be had OH YES.

Day 11 – Mon 21st Glenshee to Craig Tillelet (Glen Prosen) – (19 km)

Up at the usual hour, watered and cleaned and fed, and laden with new parcel of heavy food, we headed out.
Phil dropped off the key, and we made our way across the fields following yet another non existent OS track over ground that at the best was damp, and at the not so bad bloody wet, down to the wee lochan via a herd of cows that I thought Al may not manage to navigate.
Cows, and bridges with no sides are not his thing.
How the heck he has got across Scotland 23 official times (corrected) , let alone Le Jog and Lord knows how many other trips I don’t know. A legend in his own opinion ๐Ÿคฃ and a good friend.. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Loch Beanie

Al consuming grams

We paused for a rest, I took some pictures and aired feet, and then we moved on along the side of the loch (it was bloody wet) and up and over a small climb to drop down into and along Glen Beanie
Another track / no track sort of hill until we eventually got to the track just past the forestry clearance. There was a machine up on the hill side plucking and shredding trees like they were match sticks.

At the end we picked up the road just past the estate buildings at Dalvanie.
We carried on along the road up Glen Isla until we reached Fergus. I say carried on, we had a 10 min stop, could have been longer (I think it was here ???) The weather was fine, and Al I think at this point needed to climb over a wall for some reason.

We had a chat with a chap near Dalnamer, who had seen us earlier, and then headed up the track and over the bridge to start the long climb up to Craig Lair

I collected some water on route before the small hut, and then cracked on.
By the time I reached the river crossing, (which was no crossing at all), Al and Phil were a distant memory. I looked back, and carried on.
They’ll stop here for a rest and to get water I thought. I may as well crack on and to the top, as I know they are going to skirt the summit. So I did.

Top of Craig Lair

I had a good check about where the route might go and then waited for them.

And eventually โ€ฆ…

We carried on.
Rather than go over Bodnasparet ( which was just a brown lump of heather), we dropped down towards the river to the north.
This was a careful manoeuvre, as we were no getting very close to the 70N parallel.
Al headed off over the heather followed by Phil. I mentioned a track, but Al is Al.
So, I went slightly north to pick up a LRT I had seen, and followed this down to where we met up again, cutting through a wall and fence line to start the descent.
We stopped just here for about 15 minutes for a drink and a rest, and so Al could get rid of another 250 grams of chocolate bars.

Then following the embryonic stream as it grew, we followed it down to the bottom.
Luckily finding a gate and then a sort of track that got us down to the track through the woods.

I say woods, as most of this had been cleared.
We carried on up the track for about 400m and then headed East directly up through the new planting and then up and over to pick up the higher track, (that goes on further than shown on the 1:50000).

I say we, as yet again I shot up over the hill via the Cairn.

Yep, I’d lost them again.
They were down there somewhere.

When I got to the top, there was a fence that went on in both directions as far as the eye can see.
Not a low fence, a high fence (about 8 feet), and a second lower single wire fence about 3′ opposite.
The higher fence with a single wire at the top.
It had all the look of an electrified fence, but how do you check if it’s on.
And more importantly, as there were

NO markings saying if it was live or not,ย 
and NO gates,ย 
and NO crossing points,ย 
and NO signs saying Jack ***T!

How do you find out and get over it?

No sign of Al and Phil, I walked about 800 m along it to the left.
Could see no way across.
I walked back.
Still no Al and Phil, and no way across as far as the eye can see.

I though well, test it with the back of the hand, may get a jolt, may not.
Just don’t bloody grip it.
So I did.
Seemed OK…

Test again just to make โ€ฆ.. โšกโšกโšกโšกโšก



The jolt through my arm up and into the wire above.
Took the skin off.
left some blood blisters and a tad bruising and bleeding.
AND me swearing an oath of revenge to the total **** that thought a fence with no way through and electricity needed NO ****ING WARNING SIGNS.

I would have punched the **** !!!!

This is the exact location on a 1:25000
No idea who owns it, or what estate.
Whom ever, you are a WANKER!

I saw Al and Phil in the distance, ran down the track and caught them up to warn them.
How to get across?
We found a sturdy section of fence and post.
Rigged up some walking poles to hold the top electrified wire (??? just in case) away.
I climbed over.
Then took poles and sacks over and away from electricity.
The others climbed over.
Then we crawled under the single (definitely ****ING LIVE) wire, and picked up gear, and headed on.

There was NO track this side, and the route was bearing until we picked up the track ??? that ought to have been on the 1:50000.

It wasn’t (OS????)

following this to a cut off point we climbed a small fence, and followed it down to a gate, heading down to Craig Tillilet, where we stopped and had a short break.
It was quite windy here, and coats were needed.

At least this bloody fence wasn’t electrified

Our intended camp was down there somewhere

After a brief stop, we headed directly down.
The forest line was not there really now, just a direct and steep drop off directly down to the river.
I cracked on down, over the slightly boggy and slippery ground.
By the time I got to the river, Al and Phil were somewhere in the distance behind.
I couldn’t see them.
I decided to try and get across.
It was quite deep in places and a bit tough and go.
I managed to get across on some precarious rocks (not that sensible really), and made my way up to the other side to see if there were any flat decent pitches.
Pretty much bugger all TBH.

I scouted around a bit, crossed the stream coming in from Burn of Louie (not that easy either), and then back.
Al and Phil were now pondering the river.. Quite a lot.
Eventually they decided not to cross, but to go up to the bridge.
They didn’t make it as they then decided they would camp that side.

Oh FFS, there was no way I was crossing that sodding river yet again.
I decided I would scout out further along the track.
If I found somewhere near Old Craig, I would pitch up there, and wait the next morning.
So I headed along and then back down to the river.
NOPE, bugger all, and wet and boggy, and loads of sheep.
I checked round the corner where it looked like nice grass.
It was, but also the lawn for the house, and the house looked occupied?
Shall I ask?????

In the end, I walked the 1ยผ km back to where I had been before.
Followed the small stream down to where I had seen one ok pitch, and in rather strong wind, pitched the tent. This would be a windy night, and it would prove a better test for the Notch in wind.

Cooking in that wind was also interesting, but ok.
I had a soup and a meal, and looking across the river saw Al and Phil.
The wind was changing direction and was now 90 deg different, and hitting the open door directly on.
Oh the deep joy of two porches.
I closed that one up, stuck an extra peg in, and opened the other one as the door.
It would be extra interesting now to see how the Notch would cope with expected 35 to 40 mpg gusts hitting it side rather than end on.

I shut the door, stuck the headphones in, and went to sleep.

It was a blustery night!

And everything was just fine..

Did I mention I really like this tent!!!

Day 12 – Tue 22nd Craig Tillelet (Glen Prosen) to near Baikies (27km)

Al and Phil started a few minutes before me, as they had to get round and over the bridge.
Timing is everything, and I walked up to meet them on the road.

We walked out along the track.
The very long track, all the way out to meet the road at Glen Prosen Lodge.
Where, as luck would have it, there was a bench we had to sit on, and Al needed to eat chocolate.
I had NOT managed a poo today.
I was NOT happy, but it would have to wait.
A while.

We carried on along the road.
It was Tarmac!
Did I mention I hate bloody Tarmac.
With a passion.
There was a lot of sodding tarmac coming.
No traffic.
Just bloody tarmac……tarmac โ€ฆ. tarmac โ€ฆ.. ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜’

The views of Glen Prosen are nice though.
We could see smoke on the hillside across the valley.
We will come back to this later this evening….

I considered taking the lower track via Balnaboth, but decided against it.
I’d probably arrive further up the road to meet them, and they’d be sat in a bloody cafรฉ somewhere, so we carried on along the tarmac…
Up and round and over the river, where the road begins to climb.

Slowly and up and up and on tarmac, and it’s hot, and it’s tarmac.
I really hate tarmac…โ€ฆ
Did I mention that….

We saw smoke up in the hills on the other side.
Did I mention that before?
Well, it was here, not back there that we saw it….

See, this is exactly what miles of bloody tarmac do to you.
They make you forget…โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ..
We followed the road up and round and over to Dykehead.
It was still bloody tarmac.

Well, just past Glackburn we stopped briefly to look at the Scott monument.

Then up the road we went again, until just opposite a small pond, we found a bench.
As luck would have it, this is also where Phil needed to go for a walk in the woods.
He would be some time.
I was deeply envious.
This was his second gardening expedition, and I had not had one… ๐Ÿ˜’

We carried on up the road towards and past Dykehead (where the hotel was shut down), and the finally headed off piste to follow a pretty track down and over the river.
We didn’t follow the exact track on our route, as there was a small path that cut up and across by the back of the hotel, that cut the loop off.

We climbed up the other side, following the track, coming back out onto the road briefly, before picking up a small track that climbed up to the woods and then along and across to white burn.

We almost missed the track at White burn, when Phil and I turned right, and we all started walking down the hill.
It felt wrong, and it was.
We back tracked and found a small track (difficult to spot, as the cottage has part of it obscured, and also an electric fence that was running across the path, but only a single strand and easy to cross).
Once through, it was very pretty, but trampled by cows further along.

AND… I still wanted that steak!!!!

Once through the pretty section, we climbed back out and over before finally turning right and descending down to our camp spot by the river.

An ok supply of water, although die to the sheep about, I filtered it.
Set up camp, and made a brew and soup.

Al shouted out to look up, and WOW, circling high above us for ages, where 3 Eagles.
No pictures, as my only camera throughout has been on my CAT S41 phone, so pointless trying to zoom in.

Later, I must have already gone to sleep, or I was listening to music, a chap in a Landrover had stopped by and asked Phil if we had seen any fires back in Glen Prosen.
Once he knew our route, he was fine, as those fires on the other side of the Glen…

Remember those, I mentioned them earlier.

Well, apparently, he and a few others had spent a lot of time putting them out, where some daft sod had set fire to the heather and then buggered off.

And I heard nothing at all of this until I woke the next morning about 7.00.

Well, apart from getting up in the night for a pee.
It was good.
It meant I was keeping well hydrated in all this heat.

Day 13 – Wed 23rd Craig Tillelet Baikies to Brechin (20km)

I was up early the next morning and off up a hill to look for a suitable plot for some 2ยฝ day gardening exercises.
The ground was hard, and finding a spot that couldn’t be seen was hard, and by the time I did things were getting decidedly iffy, and these as you know, where the only pair of undies I had left.
But, as luck with have it, all was good, and considerably lighter and happier, I skipped back to the tent, sorted gear, and was still ready to crack on at 8.00

We walked out up the track and out past Glenogil joining the road very briefly before picking up the rather splendid track Al had spotted on aerial view that climbed up past the pond and then round and over to drop down to Fern.
This cut out all the road, and was a total delight.

Leaving the Road

The only down side was the rather macabre and IMO pointless hanging dead crows on a barbed wire fence. I know crows are intelligent, but really?
Does this intimidate them?
And, is it really necessary, or just a pointless barbaric practise?

Anyway, that aside, we dropped down to the old church in Fern , where we stopped for a rest.
It’s an interesting place in dip.
Whilst there, having a snack and liquid, we also had a chat with a lovely old couple, who came here once a year to tidy the grave of I think the ladies mother. Al will remember the full story.

We waved goodbye as we headed on up the road towards Fern Lodge, they waved as they drove past.

Phil and I carried on to the end of the road for a brief sit down, as Al had another gardening exercise in the woods.

Not many photos today, as it was basically road now into Brechin.
About 11km of the bloody stuff.
By the end of it my feet ached.

We had a lunch break at Careston, stopping on the concrete wall by the scenic old Telephone Exchange (it wasn’t, I was being ironic)

We carried ON, and ON, and ON โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ.

Finally arriving in Brechin, we stopped at the first Pub we came to, which may have then involved beer.

Eventually, it was time to go and find the B&B.
From the outside, it looked like it wouldn’t be up to much.
But oh how 1st impressions can be wrong.
The door opened and we entered into paradise.

Sorted out kit in superb rooms.
Cracking hot showers.
Washing done and cleaned and tumble dried, and other stuff hung on the line, and TV, and relaxed…

We’d go to the pub where we’d meet up with Jeff Cracknell later.

It was now time to do NOTHING for a while.
It was bloody lovely.

And yes, later on we went to the pub and had food and beer and….

Listen, we’d earned it!!

Just one more day to go, and it would all be over. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Day 14 – Thu 24th Brechin to Kinnaber Links & then Montrose (17km)

Today was a day to be away reasonably early, so we went for a 7.30 breakfast.
I needed to get back to the Park by about 14.30 (ish) to sort out room, and also musical stuff with Humphrey.
And we had to get out of Brechin without crossing the 60 line.
And we were very very close to it.

In fact about as close as you can get, as we had to turn the corner before the railway, and for safety sake, we decided it was probably best to stay on the left.

The purple line is the 60 parallel
The red dots are our route.

Venture no further

As we left town, it was still road, but some ok views for an urbanish environment.

After North Dun, we followed a track past Fordhouse of Dun, and then down onto a left turn and another track towards Langley Park and Kirkhill.
Stopping for a foot rest and drink just before the wooded area to the right.
The path heading up and and over a bridge into Langley Park.


Needs more hydration???
No, it’s OK, it’s vitamin C drink!

Time to head on up the track and over the bridge.
You’d hope wouldn’t you?

What path?
What bridge?

Totally overgrown…
No, I mean totally!!!

We walked through the field and then had to brave the waste high overgrown boggy nettle strewn horror to the bridge.
Waist high at the lowest at times.
The the huge metal barrier at the bridge that said Danger, No Entry Do Not Cross!
The ***K we won’t.
Round the barrier, and across the bridge again waist high horrors, using poles to check there wasn’t a sodding great hole to hell below.
Another bloody great metal barrier to be navigated the other side where we would reach the track out.
Nettles all the way round until we finally got to the buildings.
I grabbed dock leaves to rub onto my chins where I had been stung through the trousers.
Whoever put that on the map, has never been up it that’s for sure.

End then we were past the abandoned and decaying buildings and back on the road to Hillside.

Hillside and on to Kinnaber Links via Charlton Farm.
We wouldn’t stop here, beach first collecting random Challengers on route.
The most we had seen for 2 weeks.

If someone can provide a picture of me on the beach to prove I was actually there, it would be nice!
Just sayinโ€ฆ

Then it was back to Charlton’s Farm to tea and strawberry tart, and to meet Humphrey who had driven out to chauffeur us back to civilisation.
Why? Did I not take a picture of the strawberry tart either?

And really, apart from celebrations and stuff, and getting a room in the Park, and sorting out gear, and collecting another certificate and bits and tea, and meeting folk, and chatting, and getting guitar from Humphrey, and reminding myself of songs, and setting up music stuff, and the meal and staying up until 2.30 am and having a whisky and….
Well, apart from that!
That was it.
It was all done AGAIN!

Well That’s All Folks!

Obviously I’m NEVER EVER EVER EVER going to do it again.

Except next year is the 40th ๐Ÿค”
And well, it would be rude not to apply, and it would be bloody lovely to get in.
So, oh yes please.

I did start the 25th, but since I broke my leg on day 2 and got air lifted out, that year turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, and I missed all the celebrations.

So YES!ย 
The 40th!ย 
That would be nice!

I will finish up at the end with the comment I wrote in the book this year!

TGOC 2018 Days 7 to 10 (Thu 17th to Sun 20th) – C&W to Glenshee

TGOC 2018 Days 7 to 10 (Thu 17th to Sun 20th) – C&W to Glenshee

Almost half way, and only really a day of dodgy weather ๐Ÿ˜
So a mood change in music and something a bit more melancholic and peaceful.
Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but heh..

Lisa Gerrard – Sailing to Byzantium

Thu 17th (Day 7) – Cheese and Wine to Saunichย  (18km ish)

Another OK morning, and a splitting of the ways. Craig was bound to meet Vicky. Paul was off on some epic distance, and Lynsey was heading further north.
We were bound for a rather splendid Corbett, and as it happens a lunch stop with probably the best 360 views I have ever had whilst making a brew.

We followed the track up to the cut off point at the Allt an Luib Bhain.
Once here it was pathless, and work your way up.
We started up the left side of the river

An idyllic spot, that would make an excellent camp too.
Screen Grab showing Cut off point where we stopped and where we crossed the river to head up to the 683 point.
TBH, without this, I’d never have remembered exactly where it was.
Me sporting the antipodean and bad hair day look
After the watering hole stop, we headed on, up and round the back of the loop to pick up the 683 point so we could then head to the 1st hill (not the Corbett), Beinn Bhoidheach.

On the way up the heather bash, there were some beautiful mosses and ferns.

There were no paths here, but as visibility was excellent, we could easily plot the ideal route across to the first top Beinn Bhoidheach.

A brief rest stop, on the way to the 1st top.
It was time for Al to reduce his food pack by another 100g of chocolate bar.
He would always tell us how much he had consumed in grams each stop.
AND just a tip..
In weather like this it is NEVER not worth resting your feet and airing them.
Feet love this….

Stop done we headed on to the first top.

Looking across to Beinn Mholach (Corbett)

Al and Phil heading to Beinn Bhoidheach
A Feather near the top on route.
Not sure what from.
Looked like a wing feather (maybe)
The walking pole section gives size.

Could it be from an Eagle??
We did see a few flying about during the trip.

We stopped for official lunch just below the top of Beinn Mholach, on a small rock, that gave us really, some of the best views of the trip. In fact today, was probably one of the highlights. Walking over hills that few visit as they tend to go further North or South, and in the most glorious weather.

Al at Lunch

After lunch we headed to the top of Beinn Mholach.
I seemed to shoot ahead here, it was a lot further up than it looked from the bottom.
But some excellent views at the top.

The summit cairn

So, let’s point this out.
This top is quite a long way from anything, and takes a good effort to get here really.
Despite this, and having carried a full sardine tin to the top.
Some UTTER COCK WOMBLE, had decided that carrying the empty can down again
was TOO MUCH ****ING effort, and left it jammed in the cairn rocks.
What an UTTER **** !!! ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜  (add your own appropriate word)โ€ฆโ€ฆ

Anyway, back to the utterly stunning 360 views

While we were there, John and Sue appeared again.
We headed off first.
The drop down to the road and the Duinish bothy although straight goes ON and ON and ON.
Wet underfoot in times, you actually can’t spot the bothy until about 600m away, just seeing the chimney behind the hill.

Duinish is ok, but in a bit of a state really.
The hydro seems to have re-routed a lot of the water elsewhere, and so the streams that are nearby are next to non flowing. We stopped for a brew, but had to filter and boil it, it was pretty scanky, and as we were leaving I spotted a bloody great smelly deer carcass just round the back.
Not a place to stay IMO.

Frog on route to the bothy

Robin and I had been there quite a while when Al and Phil arrived, so we stayed longer.
John and Sue headed off to the river to get some better quality water.
Eventually we too headed off up the road and then on the more or less trackless course to drop down to Saunich Bothy. Although only about 18/19 km, it had been hard work in the heat.

Yep, we had to down there

It was actually about another 5ยฝ to 6K to Saunich.

The building in sight at last, although next to no tracks to it.

As we approached the bothy there was the definite smell of dead things.
Could have been sheep, could have been deer.
It was going to be filtered and treated water tonight for sure.

There is very little decent flat ground by the building, and a dead sheep just by it didn’t make you want to stop there. We dropped down the hill further keeping near the stream, and looking for flat bits.
Eventually putting tents up a bit spread out, as we needed some flat ground, and there really isn’t any all together.

Notch pitched, looking back towards Saunich with stream close by and Robin’s tent just visible
The view down to Al’s tent. Phil was off to the right on a wee hillock of flat ground.

It was another one of those get tent up, brew up, get fed, and then chill out evenings.
Not a lot of socialising going on.
Just get your head down and get some sleep in.
It was another 08.00 am start tomorrow, although a shorter day beckoned on easier walking (although a chunk would be sodding tarmac), but at the end of it, we would be at the Struan Inn, and a bed and a parcel of goodies.

AND….. We were now Half way through!!!!

Fri 18th (Day 8) – Saunich to Struan Innย  (19km ish)

We were up and away on time (give or take 5 min), and headed down and then left (meaning N.E) along the river.
With hindsight, it may have been easier to stay on the slightly higher ground, as the river meandered all over the place, and in places was quite boggy. We kept getting driven slightly up by the meanders.
This caught a lot of water when wet to feed into Loch Errochty.

Somewhere here there is a track honest
Looking back to the Loch

We eventually picked up a good track.
Stopped on route for water and also a foot rest and air, and then headed on, finding this wee gem of an old army gun carriage thingy (with .33 bullet holes in it).
Not really what you’d expect to find in the middle of bugger all.

We continued after a stop and some photo through the woods and to the end of the dam and then up to the road, where Robin would depart to head in a more Northerly direction.

We stopped on the corner just off the road in Trinafour, by the river, just before Dalchalloch.
It was time to rest feet, and get boots off.
A kind of lunch sort of maybe stop. It was about half way (ish), another 9ยฝ km to the inn, or about 2ยฝ hours.

We trudged on now up the road., having waved bye to Robin.
I hate bleeding road walking. OK, you can cover good ground, but it is unrelenting on the feet, especially when it’s hot.

Eventually (because it is good to rest, and because our feet ached by now, and anyway Al wanted to stop), we had another rest near Cuiltaloskin. Dropping back off the road and round over the bridge, finding a spot by the river.

Somehow here, Phil managed to get several bites from something (probably ants).

Notice how again we rested and had our feet OUT of our boots.

Eventually we headed off the short 1.75 km to the Inn.
It wasn’t actually open yet when we got there, so we sat in the garden dreaming of beer.

Shortly after we were spotted and let in.

For some reason, I have NO pictures of the Inn.
Or the room for that matter ?????

We collected parcels and stuff, and sorted out kit.
It was Al’s turn for the single room this time.
I made a brew, and Phil and I chilled out until the bar would open and we could go and get some food, and beer.
I sorted out the new parcel and gear delivery, and we filled the bin with rubbish.

I had a shower, and it was at this point I figured out why the underwear was not as comfortable as it should be.
It was well and truly shredded in the nether regions.

Now, these were brand spanking NEW Rab Shreddies when I started out.
This was the end of day 8.
OK, they had been worn every day, but they had also been carefully hand washed on 3 occasions.
Yet they had basically started to disintegrate (and before the obvious daft comments), I have never had a pair of pants self destruct before. In fact, after this I went back to my reliable Rohan pants, they had done the whole of the 2017 TGOC, and they are still as good as new.
In fact, they are going to the Dales with me in 6 days time.

As follow up, I sent these back to Ultralight Outdoor Gear, who gave me another pair no quibble.
Maybe it was that pair…
We shall see, as if the new pair fall apart after 8 days use it will tell you something about RAB undies…

So anyway, we had a cracking evening, with good food, and several beers.

AND, even better, Toby and Vicky and baby Rowan came to visit us ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

And My foot was just fine!

Vicky’s pics of us

Sat 19th (Day 9) – Struan Inn via Blair Athol to just West of Crungie Clachย  (22km ish)

Another day, another dollar..
We were up and ready at the normal time.
Breakfast, shower and as important, toilet duties (yep, all was still bang on)..

And so we departed.
Yes it would be more ****ing tarmac all the way to Blair Athol.
At least it wasn’t excessively hot YET…

It dragged on.
Not too much traffic, but really, not a bit of road that was enjoyable, and NOT a road I want to walk again EVER, and it was 7ยฝ km

At least the views were OK(ish), but I’d do a different route myself, probably via the woods and then Old Blair and drop down. Actually, the Inn was great but if I ever went there again, I wouldn’t walk to Blair the next day.

So, eventually, we arrived in Blair, and went to the hotel.
It was royal wedding day of course (luckily we would miss it).
The staff were in all dressed up, which was excellent.
We stopped for coffee and coke (as it was now getting hot), and some home made special cakes.

Then off via the shop to get some sweets and cash, and over the bridge to walk out on a load more hot up hill ****ing tarmac. In fact about another 5km.
I reckon Al secretly likes road walking.
We should have walked on the covered track down by the river and through the woods with hindsight.
Or maybe out via Lycondlich and below Meall Mor. Hmmm I should have looked at the maps more before I started, I could have gone via Loinmarstaig, Meall Garbh and โ€ฆ. ๐Ÿค” on the other hand… as we shall see.

We headed up as I say… tarmac..
Stopped AGAIN and sat on a wall.
I think Al had another chocolate bar to eat.

Moving on, we eventually left the road an headed off up the wide track that ran below Carn Liath.

When we got by the small bothy hut, a bit of me was tempted,
but it meant a 5 km addition and 565 m (1854 ft) of ascent and descent, with a full pack and resupply. the 75% of me that couldn’t be arsed resisted.

So, we cracked on down past Shinagag where we stopped briefly to talk to a DoE leader, as we watched part of the group wander up a hill looking somewhat perplexed at the whole thing, staring at maps, anther group sat on the grass waiting to be released again.
We dropped off the track down to a track outline we could see by the woods.
Reasonable track, that was NOT on the OS maps (like a lot aren’t, but a lot that are there don’t exist).
Anyway, Al had spotted this on satellite images and it turned out to be an old and excellent track that dropped down going just above the lochans ending up at the river below Crungie Clach to the ENE.

Excellent Track (OS ? ๐Ÿค”)

Just at the end by the river the track became less distinct, although you could see where it went.
We went over the river, and found suitable flat spots to pitch up.

It was still reasonable early, so I went and borrowed Phil’s walking poles, as mine were now holding the tent up, and headed up Crungie Clach. It was a lot of up, no track and I was watched by a herd of deer all the way. I went up to the left of the stream from the bealach, and then swung round the back.

Heading up, those spiky things are deer.
Panorama from the top

Views from the top and the next 2
Looking down to the tents on the way down

I dropped back down directly off the top to the confluence of the 2 streams.
Returned Phil’s poles and made some dinner.
Not sure what it was, I will do a meal review blog post at the end of the trip report.

And thus, with a bit of light music playing, I ate and then went to sleep.
Tomorrow was a longish day all the way to Glenshee.
Starting on tracks, and then the inevitable bits of tarmac.

Sun 20th (Day 10) – West of Crungie Clach to Glenshee (24+km ish)

Up and away at the customary 08.00.
Today I was still pending a toilet moment.
This is a pending story…โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ

So we headed on what was a kind of non track to start with, although it was shown on the map.

Spot that OS track

Looking down to the road at last

Old building at Stronhavie

3 km of tarmac with next to no traffic (ok, it was Sunday), and then Al and Phil stayed on the road, but I had spotted a track by the woods that also ended up at Enochdu, and looked nicer.
So we parted ways temporarily.

I came back out on the road at Enochdu, turned left and then about 100m to the track which was part of the Cateran Trail over to Spittal of Glenshee.
I dropped my pack, and ate a bar of chocolate, and drank some water ( I needed to get some more).

And then suddenly……………..
My toilet moment was pending big time.
I couldn’t really leave my pack by the bins where I was sitting waiting, so I had to pick it up, and head off into the woods, finding a discreet off track location, that was not within plain site, as there was a car park opposite and a road.
I grabbed my trowel, hacked some undergrowth out of the way, and looking round, dug as deep a hole as I could and proceeded to err… You know… ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

And it was good, and all was well in my world again.
I filled it in, tidied up and headed back to the bins, dropped my pack and sat on a rock to wait for Phil and Al.

It was at this point that the text message arrived from Phil.
They were still sitting in a bloody coffee shop at the gallery I think in Straloch.

I’ll let you read the transcript โ€ฆโ€ฆ.. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ™„

The rest of the mes
sage asked how long they might be?
It was getting chilly.
In the ended I decided to crack on, and told Phil I would see then in Glenshee if they managed to get Al out of the coffee shop.

And so I did…โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ..

It’s a nice track, starts climbing slowly (pretty much climbs all the way).
Bits are quite muddy (or could be).
I followed it up through the farms and calmanach wood, over the stream (grabbed some water here).

Out into open moorland.

I contemplated popping into the bothy, but it was heaving with DoE ers, so I carried on up the track, stopping to chat with a lady who was supervising the DoE, and squatted on haunches watching to see where they went when / if they ever came out of the bloody bothy.

I was making very good time, so I popped up Creag an Dubh Shluic, which was a bit in some mist, and then followed the spine down and up to Meall Uaine.
It was blowing a bit of a hooley by now, and also there was a bit of drizzle on the second hill.
I had to pop on a waterproof briefly (until I dropped back down), more for the wind.

I dropped back down to the Spittal of Glenshee, and then followed the original route along the road to Glenshee, and the Christian Centre where we had an apartment booked.

I STILL don’t know for the life of me.
Just not looking at the maps properly in the wind I guess, WHY OH WHY OH WHY??, I didn’t drop off Meall Uaine East, and then follow the river down to Dalhenzean.
It would have been great.
And I wouldn’t have needed to 2ยฝ km of nightmare road (IDIOT). ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”
It would also have been about 4km shorter ๐Ÿ˜ซ

Anyway, I didn’t, dropped down a rather fine grassy hill, out through the farmland, and then up that bastard of a road to the centre, where I popped in and got the key, and headed into our apartment. ๐Ÿ˜

The advantage of getting there well ahead of Al and Phil, despite the hills, was sorting out crap.
I sorted my kit, stuck stuff away, did washing, had a shower, collected and unpacked my parcel, and by the time they arrived I had made a brew and was nicely rested and relaxed.
It also meant I was not in the way when they need to sort out all their stuff.
And I had stuff on charge, and small music player set up.

This mighty speaker kicks well above it’s size and weight, by a goodly margin.
Excellent for bothy nights and tent parties and apartment party music.

So, we were all there, and waiting for the arrival of our ASDA food order.
YEP, you heard it.
ASDA deliver to here.
So, we had solid food and vegetables and wine and beers and, all being delivered.

In fact everything that was on the order, inc sweets and nuts and โ€ฆ


I could have lived with that IF ONLY ASDA had put something in to replace it.
ANY ****ING MEAT item would have done.

But NO, Sweet FA!

Thank the lord Al and Phil shared their pie,
or I would have been on a sodding VEGAN diet ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Never mind, we had beer and heated up the food, and packed stuff away, and generally chilled out listening to music, and then discovered that we had NO CORK SCREW!

So, Phil popped off down to reception to see if they had one, and came back with a sad face ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Nope, they didn’t have one either ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

What? it’s come to this, Christian Centres use cheap capped wine for blessings?

We thought of different methods, but you can’t bite the top off a glass wine bottle can you?

In the end, PHIL, cos eez and engineer init, came up with the master plan.
Remove 1 screw from a door hinge (as there were 12 in total it would be fine), screw that into the cork, and then very carefully use the door jam to prize the cork out!
Oh yeah… And yes we put it all back perfectly!

Dinner was served ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿท๐Ÿท๐Ÿท๐Ÿป๐Ÿป๐Ÿป๐Ÿป
Music was played
The night was yet young.
And all was going well I think? ๐Ÿ˜ต

At last, happy and fed and chilled and everything we relaxed until it was time for ZZZzzz’s ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

Oh yes… 4 G signal too !!!
I had really wanted that Aberdeen Angus steak too!ย 

If for no other reason, than what the great hoofed oafs did to that bloody track much earlier in post 2 ๐Ÿ˜‚

Oh well, tomorrow was another day, and you’ll have to wait for the Final Chapter, as I’ve work to do, and I’m off to the Dales with Martin at the end of the week for a few days!