Mar Lodge – Braemar
Bit of a ruthless lot some of them I have to say.
In particular the Campbell’s (Glencoe Massacre) and the McDonalds to name but two.
So I read up about them.
Not a lot of Scottish Loyalty between the clans, not a lot of love either.
The forecast was for rain later, but it was looking good, and as I hate putting my tent up in the rain (have I mentioned that before), it was time to go.
Since there was no one about (I wasn’t being antisocial honest), I walked in on my own.
You need to know about this, because Mick will get you otherwise.
So having a small harmonica in my pocket, I decided a bit of a blues ditty would do.
Failing that I will put something in similar, and I will apologise for the swearing now.
I had not noticed him until that point.
He must have wondered what the hell was going on.
As I crossed the bridge I just nodded to him, and we carried on our way.
I waited until I was a bit of a way down the road before starting again.
I thought it best.
A lot further to the cut off into the woods than it seems, and easy to miss if you are not concentrating. Luckily I was concentrating.
There are two main tracks up into the woods. You can take either.
The higher path goes almost directly right to start with, and then curves round and up.
You have to be careful further up to then turn left, and not get dragged up too far into the woods. Tip here is look at the geography.
The lower track is straighter, but they join up with each other just past the small lochan.
One above and one below it.
It looks when you get near here, that the path drops down, but it does not. You need to take the right fork, and a short distance further on you will get to the stile into the woods proper.
View from just over the stile. Stormy clouds forming. It looks like rain
It was hazel/ginger colour, (a bit like our old cat, but that is no help to you).
It was too fast to see, and although I managed to dig my camera out, by then it was long gone.
It could well have been a Pine Marten.
This is not the same one ==========>
It looked like it might rain later, but it was ok for now.
I was hoping I would be able to get the tent up in time.
This little pool was a bit further on.
Wood Anemone by the side of the track
The view from the trig point before the track down to Tomintoul.
You can go straight on, but you will end up in the Golf Course a lot further down the road to Callater. Best to turn left at the trig point and follow the track down that eventually comes out on the road into Braemar.
As I got to the road there were a few spots of rain, and I hoped that it would stop later to get the tent up. It was also getting windier (an omen).
There were a few there already, cannot remember exactly who.
I needed to go up to the shop to organise some new underwear.
I was having an elastic malfunction in mine, and this was causing issues with the left tackle area.
But first, it was important to get down to the Campsite and get booked in.
So I headed down the road.
The shins were playing up again (might have been the road walking, or the pace of the last bit), not sure of the cause.
As I went down the road to the campsite, there was a B&B on the left with vacancies.
I was tempted, but resisted.
That was a mistake because it would have been really nice to be in a B&B later that day.
Too late though, I didn’t.
I found a pitch between 27 and 28 and went back to report.
The pitches were for great big tents, and we were single tents.
Apparently it was a Health and safety issue or something.
It was near a tree, which I was not happy about.
I could also not get the skewers in because of the roots.
And it was getting windy and a pain to pitch.
No trees you see, no falling branches.
I went back and reported I was on pitch 4.
“I’ll come and have a look”, says the bloke in charge
I was just trying to get a sensible pitch, amidst weird rules.
and he gave me No 32! (still trying to work that out now).
Wendy finally up
The ideal way to erect the Stephenson, is with the back directly into the wind.
Which is what I did.
And of course, the wind then immediately moved through about 50º.
Too late, I left her as she was, it would only have changed direction again.
Cute Ducklings at the campsite. They were obviously a prediction of the weather to be.
I also met Al and many others.
I cannot remember the exact sequence of events now, but I do know that it was getting windier.
I had not seen Phil since the train to Strathcarron.
The lucky bugger was booked into the Fife.
I was now really regretting not going to the B&B.
Especially as the forecast for the next 3 days was not good.
Bloody awful springs to mind.
He was waiting for Dave.
Dave is his mate from schools, and was coming up to walk from Braemar to the coast, with a view to doing the Challenge at some future point.
He had come to the Lakes with us in April, and had a good time.
The next few days as we shall see, were going to test the metal of the lad.
It was going to rain more.
Dave was using Al’s old Red Akto, so with a bit of instruction this was done, in the rain, after which at some point we went back into town to the Fife, and maybe elsewhere.
What a great way to spend an afternoon.
Well almost, because Northampton lost.
It is the sort of meal that can fortify you for the next 2 days.
It was a long day of doing not a lot after, but it was relaxing. Probably!
Bingo Wings. This a bit of a way out the other side of town, infact on the road you come in by if you come in via Tomintoul.
It is also a bit of a hike in crappy weather, but it did make for a good evening.
Now I am not necessarily a fan of these things, but I have to say it was OK,
and great fun was had by all. Especially Shirl, who wasn’t even there, and had a request played to her live via Al’s mobile phone. Woo Hoo! (See U Tube Clip at the end – Not Bingo Wings!)
Al & Jim as Al talks to Shirley
Shirl talking to Bingo Wings Singer
Mick and Al doing Dad Dancing
A good time was had by all.
I was soundly thrashed by Dave at Pool (3 – 0)
Then back to the campsite (It was still raining), and some sleep.
Even with the storm supports attached, Wendy still rocked and rolled that night, and it wasn’t to music.
I am not sure where John Hancock slept. He might have slept under his Tarp, but if it had been me, I would have gone to the Information Room, or the Drying room and slept inside.
All that said, and despite the noise, and the wind, and a bit of shaking, Wendy was warm and cosy, and pretty much bullet proof.
And her bottom was not leaking after surgery at Mar Lodge. Result!
And then it would be MONDAY!