TGOC 2011 Day 10

Braemar – Callater Lodge

Distance  10.2 Km  227 Ascent   m  – (Nice morning, shame about the weather)

The Green route is the route to Callater from Braemar.
The Purple route, is the route we had to take back on Monday.

Not a nice night.
It was not necessary to get up early today.
BUT…… it was necessary to pack the tent up in the dry.
So, it was necessary to get up reasonably early.

Mick and Gale were already packed up when I got out of the tent.
Had I mentioned Mick and Gail?
They had been in Strathcarron, and I had not seen them again until yesterday.

They had also changed there plans, and were moving on quicker than their original route because of the weather front predicted for Monday.
A lot of people changed their plans because of this.
Actually a lot who had planned to go to Callater today, planned to move on faster.
But Al and I had promised ourselves that we would be going there tonight to stay.
We owed it to Bill, and we owed it to the memory of Stan, and we owed it to Jeanette and the rest of Stan’s family, and come HELL or HIGH water,
(as it happens both would visit us tomorrow), we were going to be at Callater Lodge tonight, even if we died trying.
And it was that important!

Back to the story.
It is a story.
Remember, I never went on the Challenge.
I spent the fortnight in a Pole Dancing club near Euston.
It says so on Al’s blog!
I digress…..
I spent quite a lot of time after packing the tent in the warmth of the toilet block, laundr7y area and drying room. It was quite cosy there. I also spent a while in the information centre.
There is a vicious rumour that that was John’s H’s bedroom,
but you didn’t hear it from me. RIGHT!
I also couldn’t leave yet, because Al was not up when I had finished packing the tent (sweet).
And, I needed to get my phone charged.

Eventually however, we had to leave, and we made our way into Braemar.
That will be Me, Al and Dave.
There were places that needed to be visited for breakfast.
AND, I had to go to the post office and get a card for the dog. Really!

I did not send a card to my family OK.
I did ring them though.
But I did send a card to my dog Jasper.
I got it from the Post Office.
They are really nice in the Post Office.
During the morning there was weather.
Lot’s of other things happened, but I cannot remember them, and I did not write them down either.
We were killing time!
After lunch, whenever that was, we finally wandered down to Callater Lodge slowly by the back road, over the little bridge and then down the track.
This is much nicer that going down the main road.
On the way down we caught up with Judith.
She was popping into Callater, but not staying.

Al and Dave on the way to Callater, Judith just walking up.

The weather was good. Actually hot at the time.
Considering tomorrow, that was a surprise.
Actually, the weather was not that bad.
OK, it was not a great crossing weather wise, but it was not dreadful.
It was wetter in 2003.
It was just that this year we had a few extremes.


The river on the way to Callater. Even now it was quite full of water, but nowhere near as much as tomorrow.

It was a pleasant walk up.
Apart from the squall that arrived just before we got to the lodge.
Then it cleared, and most of the afternoon was fine. It was pretty cold in the wind, but the sun was out, and everywhere looked nice.
On arriving at the Lodge Bill was outside with Big Mick.
Luckily for Al Dave and Myself, we were early enough to bag some beds inside rather than the bothy, or needing to put up a tent.
Sometimes it is nice not to put up a tent.
Sometimes it is nice not to take one down.
Tomorrow morning was going to be one of those days.

Callater Lodge

Jim, Seth, Phil, Jeanette & Dave at Callater. I have NO idea who the hands belong to, they might be Ian’s

I am not going to go through the afternoon and evenings events at Callater.
When we arrived, we had the normal brilliant hospitality.
Bacon rolls and sandwiches, tea, conversation, friendship.
Big Mick was making the Chilli.
As the day wore on we moved into the back room with the fire.
This is where Mick brought the Chilli to cook, on top of the wood burning stove.
In all honesty, I cannot put Callater into words.
It is an experience and a place that defies explanation.
Nothing you can write will really capture the warmth and friendship there.
It is a fitting memorial to Stan, and I was honoured to be lucky enough to be there this year in his memory, and in appreciation of Bill and everyone else that makes it what it is.

Mick (Croyden) and Pete (Morpeth) arrive

Before the evenings entertainment really started I managed to sneak out and get some pictures of the loch and also the start of the moving in weather front.
A big thanks to Ian C here, who gave me some advice on how to take photo’s of the loch.
Heed photographic advice from this man, because he does know a thing or 10 about photography.

Dark clouds move over the hill behind Callater Lodge

Sunset behind the hills above Callater

View 1 of Loch Callater from near the Lodge

View from the Shore of Loch Callater
How beautiful is this place?

Is was getting cold as I finished and it was time to head back in for food, and a very very sociable evening.

A friend remembered

But never forgotten

Jim does his incredible rendition

Ian does his ode to Robbie Burns (I think)

Baggio does his thing

Mick sings a song for Stan

Seth fails the test of staying with the old school (that’s a bit of cheese that yellow thing)

Many songs were sung that evening.
Many lines recited.
Friends remembered
And a few tears shed
It was not a sad night.
It was a celebration!

But eventually it was time for bed.
The whiskey had flowed, and I for one was getting just a bit tired.
I do not know exactly what time Dave and Bill and few hard men stuck it out to, but it was after 3.00am, I know that.
How sad would I have been if I had missed this? 
I do not know, and I never will know, because I was there.

The next day was going to be hard, and it was going to be wet, but I would not have changed a thing.

Decisions were made, and they were the right ones.

Many thanks to Bill and Stan’s family, Ross & Jeanette and everyone else at Callater for a wonderful evening!

Stan with John Donahue  Courtesy Andy Howell
In memory of Stan!

2 thoughts on “TGOC 2011 Day 10

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