Braemar – Callater Lodge
The Green route is the route to Callater from Braemar.
The Purple route, is the route we had to take back on Monday.
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.
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.
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.
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!
There is a vicious rumour that that was John’s H’s bedroom,
but you didn’t hear it from me. RIGHT!
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 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.
Lot’s of other things happened, but I cannot remember them, and I did not write them down either.
We were killing time!
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.
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.
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.
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 take one down.
Tomorrow morning was going to be one of those days.
Jim, Seth, Phil, Jeanette & Dave at Callater. I have NO idea who the hands belong to, they might be Ian’s
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.
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
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?
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 lines recited.
And a few tears shed
It was a celebration!
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.
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.
|Stan with John Donahue Courtesy Andy Howell|