TGOC 2011 Day 13

Tarfside – North Water Bridge

Distance  26.7 Km   Ascent  186 m 

In which Dave runs off and we walk the Waters of Solitude

For completeness, I have put in all the maps, but the first bit of today is just road.
As it happens, rather a lot of road. An awful lot of road.
Got up quite early, the weather being good, and you already know how I feel about packing tents in the rain.
Then went over to St Drostans with full kit for breakfast, and to say goodbye and thank you.
There were quite a few in, and several cups of tea later, plus a can of beer that Al was donated from Denis, we set off.
I do not know where Denis acquires beer and lager from.
His pack seems to have a Midas capability. Indeed Denis was decanting another bottle of whiskey into half a dozen smaller bottles. I do not know if that was the days ration, and it seemed rude to ask, Denis being a Legend and all that.
I have done many routes from Tarfside in the past.
Indeed the only two I still want to do from there, is Stonehaven, and Clash of Wirren down to Brechin. But that is for another year.
This year Al suggested road to the Rocks of Solitude.
Not having done this, and having seen Phil wax lyrical about it, and even though I really hate road walking, I agreed, and off we went.
I will not discuss the road walking, or give pictures because to be honest it is dull.
But it is quick!
By just before Milden Cottage, Dave was in serious foot trouble.
He had been well bandaged that day, but was in rather a lot of pain.
Having no medical kit at all (he was on a bit of a Challenge learning curve), we stopped and I gave him assorted pain killers. These would not cut in for a while, but you would not have thought that from the pace that Dave took off.
One minute he was with us, the next he was gone. 
Al and I have learnt over the years, that roads need to be done at an even pace, and softly on the feet, so we resumed our gentle stroll down the road.
At one point we stopped briefly to watch the Sand Martins in a large sandbank by the side of the road.
I cannot remember where this is, but Al I am sure will be along in a minute to fill in the gap.
By Auchmull, Dave was long gone.
A few sweets later, we were almost at the start of the Walk by The Rocks of Solitude.
And not a moment too soon, because I was now Losing the Will to Live after all the road walking.
Now whether the walk by the Rocks Of Solitude is worth all that road, is a very subjective, but it is a very pretty walk, and definitely worth doing.
If I did it again, I would go down the river on the other side and then come back across, because I am not a road fan, but anyway, here are a few of the pictures of that bit, the rest can be seen on the web album.

Al by the seats part way along, with Denis’s Lager gift

By the time we got to the seat, it was time for a sit down.
At this point, there was a light shower, but with all the cover, we could not feel it, just see the rain through the trees.
It is a very pretty meandering walk along the river, and over small bridges.
Towards the end, the main path moves away from the river briefly.
Here you could see the devastation caused by the wind on some of the trees.
It brings into perspective just how strong that wind was.

Looking back along the river just before the blue door exit and the road

Once you get to the road, it is a quick cross to the other side of the bridge, and then the river path carries on along the other bank, all the way to Edzell, coming into Edzell past the bridge across the river. A really nice way in.

There was quite a bit of evidence of storm damage on this side too, and on several occassions we had to step over or round fallen trees and branches.
Definitely a great little route.
On arriving in Edzell, we went to the cafe for a cup of coffee.
We met Dave just as we were arriving. He had hobbled his way in at jogging pace, and was just off to the campsite. We said we would see him later.
There isn’t really much in Edzell, but the people here are really friendly.
So, after a goodly rest, and sustenance, we popped over to the shop to get some cakes.
Well I got a pasty thingy and Al bought heaps of stuff I seem to remember.
Only problem was, we couldn’t get any beer there, and there is none at the Campsite.
Eventually we discovered that they sell it at the shop just down from the Post Office, and so on our way out, we headed there to buy some bargain price Ale.
After this, we headed back to go over the bridge.
This was actually closed for maintenance work, but it being a bloody long way round unless you go over the bridge, and since there were no workmen on it now, it was the way to go, and it would appear that everyone in Edzell just ignored the notice as well.
Also, earlier, there had been workmen working on it, so how dangerous could it be?
We still went across one at a time, and did not bounce up and down on it.
Normally this is possible, because it is one of those really springy suspension bridges.

The bridge, taken last year

Having sprung across the bridge was wandered through the farm, and then headed up the road to the campsite. This is a very very long road, and although conversation is sometimes nice, this was time to plug the ears in and head off at boogie speed.
So, out with the Music Player, and off we went. Al was ahead, because I was faffing around finding the right track. Eventually I decided on Clapton & Windwood doing a Live version of Voodoo Chile.
Well, it would do for starters, and it does have road boogie all over it.

And thus it came to pass that the road was done.
There were some people coming along one of the tracks to the right as I danced past skipping and stuff. On the grounds that one of them was walking with a decided limp, I apologise for dancing past.
We caught up with Dave and Maggie who were just turning left near Northgate to pick up the back road/track to the campsite. It is about the same distance but no traffic.
Al and I were on a roll now, and anyway I was oblivious and boogieng, so we stuck on the road.
And then we were at the campsite.
In no time flat, we had booked in, and tents were almost up by the time that Dave and Maggie arrived. This was just as well, because shortly after that it started to rain again. Which it did for quite a while. This was not really a surprise, there had not been one day without rain.
At this point, I would normally put some photo’s in, but alas I did not take any.
I know not why.
If anyone who reads this has any photo’s of the goings on, then please send them to me via the blog, or message board.

Since it was raining, I decided that I might as well have a shower.
This turned out to be a good move as it happens, because soon after, there was a big problem with the heater and the timer on it, and the hot water for showers ran out.
There were a few disgruntled people, and even discussion of formal complaints, which hopefully never happened.
This is a great little campsite, and has done us proud for years, when many campsites no longer accept small tents. It would be a calamity of huge proportions if North Water Bridge campsite was not available.
After shower I spent a while in the room at the campsite.
I charged my phone, and then had a game of Pool with Al, or maybe Dave.
I say a game, we did draw an audience, but this was mainly because of the appalling quality of our play. What was a game of Pool, descended into a comedy duo.
After us a few more played, and then Dave came in to have a game with the reigning Champion.
Now Dave is not competitive (YES HE IS!), and eventually after lulling his opponent into a sense of false security, cleaned up.
Well that’s what he said anyway, because by then I had finished my diary writing, and headed off back to the tent to cook some food.
Then amidst rain showers and other things, there was a small birthday party and cake cutting ceremony, followed by a shared bottle of Whiskey, and it was time for bed.
Tomorrow was going to be the Coast and the End of the Challenge.  

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