And so it came to pass, after very little persuading.
BUT a lot of pondering due to the state of my left knee, I finally decided that I would accompany Messrs Sloman and Evans
on a Pre Pre TGOC Daunder in the Monadhliath.
This would be a shortish trip to text out some possible kit.
It would also test out my buggered knee to see if it was viable for the TGOC (again)
It had been given the A OK by the Consultant so I was hopeful.
Not so hopeful on the recovering grade 2 calf strain, especially on day 2, but that is for the telling shortly
The relevant map is below.
You can change the scale, and scroll it as well as zoom in and out.
All in bloody clever OS stuff
So I set off to get to Kings Cross to meet up with Robin and Alan.
This was to be outside M&S at the station.
Something that would prove to be the hardest part of the navigation, since they had squirreled it away in the furthest corner.
I picked up my heavier than normal bag, full of heavier than normal gear.
I was using the old Golite Quest and heavy bag and heavy mat and stuff.
Oh Good Grief look at the list HERE if you must.
Eventually we all met up.
I was there first, because I had caught a slightly earlier train from Cambridge
Robin turned up shortly after, and then eventually Al arrived.
Soon it was time to board the train.
We were going cattle class in a carriage full of PEOPLE…. 😦
It was cramped and as normal there was very little luggage space.
Plenty of room above in the racks that are good for small cases and hand luggage but no good for rucksacks.
So it always amazes me that on every train, there is always one or more gormless wanker that puts a tiny little hand case in the luggage rack for big stuff.
They are either very weak, not very bright, or just plain fucking lazy wankers.
I am guessing at the latter.
Anyway, we got our stuff in the big rack after chucking a load of little twat cases out the door (just joking, but so wanted to)
We were OFF.
The return journey was going to be in the same cramped cattle class carriage.
If I have to MUG an old person for the money, I am going to always do these bloody great long journey’s in 1st Class where you get a bit of luxury and pampered.
God forbid, if I want to be cramped and ignored and not cared for, I can stay at home were I am well below the cats and probably the goldfish on the importance ladder.
We did have a discussion with the nice man wot did bring round the teas and comestibles. I say we. But I did point out to him the problem with fruit cake and the random number of cherries, and the need for uniformity in those served by British rail, and that he needed to check them, and next time I would only buy cake with the maximum density of cherries per square inch, (or something like that).
Anyway, we never saw him again.
It is rumoured that he now resides counting and eating cherries in a padded cell like Renfield in Dracula.
But the journey continued
And then ……………… continued…..
And then we had finally arrived.
Time to get stuff together
We debunked at Kingussie
We were not meant to, because our tickets went to Aviemore
It’s a bleeding long walk from Aviemore to Newtonmore
Off we got, got ready, and headed off on the short walk to Sue and Neil’s Hostel, where we were to bivi down for the night.
OK, there may have been a pub involved as well
And a mighty fine hostel it is too.
If you are going that way o the Chally you could drop in.
Even better if you have a room booked
So we spent a nice evening in the Pub where Al and I had a beer or 2.
We only wanted the one, but Robin does not drink and so we had to drink for 3.
We had to drink Whisky for 3 for the rest of the trip too.
Life can be soooooo blooodddyyy hard!
Then back to the hostel for a coffee and a chat and a bit of sleep.
We were going to have an early start the next day.
NO WE WEREN’T
We were going to have a very leisurely start, wait for Val and Dave, and then stroll off having said bye to Sue, to NOT go via the Coop, because Al wanted for some reason the take a picture of Cameron McNeish’s house although God knows why, and so I did NOT get my rolls and cheese that I had been intending to get there, and so I was short of lunch and had to have nothing.
That is the sort of mean friend he is.
Anyway, we strolled off and I had a nice chat with Val and Dave etc etc and we got slightly lost in the middle of Newtonmore because of the trip the wrong way to photograph the house for no bloody discernible reason
But soon we were heading out and up (without bread rolls and cheese).
(Brief pause while I have a peak at Al’s blog to find out where the ***K we went).
Listen, as far as I can tell there were at least 3 people navigating.
There was NO point me looking as well.
That would have been overkill.
So instead I just nodded and looked at the scenery and chatted with people and had a thoroughly nice time.
Did I mention my NEW ECCO BIOM TERRAIN II Boots
First time I had worn them, since they had only arrived the day before.
Bit of a gamble really.
4 day walk in NEW boots.
Turned out fine as it happens
Read all about it HERE.
|Dave in The Lead.
Well, OK I was, but otherwise there would be no picture init!
|Bit a snow up high (well, not really, and not that bad)|
|Dave, Robin, Al and Val (from left)|
|Flooded Ground after Loch Gynack|
|Looking Across to the Cairngorms|
|Small copse after Pitman Lodge|
|Another View back to the Cairngorms|
My NEW Boots have dirty toes
|The NITE AQUA 2 with mega cool Orange strap
(come on NITE, make some more bloody cool straps for goodness sake)
|Massive Ice field.
So lucky I carried my BLOODY Microspikes for the whole bloody trip :-(((
|On Route to the lunch stop hut|
And suddenly after a while and a cold morning.
The whole bloody trip was going to be COLD
We had arrived at the small lunch stop hut.
It is a bit of a descent from the main track.
This is OK except we would have to trudge all the way back up to carry on after lunch 😦
|Dropping down to lunch spot|
|Dreadful snow fields.
So lucky I had those ****ing microspikes eh!
|This was our snow hole for lunch.
Hard work digging that
|Amazing what you can do to a Snow hole with a bit of effort.
You can see that Robin is shattered after all the building exertions
|Yeah.. Alright it was a wooden hut|
After lunch, we trudged back up the hill.
Then carried on up and into intermittent snow across the paths.
So little it was negligible and in most cases you could skirt round it.
|OH THE SNOW, THE SNOW???|
We made our way up the top of Freaky Dean (Fhreiceadain)
It was pretty windy and cold at the top.
We took a few pictures on the way and then went off and hankered down in a small hand built rock hollow, with some very precarious stones on the roof
After a short while, as it was getting rather cold, we headed back down.
There were several white hares about, although you could see they were beginning to change colour
|Dulnain Bothy No 1|
|Snow behind the bothy|
|Val and Dave heading back|
|No 1 bothy|
Well, that was it for day 1.
We hunkered down, made a fire, played some music, ate food and drank whisky.
Well, Al and I did anyway.
I mean why not.
And then it was time for some sleep.
Tomorrow was another day, and our route depended on the weather.
Which as it turned out was not very good, with low cloud and poor visibility, so we stayed lower and headed along the Dulnain for a bit.
Yeah ok, quite a lot really.
OK, to be honest most of the day.
Hey, don’t knock it.
This is one cracking good river walk.
It was a bit rainy and windy that night.
It was a lot rainy and windy that night.
So as I said, the next day we bimbled up the Dulnain.
This was Not going to be a long day, because we left late and did a LOT of stopping.
In fact, day 2 is just Bothy 1 to Bothy 3 (via errrr bothy 2)
|Pausing along the Dulnain|
|If only he had brought his Microspikes eh?|
So, after a small Venison Snack we set off again.
|Excellent view up the Dulnain|
|Al has a pause.|
|My boot is by now looking a bit grubby.
That is the problem IF you take new gear out.
It gets all tatty
We had a brief lunch stop at bothy no 2.
|Outside No 2 Bothy.
If you think the outside looks bad!!
But in rain, anything is good with a table, even if the floor is dirt
|Inside Bothy 2|
Bothy no 2 is an ok lunch stop, and you can put a tent outside no problem, but in all honesty, as bothy’s go it is a bit of a hole!
|Approaching Bothy 3|
|Tents Up at Bothy 3
Al’s TS, Robin’s TS and My Luxe hexPeak.
Have to say, that the hexPeak has grown on me a lot.
|I am mostly liking the hex quite a lot now|
|Sitting inside the front porch of Helga|
|Looking out at the Dulnain|
Al forced me to go and get wood and raid the shed, and go and get wood and cut it up, and go and get wood and cut it up, and go and …….
See where I am coming from?
He is forceful like that.
Some would call it pushy.
But he is an invalid you know.
He could be in the Paralympics!
No he really could!!
Or was that the Paralytic Olympics?
It was one of those
So I did, and soon we had a roaring fire, and food a cooking, and music a playing, and whisky a flowing.
Well we had to make an effort because we had to drink Robin’s share….
|Inside Bothy No 3|
Amidst the bothy book, we came across this fine entry
But eventually the fire started to die down, and it was time to sleep.
I mean, we had a late start tomorrow and a shortish distance to go.
We shut up shop and went out to tents.
I snuggled into HELGA HEX and using my GINORMOUS Smart phone.
That wot is too big for proper Ultralight people to carry.
Watched a Movie I had downloaded.
Then listened to some music, to combat the snoring from local population.
Now you don’t have to take a Smart Phone.
Mine is the Samsung Galaxy NOTE 2
(Derided by the Apple Fan boys with their single Battery and expensive built in memory only…Yeah..Whatever boys……)
But even though I don’t use the GPS ( well very very rarely)
This is actually
A Texting Machine
An 80GB monster with additional Card
An Internet phone (sometimes)
A Navigation aid if you want it to be (I have 1:50000 Viewranger maps)
A Music Player
A Kindle Reader
A Movie Player
And loads of other shit …..
Yeah it weighs a bit with it’s 5.3″ screen
BUT I LOVE IT!!!!
So, I had a rather fine night (wiv me gadgets init)
And eventually I was roused the next morning by SLOMAN demanding I went and got wood rather than lie in my snug warm tent, because he was up and in the bothy and wanted to light a fire to keep warm, and couldn’t be arsed to go and get the wood himself the lazy ****er, because he was the fire starter.
OK…Carrie, I went and got the bugger some wood.
If you don’t, he goes ON & ON & ON & ON & ON & ON & ON…
He let a brief fire that lasted for…Minutes.
Had some breakfast
Then in a brief break between showers, we went and packed away tents, and then watched Robin finishing packing gear into 1,243 assorted Cuben Fibre bags.
And it was time to go.
So we headed up the Dulnain, from bothy 3.
With the intention of having a short lunch stop at
Have you guessed it yet?????????
Bothy No ????
(Answers at the end…but here is a hint, we were NOT going backwards)
We wandered along a fine meandering river.
Swathed in the remnants, some still surviving of old Juniper trees.
|Approaching Bothy No ???|
|Clouds in the valley from the RED Bothy|
|Looking back from the RED Bothy|
After a lunch stop we finally headed off over the bridge and up to the Burma Road track over to Aviemore (some spell it Birma).
This is a long old hall, that should NOT be done in one long blat.
Stop and look at the fine views from this track.
Don’t look at the track, because it forms a huge scar on the landscape.
But look at the land around it.
|Looking across at the top of the burma road towards Cairn Coire Duhgain|
|A brief stop at the top|
We had a brief stop at the cold top for a drink, we headed off again as the cold wind picked up.
It was now just s troll down to the bottom via Lynwig and then the rather tedious bit of road into Aviemore after crossing the busy A9.
We arrived finally at the YHA.
For us this was ideal as it is just across the road from the station.
We settled in at the YHA after a beer to refresh ourselves.
Got sorted out in the rather cramped room.
I had booked a room for 3.
This is quite a modern hostel, with good facilities, and excellent staff.
But why on earth a room for 3 is a room for 4 and is cramped and no bunks have their own lights, and there is hardly anywhere to hang anything is madness.
The showers were adequate, but the toilet seat didn’t even fit.
Come on YHA, get it sorted.
Anyway minor whinging aside, we sorted out our stuff, and then headed into town to get provisions for the journey home.
Although, had we known how much stuff Humphrey was going to bring we could have bought half the amount.
We rolled up to Tesco to get stuff.
Then on the way back made our way to the Pub for food.
This was unfortunately heaving, and as we hadn’t booked we were told the earliest table we could get would be 9.00pm.
Well, that was a definite NO.
So we took our stuff back the YHA, and then headed out and had sit down fish and chips.
Al had a desert as well.
I say a dessert!!
Deep Fried mars bar in batter with Ice Cream?
He loved it.
I tried a bit an IMO it was bloody disgusting!
Then after Al had topped up his Cholesterol, we went back the YHA.
No point standing in a crowded pub.
We sat down in the main bit and had a beer or 3.
We could have stopped at 2, but we were drinking for Robin as well who was on tea.
A rather fine evening.
On the way back I collected Helga Hex from the rather excellent drying room.
And it was time to go to bed.
Due to a lack of proper lights, we had to use head torches.
Then the next day arrived.
It was time to head home.
We made our way across to the train and caught the
BUSY 8.30 train to Kings Cross (Cattle Class)
That is NOT happening again.
The nice lady that served us sniffed away with her dripping nose.
It is a bloody long time to KK.
Al discusses temperature interlude ………
The early part of the journey was made slightly more entertaining by a minor altercation between Alan and a more elderly lady sitting opposite regarding the temperature in the carriage.
I say early, but this may have been later, it is all a blur now.
Anyway, since Al re-acquired red blood cells, he now no longer has the body temperature of a corpse. Indeed, he can be seen to be warm.
It is amazing the transition that an extra working body part can make.
So… Al was feeling a bit warm….
And being so asked the conductor bloke if he could possibly turn the air conditioning down a small amount because it was hot.
Well, this prompted great concern from the lady opposite who did not want this.
Admittedly, it is a democracy, but the thing is, she could have put another item of clothing on to keep warm, whereas had Al removed an item of clothing to keep cool, we would have been thrown out of the train.
Anyway, it wasn’t turned down.
Not for that reason, but apparently the switch that controls the air conditioning is outside the train??????????
That’s like having the air conditioning controls in your car under the bonnet, or the light switch for your bedside table in the shed…
Who the ***k designed that concept??
And you’re back in the room (carriage)
So we carried on as we were so to speak…
Luckily The Wonderful Humphrey met us briefly at Berwick on Tweed and gave us a hamper full of goodies, including;
and stuff I cannot remember.
And since Al and I were drinking for Robin, we had to drink a whole bottle of red between us.
|Al serving 🙂|
Well, that made the journey passingly tolerable I can tell you.
Eventually we arrived at KK, where we went our separate ways.
BUT… not to worry.
I would be meeting up with Al in less than a week to accompany Phil and Mick on the Lakes Daunder.
That is to come of course.
BUT, if you cannot wait then READ AL’s Blog HERE
Oh Yes… The answer