Thu 17th (Day 7) – Cheese and Wine to Saunich (18km ish)
Another OK morning, and a splitting of the ways. Craig was bound to meet Vicky. Paul was off on some epic distance, and Lynsey was heading further north.
We were bound for a rather splendid Corbett, and as it happens a lunch stop with probably the best 360 views I have ever had whilst making a brew.
We followed the track up to the cut off point at the Allt an Luib Bhain.
Once here it was pathless, and work your way up.
We started up the left side of the river
|An idyllic spot, that would make an excellent camp too.|
|Screen Grab showing Cut off point where we stopped and where we crossed the river to head up to the 683 point.
TBH, without this, I’d never have remembered exactly where it was.
|Me sporting the antipodean and bad hair day look|
On the way up the heather bash, there were some beautiful mosses and ferns.
There were no paths here, but as visibility was excellent, we could easily plot the ideal route across to the first top Beinn Bhoidheach.
A brief rest stop, on the way to the 1st top.
It was time for Al to reduce his food pack by another 100g of chocolate bar.
He would always tell us how much he had consumed in grams each stop.
AND just a tip..
In weather like this it is NEVER not worth resting your feet and airing them.
Feet love this….
Stop done we headed on to the first top.
|Looking across to Beinn Mholach (Corbett)|
|Al and Phil heading to Beinn Bhoidheach|
|A Feather near the top on route.
Not sure what from.
Looked like a wing feather (maybe)
The walking pole section gives size.
Could it be from an Eagle??
We did see a few flying about during the trip.
We stopped for official lunch just below the top of Beinn Mholach, on a small rock, that gave us really, some of the best views of the trip. In fact today, was probably one of the highlights. Walking over hills that few visit as they tend to go further North or South, and in the most glorious weather.
|Al at Lunch|
After lunch we headed to the top of Beinn Mholach.
I seemed to shoot ahead here, it was a lot further up than it looked from the bottom.
But some excellent views at the top.
|The summit cairn|
So, let’s point this out.
This top is quite a long way from anything, and takes a good effort to get here really.
Despite this, and having carried a full sardine tin to the top.
Some UTTER COCK WOMBLE, had decided that carrying the empty can down again
was TOO MUCH ****ING effort, and left it jammed in the cairn rocks.
What an UTTER **** !!! 😠😠 (add your own appropriate word)……
While we were there, John and Sue appeared again.
We headed off first.
The drop down to the road and the Duinish bothy although straight goes ON and ON and ON.
Wet underfoot in times, you actually can’t spot the bothy until about 600m away, just seeing the chimney behind the hill.
Duinish is ok, but in a bit of a state really.
The hydro seems to have re-routed a lot of the water elsewhere, and so the streams that are nearby are next to non flowing. We stopped for a brew, but had to filter and boil it, it was pretty scanky, and as we were leaving I spotted a bloody great smelly deer carcass just round the back.
Not a place to stay IMO.
|Frog on route to the bothy|
Robin and I had been there quite a while when Al and Phil arrived, so we stayed longer.
John and Sue headed off to the river to get some better quality water.
Eventually we too headed off up the road and then on the more or less trackless course to drop down to Saunich Bothy. Although only about 18/19 km, it had been hard work in the heat.
|Yep, we had to down there|
It was actually about another 5½ to 6K to Saunich.
|The building in sight at last, although next to no tracks to it.|
As we approached the bothy there was the definite smell of dead things.
Could have been sheep, could have been deer.
It was going to be filtered and treated water tonight for sure.
There is very little decent flat ground by the building, and a dead sheep just by it didn’t make you want to stop there. We dropped down the hill further keeping near the stream, and looking for flat bits.
Eventually putting tents up a bit spread out, as we needed some flat ground, and there really isn’t any all together.
|Notch pitched, looking back towards Saunich with stream close by and Robin’s tent just visible|
|The view down to Al’s tent. Phil was off to the right on a wee hillock of flat ground.|
It was another one of those get tent up, brew up, get fed, and then chill out evenings.
Not a lot of socialising going on.
Just get your head down and get some sleep in.
It was another 08.00 am start tomorrow, although a shorter day beckoned on easier walking (although a chunk would be sodding tarmac), but at the end of it, we would be at the Struan Inn, and a bed and a parcel of goodies.
Fri 18th (Day 8) – Saunich to Struan Inn (19km ish)
We were up and away on time (give or take 5 min), and headed down and then left (meaning N.E) along the river.
With hindsight, it may have been easier to stay on the slightly higher ground, as the river meandered all over the place, and in places was quite boggy. We kept getting driven slightly up by the meanders.
This caught a lot of water when wet to feed into Loch Errochty.
|Somewhere here there is a track honest|
|Looking back to the Loch|
We eventually picked up a good track.
Stopped on route for water and also a foot rest and air, and then headed on, finding this wee gem of an old army gun carriage thingy (with .33 bullet holes in it).
Not really what you’d expect to find in the middle of bugger all.
We continued after a stop and some photo through the woods and to the end of the dam and then up to the road, where Robin would depart to head in a more Northerly direction.
We stopped on the corner just off the road in Trinafour, by the river, just before Dalchalloch.
It was time to rest feet, and get boots off.
A kind of lunch sort of maybe stop. It was about half way (ish), another 9½ km to the inn, or about 2½ hours.
We trudged on now up the road., having waved bye to Robin.
I hate bleeding road walking. OK, you can cover good ground, but it is unrelenting on the feet, especially when it’s hot.
Eventually (because it is good to rest, and because our feet ached by now, and anyway Al wanted to stop), we had another rest near Cuiltaloskin. Dropping back off the road and round over the bridge, finding a spot by the river.
Somehow here, Phil managed to get several bites from something (probably ants).
Notice how again we rested and had our feet OUT of our boots.
Eventually we headed off the short 1.75 km to the Inn.
It wasn’t actually open yet when we got there, so we sat in the garden dreaming of beer.
Shortly after we were spotted and let in.
For some reason, I have NO pictures of the Inn.
Or the room for that matter ?????
We collected parcels and stuff, and sorted out kit.
It was Al’s turn for the single room this time.
I made a brew, and Phil and I chilled out until the bar would open and we could go and get some food, and beer.
I sorted out the new parcel and gear delivery, and we filled the bin with rubbish.
I had a shower, and it was at this point I figured out why the underwear was not as comfortable as it should be.
It was well and truly shredded in the nether regions.
Now, these were brand spanking NEW Rab Shreddies when I started out.
This was the end of day 8.
OK, they had been worn every day, but they had also been carefully hand washed on 3 occasions.
Yet they had basically started to disintegrate (and before the obvious daft comments), I have never had a pair of pants self destruct before. In fact, after this I went back to my reliable Rohan pants, they had done the whole of the 2017 TGOC, and they are still as good as new.
In fact, they are going to the Dales with me in 6 days time.
As follow up, I sent these back to Ultralight Outdoor Gear, who gave me another pair no quibble.
Maybe it was that pair…
We shall see, as if the new pair fall apart after 8 days use it will tell you something about RAB undies…
So anyway, we had a cracking evening, with good food, and several beers.
Sat 19th (Day 9) – Struan Inn via Blair Athol to just West of Crungie Clach (22km ish)
Another day, another dollar..
We were up and ready at the normal time.
Breakfast, shower and as important, toilet duties (yep, all was still bang on)..
And so we departed.
Yes it would be more ****ing tarmac all the way to Blair Athol.
At least it wasn’t excessively hot YET…
It dragged on.
Not too much traffic, but really, not a bit of road that was enjoyable, and NOT a road I want to walk again EVER, and it was 7½ km
At least the views were OK(ish), but I’d do a different route myself, probably via the woods and then Old Blair and drop down. Actually, the Inn was great but if I ever went there again, I wouldn’t walk to Blair the next day.
So, eventually, we arrived in Blair, and went to the hotel.
It was royal wedding day of course (luckily we would miss it).
The staff were in all dressed up, which was excellent.
We stopped for coffee and coke (as it was now getting hot), and some home made special cakes.
Then off via the shop to get some sweets and cash, and over the bridge to walk out on a load more hot up hill ****ing tarmac. In fact about another 5km.
I reckon Al secretly likes road walking.
We should have walked on the covered track down by the river and through the woods with hindsight.
Or maybe out via Lycondlich and below Meall Mor. Hmmm I should have looked at the maps more before I started, I could have gone via Loinmarstaig, Meall Garbh and …. 🤔 on the other hand… as we shall see.
We headed up as I say… tarmac..
Stopped AGAIN and sat on a wall.
I think Al had another chocolate bar to eat.
Moving on, we eventually left the road an headed off up the wide track that ran below Carn Liath.
When we got by the small bothy hut, a bit of me was tempted,
but it meant a 5 km addition and 565 m (1854 ft) of ascent and descent, with a full pack and resupply. the 75% of me that couldn’t be arsed resisted.
So, we cracked on down past Shinagag where we stopped briefly to talk to a DoE leader, as we watched part of the group wander up a hill looking somewhat perplexed at the whole thing, staring at maps, anther group sat on the grass waiting to be released again.
We dropped off the track down to a track outline we could see by the woods.
Reasonable track, that was NOT on the OS maps (like a lot aren’t, but a lot that are there don’t exist).
Anyway, Al had spotted this on satellite images and it turned out to be an old and excellent track that dropped down going just above the lochans ending up at the river below Crungie Clach to the ENE.
|Excellent Track (OS ? 🤔)|
Just at the end by the river the track became less distinct, although you could see where it went.
We went over the river, and found suitable flat spots to pitch up.
It was still reasonable early, so I went and borrowed Phil’s walking poles, as mine were now holding the tent up, and headed up Crungie Clach. It was a lot of up, no track and I was watched by a herd of deer all the way. I went up to the left of the stream from the bealach, and then swung round the back.
|Heading up, those spiky things are deer.|
|Panorama from the top|
Views from the top and the next 2
|Looking down to the tents on the way down|
I dropped back down directly off the top to the confluence of the 2 streams.
Returned Phil’s poles and made some dinner.
Not sure what it was, I will do a meal review blog post at the end of the trip report.
And thus, with a bit of light music playing, I ate and then went to sleep.
Tomorrow was a longish day all the way to Glenshee.
Starting on tracks, and then the inevitable bits of tarmac.
Sun 20th (Day 10) – West of Crungie Clach to Glenshee (24+km ish)
Up and away at the customary 08.00.
Today I was still pending a toilet moment.
This is a pending story…………………………………
So we headed on what was a kind of non track to start with, although it was shown on the map.
|Spot that OS track|
|Looking down to the road at last|
|Old building at Stronhavie|
3 km of tarmac with next to no traffic (ok, it was Sunday), and then Al and Phil stayed on the road, but I had spotted a track by the woods that also ended up at Enochdu, and looked nicer.
So we parted ways temporarily.
I came back out on the road at Enochdu, turned left and then about 100m to the track which was part of the Cateran Trail over to Spittal of Glenshee.
I dropped my pack, and ate a bar of chocolate, and drank some water ( I needed to get some more).
And then suddenly……………..
My toilet moment was pending big time.
I couldn’t really leave my pack by the bins where I was sitting waiting, so I had to pick it up, and head off into the woods, finding a discreet off track location, that was not within plain site, as there was a car park opposite and a road.
I grabbed my trowel, hacked some undergrowth out of the way, and looking round, dug as deep a hole as I could and proceeded to err… You know… 💩💩💩💩💩💩😲
And it was good, and all was well in my world again.
I filled it in, tidied up and headed back to the bins, dropped my pack and sat on a rock to wait for Phil and Al.
It was at this point that the text message arrived from Phil.
They were still sitting in a bloody coffee shop at the gallery I think in Straloch.
The rest of the mes
sage asked how long they might be?
It was getting chilly.
In the ended I decided to crack on, and told Phil I would see then in Glenshee if they managed to get Al out of the coffee shop.
And so I did…………………..
It’s a nice track, starts climbing slowly (pretty much climbs all the way).
Bits are quite muddy (or could be).
I followed it up through the farms and calmanach wood, over the stream (grabbed some water here).
Out into open moorland.
I contemplated popping into the bothy, but it was heaving with DoE ers, so I carried on up the track, stopping to chat with a lady who was supervising the DoE, and squatted on haunches watching to see where they went when / if they ever came out of the bloody bothy.
I was making very good time, so I popped up Creag an Dubh Shluic, which was a bit in some mist, and then followed the spine down and up to Meall Uaine.
It was blowing a bit of a hooley by now, and also there was a bit of drizzle on the second hill.
I had to pop on a waterproof briefly (until I dropped back down), more for the wind.
I dropped back down to the Spittal of Glenshee, and then followed the original route along the road to Glenshee, and the Christian Centre where we had an apartment booked.
I STILL don’t know for the life of me.
Just not looking at the maps properly in the wind I guess, WHY OH WHY OH WHY??, I didn’t drop off Meall Uaine East, and then follow the river down to Dalhenzean.
It would have been great.
And I wouldn’t have needed to 2½ km of nightmare road (IDIOT). 🙄🤔🤔
It would also have been about 4km shorter 😫
Anyway, I didn’t, dropped down a rather fine grassy hill, out through the farmland, and then up that bastard of a road to the centre, where I popped in and got the key, and headed into our apartment. 😁
The advantage of getting there well ahead of Al and Phil, despite the hills, was sorting out crap.
I sorted my kit, stuck stuff away, did washing, had a shower, collected and unpacked my parcel, and by the time they arrived I had made a brew and was nicely rested and relaxed.
It also meant I was not in the way when they need to sort out all their stuff.
And I had stuff on charge, and small music player set up.
This mighty speaker kicks well above it’s size and weight, by a goodly margin.
Excellent for bothy nights and tent parties and apartment party music.
So, we were all there, and waiting for the arrival of our ASDA food order.
YEP, you heard it.
ASDA deliver to here.
So, we had solid food and vegetables and wine and beers and, all being delivered.
In fact everything that was on the order, inc sweets and nuts and …
EVERYTHING BUT MY ****ING ABERDEEN ANGUS STEAK!
I could have lived with that IF ONLY ASDA had put something in to replace it.
ANY ****ING MEAT item would have done.
But NO, Sweet FA!
Thank the lord Al and Phil shared their pie,
or I would have been on a sodding VEGAN diet 🤔😫😲
AND I NEEDED BLOODY MEAT
Never mind, we had beer and heated up the food, and packed stuff away, and generally chilled out listening to music, and then discovered that we had NO CORK SCREW!
So, Phil popped off down to reception to see if they had one, and came back with a sad face 😨😥😥
Nope, they didn’t have one either 😯
What? it’s come to this, Christian Centres use cheap capped wine for blessings?
We thought of different methods, but you can’t bite the top off a glass wine bottle can you?
In the end, PHIL, cos eez and engineer init, came up with the master plan.
Remove 1 screw from a door hinge (as there were 12 in total it would be fine), screw that into the cork, and then very carefully use the door jam to prize the cork out!
Oh yeah… And yes we put it all back perfectly!
At last, happy and fed and chilled and everything we relaxed until it was time for ZZZzzz’s 😴😴😴