Sunday, 30 April 2017

A Gallop through the 'Gorms...

A hasty romp through the ups and downs of a weeks walking tour of the Cairngorms - late May 2016




 About this time last year we were feverishly prepping for going away, at what is, in all honesty; a crazy time in the vegetable growing calendar,  to be contemplating leaving the farm

But a long overdue expedition to a certain corner of Scotlandshire needed to be made.

And willing assistance often comes to those who ask for it, nicely.

 Fortuitously here, it also comes in the form of conscientious, and competent help.

If you're lucky late May to early June can be lovely in Scotland.

To my shame I left much of the actual physical stuff packing, kit riffling, or 'Holibobs Prepping Angst' to O.H. (Our hero, quite naturally)

(As I, mucked about on the farm, doing incomprehensible things to vegetables)




This is another form of back - packing in which i indulge ... Only here 20 kg (or thereabouts) of gas bottle strapped to my back in oldest (8o's) rucksack... Lets call it upper body strength training, whilst pre-emergent weedkilling - Hot stuff, huh...




He has a whole team of lovely friends, with whom he can discuss vital expedition provisioning arrangements...




This is our latest (!) go-to two person shelter - a tarp Tent Stratospire,  being initially, taut'ed, here in the orchard ....

We received it from its overseas manufacturer early enough this time, to test it out first on a Dartmoor overnighter... The entente cordiale was maintained (two porches vital for this)... But we also did have supervision.


Trying out the tent in proximity to some more localised granite... See how well our companions tent blends in with the environs to the east....

Of course one packs ones own 'lady bag', with items such as are considered necessary, for the enjoyment of a few nights out in the hills - for example enough fresh undies as is seemly, for a respectable personage such as myself.

Plus suitable reading material -
-mainly the free stuff, that I can upload onto the vintage E- book....

[ Edith Wharton figured heavily for me this trip - a nice incongruity hanging out in the early 20th Century salons of Marseille with our tragic heroine... whilst sat in a small tent on a hilltop]

Granted; I have been referrred to as Amazonian on more than one occasion; but on the whole; I do prefer; if possible; not to send that tax dodging, zero hours contracting, little guy undercutting; megabucks making; global behemoth of the same name, too much of my hard earned wonga....

Hey guys; love ya really*!!

(*cos the constant moral high ground can otherwise be, a tad bereft of shiny items affordable to a lowly vegetable farmer - dang!!)

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/buyingbookswithoutamazon/environment.aspx

As a result of this supposedly ethical parsimony, I can end up reading tomes of a 'certain age' - So perhaps that might account for the over - liberal sprinklings of yikes! Gadzooks! and Crivenses! that work their way somewhat annoyingly into my discourse..?



And of course, porting without fail, a cheerfully minimalist ultra lightweight kite (it's only 52g, honest!)



This is the kind of weirdness, that I consider useful on a trip - Micronutrients are an actual thing; and if you haven't got easy access to 6 acres of fresh  organic veg then the poor old habituated-to-proper -nutrition bod can get a bit narky, and might demand to go home - via the appearance of any number of mystery ailments, of frame or psyche... 




There was one other piece of kit pressed upon me, that perhaps bore more relevance to what was being left behind here, than where we were going.

But more of that later...

So after several intensive weeks of planting, and grafting, making lists, of lists, ensuring that my esteemed customers were going to be well supplied with veg etc, etc... We were off again.

Escaping from the Tyranny of Greenery....

When you run a little vegetable farm, then just getting out into nature isn't really 'getting away from it all' .

It can often feel like 'It all' is following you about...

Still, one mustn't grumble. From the other side of the fence, this must look like 'living the dream'


Inappropriate shot for depicting May really. Because at this time of year the newly bedded sprouts are in fact only 6 inches high at most. And I would have flailmowed down the old ones in preparation for comedy carrot growing.

But everyone loves a rainbow of hope yes??


After a long day on the train from Devon,via London, we pulled in late to Aviemore.

I hadn't been fully briefed as to that nights accommodation, but I had been informed that is wasn't too long a slog from the train station...

But look at this! And it had turrety parts - Oh my!


Lorks; what a Fancy Farmer billet !! Could quite turn a farm girls head...





Such a place to arrive, seeing all the possibilities laid out before one - especially on a fair day such as this...

After a restful night, with really smooth sheets!!

Followed by a leisurely morning of breakfasting, last minute snack purchases, and pencil foraging (It is surprisingly difficult to buy just one, in some stationery outlets...)

We were off a wandering.



First meandering up towards, and through the glorious Rothimurchus forestry.

The almost natural woodland greenery here is far more spaced out, and somehow less oppressive for that...

There was heat sufficient in the sun for the wood ants to be out and about, they're always very keen to join a riverside picnic...

And ever accompanied by that marvelous resinous scent of sun-warmed pines.


Looking back towards Aviemore as the ground rises.








Those out of place, glacially deposited boulders are called...
Nope, I can't remember, but I think that's one just visible in the Ghru below.




Then, having decided the weather was too good to waste on dallying in the valley, moreover with the chance of a clear summit camp, we ventured briefly into the throat of The Lairig ghru, before shouldering up the slopes to the top of Braireach....  

 At 1,296 m for those who need to know these numbers.





Heading towards the flattish summit...The snowfields add to the fun, so long as no one imagines that I enjoy having hard spheres of frozen water lobbed in my direction...

Immediate sense of humour failure, results if they do connect... It's not all silly hats, bonhomie, and endless 'Larks' walking with yours truly. I can assure..... Don't suppose OH hasn't earnt his appellation...

 Especially now that I've got fancy ideas about myself, from staying in swank hotels, and so forth..





Come on love - keep up...





Oooer, the clouds look threatening, but even the breeze is remarkably warm for this elevation, and time of year...

Think we might have just got 'lucky' with the weather...



View southwards down through to the egress of the Ghru,  Modelling my favourite stripey woolly hat... It has a cosy fleece interior band to stop it being itchy... Very necessary if you're a sensitive flower such as I.

Some might opine that three hats is excessive for one trip, but they'd do well to keep their thoughts very firmly under their bonnets...



It is only 52g , and it was part of the deal with the fabulous farm sitter...

I can go away and scamper about in the hills of Scotshireland, and she'll stay home and look after the farmlet if I take an 'Every Summit Bunnet Shot'... Seems like a fair enough deal...

We must bear in mind those left behind, tasked with the everyday grind.

Growing our food, doing all the other necessary things that allow us to go out to play... A modicum of gratitude, and self administered burlesque might go some way to repaying the favour.?

Pictured chapeau was fished out of her childhood dressing up box, crafted by her mama for some long forgotten fancy dress skirmish...... It was the 1970's - dressing up for larks was what we did....

But we farmgurls have decided to resurrect the gentle art of bonnet wearing; the elastic keeps em on, and restrains most of ones hair, whist the generous peak ,shades ones delicate complexion from the fierce glare of  the midday sun in Devonshire ----

We have since proclaimed the 24th May 'International Bonnet Day ' - recognising womens' enormous, yet oft unsung, contribution to farming , fieldwork, and food production --- Come on sisters cram on a bonnet, grab a bun, and big yerselves up!! - Over 50% of the global landworking population comprises women and girls, so why, when asked to think of a farmer do most folks imagine a bloke in a boiler suit??



It was balmy enough, even at eight o' clock in the evening to sit out on the summit of Braireach, eating our dinner.

Sickening... The climes that is, dinner was fine, it always is after a stiffish climb.




And then still, a bright enough spot for breakfasting, sporting the all important merino leggings - don't leave home without em ladies. nor the faithful flowery Darn Tough socks...

This was very tasty muesli, with milk and custard powder, pre mixed... Just add hot water  -  OH's expedition speciality, 


I thought I was being brave with 3/4 lengths. But here outdone by shorts at 1,296 m in May!

Post  breakfast indolence ensued. As is regularly the case when out and about... What is it with these endlessly 'up; and charging at it' types?

Do they not understand the concept of holidays? Not to mention digestion?

Those hills aren't rushing off anywhere, and even the keenest bagger, overnighting in the lowland below will be at least an hour away.





Finally stirring our bones; and completing our demarcated, decamping tasks, we strolled eastwards to curve down the rim of the horseshoe descent. Via Cairn Toul.

Not much further on we encountered a young (by our standards) couple who had over-nighted a few hundred yards yonder, on a snow field.

Despite having lived all her life in the Lake District, and having spent much time wandering the fells, this was the first time she had wild camped... Astonishing omission - But what a place to initiate the activity!




Just the spot for a refreshing morning dip.... Oh if only we were down there.




Taking pictures of people, taking pictures of people ... Are we in danger of becoming everso slightly self regarding??

Matching tops though guys? Really ? Must be early days....


Our new friends managed to lose us after this lunch stop at Bod an Deamhain  (The devils point)... Surely they hadn't tired of the gear chat, already?





An easy enough descent back down into the valley bottom now, emerging near the bothy at Corrour .

Oh blessed relief, there was a loo. One of the duller (yes) parts of being a girl in the hills is the whole comfort break issue... Which most likely, in the course of a multiday trip, clocks up an extra mile or so for us overall.

I generally just pretend I'm doing some very intensive 'botonising' whilst gaining relief, but it is a little trickier for us ladies...

And perhaps those females less accustomed to 'performing' en plein air, generally prefer to absent themselves at an even greater distance from passing hillgoers.

So gentlemen (if you should aspire to such a moniker) please endeavour to be a little patient, and understanding with your women companions over this delicate matter... Not everything is as 'straightforwards' as it might be for you guys...

And spare me the 'haven't  you heard of she- wees?' Question - Yes Thanks - and as ever, one size (or methodology) doesn't fit all... Even if it seems perfectly logical to those who've never had the need...




Form, gracefully following function  - Bridge over the River Dee, and heading back north up the Lairg. 

The Bothy was deserted, no massive surprise at four on an afternoon such as this. But just the place for a bit of back unwinding yoga, and a little snooze.

There comes a time in ones life when there are few luxuries more sublime, than awarding oneself an afternoon nap...

I personally can't abide the snorting and parping (them, not me darlings!) that oft besets communal nighttime sleeping.

But I think it would be a most civilised undertaking to design a walking tour which deliberately encompasses afternoon napettes at such refuges; (especially if an unsuspecting has left their sleep mat on the platform) before moving on to find a more secluded spot for the evenings shake down.




Clouds lift as the afternoon wears on, and we make our way up towards the Pools of Dee, which are alleged to have pitchable space nearby...






The correct proportions of green to brown, prescribed for those suffering from chlorophyll overload...Thats the top of Cairn Toul, where we were this morning..








Same again, looking southwards as the Ghru loses the evening sun.





And space to pitch there is , not far at all from the path...

The Stratospire has a relatively large footprint, on account of its generous gear stowing , and kitchenable porches of which I'm a great fan. The outer can be pitched in such a way as to account for less than flattish ground, so long as the sleeping space is level enough...




Obligatory interior shot - for the niche market,  showing A Pool of Dee, and Canada Geese


Then cracking on the following morning, records show we had left camp before nine... Why so dashed early?? - Herstory does not record..


Back to The Northerly end of the Laraig Ghru, followed by a brief scamper up and back through the Charlamain Gap... 'Because it's there.'

This would be a fun place to bring your young mountain goats, or kids... Big rocks, little rocks, skippetty skip.



But it wasn't properly on our route, so backtracking south again, this time gaining height towards Lurchers Crag for lunching - Squeezy cheese I believe - - on crackers - Cant be overly fussy, and the lichen made a tasty nutritious garnish.

Notage suggests there was some quality chocolate too... Always appreciated , and good for you aswell so they say.




A little further on, a fine vista opens up back down into the broad bottomed chasm, cradle of our previous nights slumbers




Ooo  - wildlife....Seldom fails to please... I spent ages, stealthily stalking these beasties like some kind of low rent Kate Humble type...

Thinking I might use all my natural history skills, and knowledge to get a close up.

- Move from upwind, outflanking in a non predatory style, no direct eye contact, kinda casual like...

Turns out you can pretty much march right up to them, and they'll obligingly proffer their best side.... They have ear tags so must get handled from time to time...

I'd heard that reindeer feast on lichen, on these semi tundra slopes.... Which always struck me as rather hard rations, for a relatively large herbivore... I'd not realised that the lichen up here grows more like a shagpile style lettuce - which can be quite tiresome to wade through.




Onwards and upwards - Yes, hat no.3 ... Want to make something of it???

I thought not...


The top of Ben mac Dui 1.309m -  Somewhere there is a summit bunnet shot available too ... But I don't want to overdo it... It's not all about me...

Showing far distant views of Braeriach  ( I think)



Looks like level enough pitch down there.. View towards Loch Etchachan from the easterly slopes of Ben Macdui,

with Beinn Mheadhoin, in the background... the Tors on the top of that hill are known as barns round here - That could cause some rustic confusion...


"if only we had a sled..."




Not too shabby a pitch, taught enough , tolerably scenic location , overlooked by Carn Etchacan.....   
  A clear night that could have presaged a hard frost by morning, but then - unscheduled clouding - how very dare it??


But with the usual fair-weather optimism to the fore we pressed on up Beinn Mheadhoin. In the hope that the tors might emerge from the murk to provide a satisfying bunneting bounty.






Ah well, a little soft focus doesnt go amiss from time to time... The granite tors here are very similar to those native to our local moors in devon.


So then back down to the Loch and sally forth (south) out over the clinker of Derry Cairgorm (1156)



Fun stuff, and so clear we can wave to the folks back home..




Yes extreme sports.....Kite flying whilst wearing a bonnet... Just how on earth does OH put up with it??

Truly heroic quantities of patience and forebearance regarding silly nonsense at least.... Lunch stop at Derry cairngorm looking West toward Carn a Mhaim, and Braeriach far distant.

Followed by a bit of a stomp on down, towards Glen Derry, skirting Carn Crom en route



Looking South East down the glen, towards Inverey and beyond.  



Descending to Derry, more resinous pines scent the hot May air.






(Low) Lui Water,  Glen of Derry, within which nestles the Lodge of the same name.


A capricious storm had taken down a sad number of the pines hereabouts. It would have been pleasant to pitch away from the bothy but so many wind felled trees could leave one feeling a mite vulnerable as despite the blue skies there was windy enough weather today.





Meanwhile at home, vegetable work continues apace. There's hot windy weather there too; causing consternation over irrigation issues.... pea tendrils are very pretty though non?

Where's she going now? Always wandering off...





Rrrrrrr; -  one to thrill the butch-crafters.... There was a stove in the Bothy, no one about, and dinner to be cooked, plus early evening snoozing and yoga to be undertaken...

Well, I had got myself quite exhausted; with my transports of delight at finding a patch of fresh chlorophyll in the form of a stand of nettles... The lichen stew was starting to pall by now.

And then labouring over harvesting the tops to combine with that eve's repast... Ok, so the nettles were growing in a high fertility patch ( as they will) where the conveniences had once stood, but we were eating the tops not the roots... and boiling them... compared with the filth that some folks pass off as food.....



A serious sign in the kitchen of Bob reads something like - 

"Please do not leave spare food here; other than tins; as it encourages the mice"

-   Most sensible...


Underneath, however, the cheeky rodents had penned another request -

" Please leave the opener here; so the mice can open the tins..."






We pitched on the lawn like grass, aside the bothy;






Looking back towards Bob Scotts Bothy... you can just make out the ravished vegetables* in the middle distance...
*nettles
 Next day, hoofing it fairly easily down the glen, alongside the picturesque* River Dee to resupply, and indulge in some hot water bathing - at local metropolis of Braemar - Outdoor shops! Buns! Two-breakfasts-in-a row for lunch - proper coffee - oh such fleshpots of delight....

(* but where are said riverine pictures? lurking on a hard-drive somewhere no doubt..)


Braemar campsite at 92m .... Mmm hot showers.... I wish I could be the sort of properly filthy maid, who truly doesn't care about washing.

I have once, gone a whole two weeks backpacking, with little more than the occasional damp flannel - but you really know you need a wash when you can no longer tolerate even your own odoriferous company...

And us girls are prone to more hygeine related complications - very boring, and at the same time rarely mentioned, cos it isn't nice* to talk of such things....  




*nope you're correct, cystitis is the most unpleasant condition to suffer, at any time, but particularly whilst journeying...




Oh, I say !

Oh dear....Further evidence; if it were needed; of just how truly awful I am....

 Upon arrival at the well appointed campsite I did feel a bit sorry for this guy... He had fallen asleep, face down outside his tent, and somehow his drawers had become half-masted, i guessed with his slumberous wriggling.

Sympathies due - poor chap - doubtless all four discomfited cheeks, would be ablush, upon waking...

But no ! - Throughout almost the entirity of our stay, he treated us to various displays of his quite splendid derriere, from just about each and every angle....

Oh to be so unabashed... He has obviously got a far steelier  imaginary helpmate than my  Grizelda - the Socially Anxious Giraffe...

I should have asked him, as to the nature of his 'devil - may-care deity' - but couldn't quite pluck up the necessary audacity...

If anyone recognises this personage of  such impressive barefacedness, in retrospect, then please don't let on...

Unless you happen to know his technique of maintaining such delightful sangfroid... In situations of public undercarriage airing..

(Can i have virtue points for not mentioning 'The Crack of Doom', plz?)





Gosh! Crikey! and Crivens! .... Whatever next?? A lenticular cloud to flag us out of the township, thta's whT

Leaving Braemar the next day; after requisite food resupply (theres a well stocked co op, and a plethora of nice cafes)

 And allowing one last peek at 'Ye Olde Gear Shoppe'
Whilst giving thanks for pack weight monitoring - so many lovely items to fondle - I think I bought some socks - they're always allowed ( under my regime)



So
sad that the railway doesnt visit here any more. The old station, doing a passable imitation of a New England clapboard.



First East of of Braemar via Creag Choinnich, supposedly looks like a Lions head -  Mmmn? After how many malts/





Oooooo an eyeful of wiggles, just the thing.... If I have to explain you're not going to get it...

If however you do understand then feel free to p.m. me about taking on lifetime membership of WiTiAS - Once yr hooked in that's it - no going back...

So ;The Wiggly Tin Appreciation Society - Of course its not just corrugated iron, its stacked shipping containers, well made bridges, big cranes, adaptive vernacular responses to a local need, that have either stood the test of time - or that are disintegrating pleasingly back into their surroundings.......

Like I say, if I have to explain more fully, you're really not going to get it




I'll just leave this here...





Then heading back north through the Invercauld Estate.... Why arent more barns painted a pretty pink...? Would cheer up the drear countryside no end...






Almost certain this one fits here... And anyhows who doesn't appreciate a well built bridge ... Over The River Dee we'll surmise..



Onwards and upwards Glenn an t Slugain .....Don't ask me to mangle the pronunciation of that one, with my irritatingly r.p. vowels...





Easy enough walking on the land rover tracks; but can catch out the unwarey. Get too complacent; forget to watch your footing, it only takes an unnoticed pebble in the wrong place to turn over a dainty ladies ankle... 


Not really a fixer - upper...



lunchstop at Slugain ruin with lots of freshly gathered greenery, Old quarrymans hut? It must have been a chilly spot when the easterly wind funnelled up here....



Comes over as tad pedestrian - these are well made deer stalking paths through the wilds, for the benefit of the  "waddling buffoons in their pantaloons" - that's a quote from someone else by the way, so you can't call me out for being rude.. 


It was just after this that we espied what we believed to be a white tailed sea eagle; having fun in the thermals on the far side of the Glen....

Much excitement!! But neither of us are top rank ornithologists so weren't 100% sure if that was what we had spotted.

Our suspicions were later confirmed by three 'proper' birders encountered at the head of Loch Avon..

There is a dissapointing picture somewhere, of the raptor, sadly not the guys, in retrospect those chaps would have made a more interesting tableau...



Phew, that'll do; not going any further...






We fell somewhat short of our proposed target of a summit camp on Ben Avon, that night...

It was grey and threatening rain; it was four in the afternoon; and I was tirederer than just the usual mid afternoon dip... On account of trying to stave off a cold....

I want to stop now, was ventured somewhat petulantly - you see what he has to put up with??

The upside being, that it gave O.H. chance to show off his consumate 'pitching in a tricky, and awkward' spot tautology skills.

There were rocks inside the porch, in fact a drop on my side... one sides guys had to be staked into a bank ... Fiendish stuff..

But I didn't care; my main desire being, to crawl into my bag in the company of Edith, and be brought a delicate dinner on a tray.

It's difficult to feign 'pale and interesting' when one spends most of one days labouring in the hot sunshine but... I'm always game for a bit of role play....





Glad to have stayed low, as by the morning the cold had been chased off by a very early night.... No point turning things into a suffer fest, well beyond doing stuff for gnarlinesses sake...




Clouds obligingly lift, and lower on the way to the plateau like summit of Ben avon...







I guess the upside of not getting up mountains so very often is that 'inversion ennui' rarely sets in... Does it eventually become an unremarkable thing ? I guess not , after all one rarely fails to be charmed; by a decent sunset, even if only espied from the chicken run  .



Easy enough walking here, the soil is dry enough here to discourage lush lichen growth.



 Ben Avon 1,171m, second brew up of the morn.







Excellent cloudscape.. natures free show..



Mustn't dissappoint the folks back home


It's a full time job keeping up with the hat changes...




Some slightly less clement weather forecast for the afternoon, rolling in







I wonder if Neolithic persons found inspiration for their more ambitious projects when wandering past rocks like this... 



Oh hello...





Becoming more like this, the afternoons navigation and going was harder as we made our way via Stob ant- sluichd (!) and Cnap Leum an Eaisaich, (sorry what??) westwards, over the relatively featureless plateau towards the River Avon.

The lichen was heavy work on the legs, the murk was low...

Morale can nearly always be boosted by tea though..


 So very tempting... But I wouldn't consider it really, not even for a moment -

After all I know he will have the lighter in his pocket, as insurance....





Always scanning the horizon for an escape route..... Or is it just a look of panic?

We need to practice the 'having fun on our holibobs' selfies. Maybe a bonnet would help?

waterproof trousers - a necessary evil in this chilly fog..




Wading through lichen.



But still preferable to wading through this...

No; it's not in the slightest bit refreshing  - cups of tea; lie downs; and warm baths are refreshing - this is merely cold, and deeply unpleasant... Oww my poor dainty ankles... 



Yes yes all very sparkly and lovely; tingly feet now I grant you; but still glad to be this side of the Fords of Avon..




Catching up with the goings on of our doomed heroine, Lily Bart in 'The house of Mirth'  (Thats the book  not the Bothy) ... And not quite such a jolly tale, as the title might suggest.

A piquant, and incisive tale of tale of the traps, and trappings of a society beauty; born only to be decorative, and adored....

Soo glad to have the benefits afforded me by those who fought, and still fight yet for gender equality...

We've come along way since Edith's day. The prejudice might not always be as overt as back  then.
But still we operate in a society where male, and other entrenched power, authority, and values are often the assumed norms; even if they are more subtly expressed nowadays.

But on (and on) us obstreporous bonneted femmes will have to go.

What choice do we have? Backsliding? Shutting up, and trying to be nice, and quiet ?



 A tranquil pitch beside a bothy again... Fords of Avon Refuge, really just designed for survival, and afternoon naps perhaps... Not a serious proposition for a comfortable nights sleep.



Peachy morning, looking good for our last proper day out - sigh... Late that night, long after we'd turned in a 'proper' bikepacker  turned up to overnight in the bothy, just as well we hadn't bedded down in there. There was barely room for two  




Plenty of the sparkly bits, on the way up the glen on the way to Loch Avon.









Totally tropical... Lifes a beach sometimes...














Fair weather enjoyment - Much more like it... Although the pack belies a slight last day 'just stuff it all in anyhow 'attitude... i believe  we were also porting out over a kilo of other naughty peoples detritus that had been secreted behind the door in the bothy - 




Almost tempted to swim... But that melt water must end up somewhere.


Then steeply ascending back up north west towards Coire Raibert, destination Cairn Gorm..




Apologies for the 'visit Scotland' shot....



Fabulous geology and water combination, to keep us company trackside.

It gets steeeper as the we near the top.


the picture reminds me of this one.....Guess who....?


Very clean snow,  at the top of the gully.




Last view back down into Loch Avon


Then work our way up to join the ( relative) throng on Cairn Gorm.








Cairn gorm itself at 1,245, feels fairly featureless, theres a radio mast and station, good views, and a lot of people.


Many of whom have been transported up by the railway, before undertaking the arduous 2.5 km trek back down to the carpark

 Snow buntings are taking advantage of picnic crumbs. bird watchers gather to admire them, on this broad topped bird table.

A symbiotic relationship of sorts - and why not?


Having had our fill of folks, we head back south west via Stob Coire an  t-Sneachda.

(lorks! am I glad I don't have to try to pronounce these names)










Looking back east along the escarpment towards Cairn Gorm - not the most spectacular of hills, despite its height -

So now who's getting fussy?




Spectacularly edgy Buttresses numbered rather unoriginally as 1. 2. and 3. on the map, Oh and Fiacalli... Sure there's some logic  or poor map reading on my part) going on here.






View down from Cain Lochan. "Dont go so close to the edge" he pleads...

Whats the problem dear? - You afraid the temptation would be irresistible?






Coming off the hill, such piquant sorrow.

Usually tempered with the prospect of a decent meal and a shower though...



Stomp down the hill, enjoying a fine view of the last bus leaving for Aviemore a good 20 mins before we arrive...

Lucky timing for the freindly family visiting local relatives; whom I accosted in the mountain railway car park, and offered the fabulous chance to transport us back to the campsite...

They got to hear about our whole escapade 'hot off the presses' so to speak, lucky them eh?

And I don't think we smelt that bad really; I did the usual considerate hitchers trick, of keeping my arms closely clamped to my sides just in case though...




" Eat Fresh and Green*  - you know where it's been"

in fact -  better still eat a rainbow - the you too can then prance about like a demented unicorn

Aviemore campsite is perfectly serviceable - the showers are fab' which is just about the most important thing in my book.

Memory is thankfully starting to draw a veil over that evenings proceedings, but I believe there was an almost immediately regretted encounter with a deep fried haggis... 
Yes I know such a cliche; but I was trying to enter into the spirit of  'don't knock it til you've tried it'.

Made one hanker, and wist at least a little, for the wholesome provender, so lovingly tended back at the 'stead.

But still not that happy about leaving..... Until the following morning, the weather pixies having done their bit, the midge fairies sprang into action.... none at all, of the biter blighters this trip. until on the morn of our departure I am bitten once on the arm by one....

Somehow makes getting back on the train a little more bearable



Til next time...


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