Route: as planned except that thanks to Ali Ogden we crossed a new bridge over the River Esk at NO 580 740 and then followed the 'Blue Door' route towards Edzell. We also found a satisfactory back road into North Water Bridge thanks to Bob Cartright, by turning left then right after passing Dalladies, later passing Northgate.
Distance: 29 km (Cum: 310)
Ascent: 300 metres (Cum: 10800)
Time taken: 9.0 hrs including 2.7 hrs breaks - (Cum: 104.9 hours including 21.5 hours breaks)
Weather: sunny - t-shirt weather, cooling and clouding in the afternoon
Click on the link below (Day 13) for details of our planned route:
A much easier day along good tracks and paths, not to mention a little bit along roads.
I didn't sleep as well on the hard ground in the vicinity of snoring bodies as I had done in our isolated wild camping spots, but never mind - we've slept very well on this trip.
The camping ground woke slowly, and we were away fairly early at 8 am on a fine morning. After only fifteen minutes we reached The Retreat together with Richard and Rosemary.
They had opened specially early for us. Full breakfasts all round. Excellent.
Making way for more customers, we strolled off down the road, soon diverging from R&R's route by heading up to St Andrew's Tower (pictured - top), a masonic masterpiece built in 1826 with a room that holds three people - a refuge in times of bad weather.
We strolled on back to the road just as the others passed by. Barred from crossing the obvious, but private and locked, bridge, we doubled back with Barbara and Ellie to cross the next bridge upstream.
After the first off-road stage across moorland, we now moved to picturesque farmland paths beside the River Esk (second picture), down to the new bridge that was duly crossed. The path soon led to a road and thence to one end of the highly recommended 'Blue Door' walk.
A lovely waterside stroll all the way to a footbridge to Edzell followed. Sue is pictured at the southern end of the Blue Door walk, and the woodland we then passed through is also shown.
The Tuck Inn café in Edzell is a favourite with Challengers. We spent a good hour there in the company of Vicky and Toby and others before making way for a large contingent led by birthday girl Lynsey, who appeared to be gaining quite an entourage.
Lots more were at the pub, soon after which we picked up Graham Brookes for the easy walk to the campsite at North Water Bridge.
The breeze from the sea was now cooler, so fleeces were donned as tents went up and soapless showers were enjoyed. We've been using baby wipes and dry wash gel, and this was the first time we'd noticed soap was absent from our possessions.
Our good friend who lives in Aberdeen, Jon Metcalf, had been waiting for us at the campsite. We had nearly run out of provisions, with nothing for tonight and just enough in our bags to see us to the coast tomorrow, so the cold buffet for four that emerged from Jon's vehicle was both a treat and necessary sustenance. The four picnic chairs added to our comfort, to the envy of others drifting into the campsite after eventually having torn themselves away from the fleshpots of Edzell.
Our party was complete when Alison arrived with the beer. Alison gives us a bed and a car parking spot when we travel up to Montrose by car and get public transport to the start of the Challenge. That was not needed this year, so it was great to see Alison here.
The cold buffet provided by Jon was extensive. You are a star, Jon. There was enough to provide a few titbits of sandwiches, mini pizzas and dips, etc, to other Challengers in the vicinity, and whilst Lynsey already had a selection of birthday fare, the large chocolate cake provided by Jon meant that none of her gathering cluster of friends went short.
The weather held, and the birthday party continued outside whilst Sue and I dozed, replete, in the comfort of our cosy sleeping bags.
A lovely day, crowned by the superb buffet supper. Thanks again, Jon and Alison.
There's a slideshow for the day (38 images) - here. Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.
Next Day - Day 14