Tuesday, 24 May 2016
TGO Challenge 2016 - Day 11 - Cairn Sawvie by Brown Cow Hillr to Ballater (campsite - NO 370 952 - 200 metres)
Route: as planned
Distance: 25 km (Cum: 248)
Ascent: 400 metres (Cum: 8250)
Time taken: 8.5 hrs including breaks
Weather: sunny periods followed by long showers
Just a short entry today as it's bedtime already.
A lovely walk in nice countryside with no Challengers encountered until we reached Ballater and bumped into Heather T-S in the high street. Followed that with hasty showers before dashing to the Alexandra for an evening with Sue and Neil (celebrating making it to 60) as well as Heather.
Our only other encounter of the day was with a gamekeeper. A nice chap. He told us Inchrory, the mansion we passed yesterday, is owned by the 'Tetrapak' family, and that the nest we had seen destroyed earlier in the day was probably the victim of ravens, which he told us were a pest of increasing concern to farmers. He shared some of our views about the fancy electric fences..
Last night's wild camping spot near the top of Brown Cow Hill was great. The soft mattress of lichen afforded a perfect night's sleep. The wind dropped and there was complete silence apart from the occasional sound of an alarmed grouse.
After a slow start over rough ground we dropped to the banks of the River Garn and enjoyed a largely tarmac free stroll into Ballater. Lunch was taken on a bench near a house where the owner kindly gave us some water as our supply from near Inchrory was running low. After that we enjoyed quiet tracks and paths (no other walkers) and an encounter with a tractor of the RED variety.
Parts of Ballater are effectively no go areas after the floods of a few months ago. Many properties are having to be completely refurbished.
The campsite is operational though, and we'll get a good night's sleep, I'm sure. ..
Slideshow for the Day
Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.
Next Day - Day 12