Sunshine blessed us after a warm night, the brisk breeze having dissipated as usual in the evening.
Andy Wright soon passed by. He's a fisherman - an early riser.
After a chat with Mole and Ed, who is another fan of the Pyrenees, I got going around 8 am, along the easy path to Bynack Lodge. There was no need to go all the way there, so I cut across the two little streams that eventually flow into the River Dee, and took to the grassy slopes of Buachaille Breige. It was a very easy climb, which I was happy to extend to take in a 788 metre top as well as 818 metre Carn Liath, which had a good windbreak and fine views over Deeside. I enjoyed these whilst demolishing my last tin of fish and catching up with these postings.
I then missed a trick by taking to my planned route down the Allt Cristie Beag LRT to Inverey. A couple I met on the way down confirmed that a descent via the Carn na Moine ridge would have been rather more scenic, with a lovely Alpine style finish through pine woods. Never mind.
Many Challengers must have walked down the road from Inverey today. I saw just one, Nicole, who I chatted to briefly before heading into the forest towards the Morrone Birkwood above Braemar. A delightful stroll - it amazes me how many Challengers seem to prefer to walk along the road. Quite sad really.
It started to drizzle as I approached Thornbank, the cottage that Simon and Kat have kindly lent me for the night. So I dumped my bag there and headed to the nearest tea shop to join Graham Weaver and others. Then Alastair P and Andy Walker strolled past so I joined them and many more in the Fife Arms. JJ and Alan R were both there, preparing themselves for the excitement of an evening at Loch Callater Lodge.
A visit to the outdoor shop resolved a broken spork problem, then the butcher and the Co-op provided supplies for a bit of home cooking at Thornbank while my clothes wash and dry. It was good to have a chat with Sue, who seems to be indoors working while the sun beams from an otherwise empty sky in Timperley.