Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 26 June 2021

Saturday 26 June 2021 - Carn an Tuirc, Cairn of Claise, Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

We started by parking beside the A93 road north of the Cairnwell pass, and saying hello to Anne and Ulrich as they pedalled past on a 60 mile journey south.

A quaint bridge marked the start of our walk.

Numerous folk were encountered as we strode up to our first Munro summit for some considerable time.

It was a bit misty, but great to be up high.

Cloudberry loves such conditions.

Three more Munro summits followed, in gradually improving weather, and with numerous friendly encounters.

After an excellent circuit, described below, our final summit of Sron na Gaoithe offered a splendid view towards Braemar, and to the central Cairngorm summits beyond.

Here's our route - 21km with 900 metres ascent, taking us nearly 7 hours.

The route we followed is described in the SMC Munros guide.

On return to Braemar we enjoyed the company of a select band of TGO Challengers outside the chip shop, and later in the Invercauld Hotel bar - which was open despite the hotel being closed.

Alan Sloman turned up, looking freshly laundered and fresh as a daisy, so we enjoyed a beer with him and his 'minder' Lindsay, who is standing in for Uncle Phil this year.

There are far fewer Challengers than usual here in Braemar, but given the Covid crisis and the obvious nervousness of the locals, the numbers are probably about right.

Friday 25 June 2021

Friday 25 June 2021 - Carn Liath

With rain and strong winds forecast, we chose an easy walk, starting up Glen Ey from Inverey. So it didn't rain, we had a pleasant walk, and we were back down at Inverey by 2pm, having seen not a soul on the hill. Apart from a few herds of deer.

On the way to Inverey we had stopped to chat with a TGO Challenger, Patrick Deane, on his 14th Challenge and still going strong at the age of 78. We spoke to Gayle at TGO Control a few minutes later, so Patrick may have been a little surprised if he called in and they already knew he was at Braemar!

As indicated by these pictures, we enjoyed a good track nearly all the way.

There were convenient trackside rocks on which to enjoy elevenses. 

Fine views of the high summits of the Cairngorms were obtained from our 818 metre summit, a 'Corbett Top'. But the weather in that direction and to our west was distinctly dubious. We were happy to be a bit lower down in cool but fair weather. Around 0°C with windchill.

Tramping back down to and then along the track, we enjoyed good views and admired a wide range of wild flowers. 

Some of the flowers seen today:
Alpine Bistort
Bell Heather
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Chickweed Wintergreen
Common Butterwort
Common Milkwort (pictured below)
Common Rockrose
Common Spotted Orchid
Lady's Mantle 
Marsh Marigold
Spiniest Thistle
Starry Saxifrage
White Clover
Wild Thyme (pictured above)

It was cool, about 10°C in the valley, much cooler, with windchill, higher up. We were glad to regain the shelter of the trees.

Near the end of the walk we decided to hop across the stream and take the bridge over the river in Glen Ey. Somehow Sue managed to get a boot full of water. It's now drying by the fire in the cottage.

Here's our, mostly there and back, route - 15.5km with about 480 metres ascent, taking less than 4 hours. (Click on the image for a better version.)

Here's the route description from a little 'Deeside Walks' booklet.

The fish and chip shop provided our tea tonight, after we had encountered a couple more Challengers - Alan Ross, who has given up due to a slipping injury, and Alan Crossey. Mick Hopkins arrived. He has also given up. Then we bumped into Steve O'Hara, ahead of schedule as he took a short cut due to injured knees.

The next distraction was the arrival of Ann and Ulrich on their bikes. A complete surprise. We spent the evening with them.

The locals are very wary of tourists here...
"You never know" asserted the lady outside the fish and chip shop, "they may have come from Manchester!"

(Historic note: Covid rates are quite high in parts of Greater Manchester; they are also high in parts of Scotland.)

Thursday 24 June 2021

Thursday 24 June 2021 - A Trip to Braemar

This is our first visit to Scotland for a long time - since my trip with Markus in October 2019, and in Sue's case since a TGO Challenge reunion earlier that year. 

Our first stop, at Tebay - pictured above - was marred by the sight of a man at a nearby table having a heart attack. We saw the ambulance heading for him soon after we left the services. It must have taken about 30 minutes to get to him. We hope he was OK.

Apart from that, our 300 mile journey was uneventful, if a bit damp at times. We reached the comfort of Thornbank Cottage at 4pm.

A pause in the rain enabled us to stroll around Braemar. We passed the Invercauld Hotel - closed for renovations, it looks very dilapidated. 

Further along the road, the view back to Braemar features a few cows in the foreground. Missed from this picture are the herd of deer - all boys with big horns - and the shrieking oyster catchers amongst a warren of rabbits.

Back in Braemar, the once dilapidated Fife Arms Hotel seems to have been converted into a high class establishment on the apparently thriving high street.

Before returning to our peaceful base at Thornbank Cottage (no TV, no Wi-Fi, lots of books to read) we noticed four gaudy Range Rovers that we had passed in Glenshee. Very strange...

Then it was back home for a lovely Greek salad etc and a peaceful evening, a toast to 'Mr Grumpy' - Peter Goddard (RIP), and the soft patter of raindrops inducing what I expect to be a long sleep.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Landscape Arch

We have lots of photo albums, both 'in the flesh' and in a digital format. I enjoy browsing through them from time to time.

A 'random hit' amongst the digital albums produced this picture, taken in September 2003 with our first digital camera. It's in an album that has sat unmolested on the computer since being downloaded after the trip. There's no indication as to where the picture was taken, but it wasn't hard for me to identify Arches National Park.

We must have used print film on that trip, as I soon found an album stuffed with such prints. Thus I was able to identify this as 'Landscape Arch'. I haven't the inclination just now to bore everyone with that day's diary entry.

'USA 2003 - Trip Report'. It's on the list!

PS I have paid a brief visit to this album in the past - here.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Cressbrook Dale

I finally managed to get back up and running this afternoon. It took ages, but I managed to avoid having to wait on a help line. Nor could I work out what was actually wrong - perhaps a Firewall issue - that was one of several things I fiddled with. 

Not that there's anything to look at on the website, but being unable to update it was annoying me.

So, being disinclined to spend even more time in front of a computer screen, here's today's random picture, taken in the Peak District. It seems that I've used it before, but never mind...

Monday 21 June 2021

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 67: 14 May 2016)

After a longish 22 km day traversing a high, broad ridge, we passed Monar Lodge and set up camp by Allt Toll a'Mhuic (dry, so we had to use filtered river water) on a pleasant but cool evening at NH 225 391.

We had taken a little over 10 hours, whereas Richard Fuell, who was again camping near us, had started earlier and finished later, taking about 12 hours over the same route. He was good company when our paths did enter some form of synchrony.

Sunday 20 June 2021

19 and 20 June 2021 - A Sociable Weekend

The weekend started with a Friday evening visit to Al and Hazel's house, where we enjoyed a lovely meal, thanks to the recent relaxation of Lockdown rules. Our first meal in someone else's house since March 2020!

Saturday morning saw the usual gathering of parkrunners at Wythenshawe, followed by a visit to Laura's new house in Northenden, with its freshly landscaped garden - thanks to mum and dad, Paul and Jeanette, and brother Greg, who did most of the work. [Must go there again for a photo!] We were home for lunch.

Meanwhile, parkrun has started for the juniors. Here's Jacob during one of his 2km sprints.

Today, Sunday, Mike and Sarah hosted a family get together at their house and in Fletcher Moss Park. Jessica soon showed her bravery by standing on top of a giant ant hill.

Then a kind man who said he had been fully vaccinated took a splendid group photo.

Ice creams covered with marshmallows seem to be the order of the day.

We all enjoyed a picnic, and Baby Isabella tucked in to her lunch as usual, and was handed round to everyone except the dog.

Thanks again to Mike and Sarah for hosting. It was lovely to spend an 'issue free' few hours with the family.

And thanks to Sarah for the following pictures, which I'm sure Great Grandma Dot will enjoy looking at.