Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 3 July 2021

Saturday 3 July 2021 - Back in Timperley

Back at home, a (not)parkrun marked the start of our weekend, and re-introduced us to rain, not a drop of which had been encountered during our week t'other side of Hadrian's Wall.

De Quincey Park is very green just now, and on the Bridgewater Canal the ducks seemed happy enough. 

Oliver still stood watchfully in front of Wythenshawe Hall.

The hall remains behind a high green fence. In the 'Old Days' we used to congregate right next to the front door on a Saturday morning. 

These days we go for a lonesome run and then congregate in the park or in the tea room behind the hall. Just a few hard core (not) runners today.

It was wet!

Friday 2 July 2021

Friday 2 July 2021 - TGOC 2021 comes to an end

Here are a few Challengers past and present this morning outside the Park Hotel in Montrose. On the left is Mike P, very tired but happy to have completed his ninth crossing.

After chatting with many old friends, we left for home before lunchtime and sadly missed the arrival of John Burt, who completed his twentieth Challenge today. Well done John, now in his 80's. I wonder whether he will do any more....?

Thursday 1 July 2021

Thursday 1 July 2021 - TGOC reaches Montrose

Today's excitement began with the departure of JJ back to his homeland. First Class of course.

After a good Park Hotel breakfast, Sue and I headed to Charleton Fruit Farm, about a 6km stroll, for lunch comprising coffee/tea and their superb strawberry tart.

We joined Maggie and Barbara.

After over two hours at the farm we chatted to another group of Challengers. 

By this time 'Control' were becoming concerned at the paucity of finishers. The delights of the fruit farm were to blame...

Various reprobates then proceeded to dip their toes in the North Sea, thus completing this year's TGO Challenge.

Sue is an 'extra', the others are all genuine Challengers...

A short walk to the Park Hotel brought us to a most sociable (social distance compliant) garden party and three presentations to folk who had completed ten Challenges, before a socially distanced evening meal.

A good time was had by all, thanks to the organisers Sue and Ali, Gayle Mick and Alan on Control, the staff of the Park Hotel, and all the participants. 

Well done everyone. 

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Wednesday 30 June 2021 - Braemar to Montrose

Last night we enjoyed a stroll by the banks of the river Dee - here's a view (above), on the outskirts of Braemar. 

Today we packed our bags and tidied the cottage, enjoying coffees on the lawn before departing on the road to Montrose. 

It was a shame to be saying goodbye to the resident robins, blackbirds and red squirrels. 

Before long we passed a lumbering hunchbacked backpacker on the road to Potarch. He accepted our offer of tea and tomatoes. It was good to see you again, JB.

We had realised that we would pass near Bill and Sal's house in Drumoak. We established that they were at home and we were able to call in for an hour or so. It was great to catch up. Bill features on a few of these pages (he is memorable for organising a motoring trip in the Egyptian desert), but we had not met Sal before. Sadly I omitted to record this encounter 'on film'.

So, on to Montrose, and the Park Hotel, where this year's TGO Challengers were signing in after their leg stretch from the west coast.

We arrived at the same time as two Old Lags  in skirts alighted from a taxi. Who knows what the taxi driver thought of them - she drove quickly away.

After chatting with various Challengers and hangers-on, Sue and I enjoyed a 7km stroll around the environs of Montrose, some pictures from which follow:

Our evening meal was a tasty one, courtesy of Tesco's well stocked salad shelves. That was after we had congregated outside the hotel for a presentation to 80 year old Alan Kay, in celebration of his 20th crossing. Alan was the first person I met after starting out from Strathcarron on my first TGOC crossing in 2007. The award ceremony was held outside in these most unusual of times.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Tuesday 29 June 2021 - Ben Avon

A blue sky day greeted us, plus hot chocolate croissants from the Co-op. 

Sue and I (now on our own as Simon has gone home and the TGO Challengers should all have gone through) drove to the £3 car park at Keiloch and set off on our bikes past Invercauld House and up Gleann an t-Slugain.

After 8km we reached the ruins of Slugain Lodge, before which we'd abandoned our bikes beside the track.

Had we known that the path, after a steep, rough section, continued amiably on for another 5km, we'd have stayed on the bikes. The path, shown below, is reminiscent of some of the Swiss and Austrian TransAlp routes that I've enjoyed in the past with Markus.

We lunched in a lovely spot shaded by rocks at the col between Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird. Then we ascended to the rocky summit of Ben Avon with views back to the Beinn a'Bhuird peaks.

We enjoyed our time on the summit. Before admiring this next view towards more of the mountain's tors and the east coast beyond, we scrambled up to the summit rocks. Rather easier than the last time I was there - on a TGO Challenge in a very strong wind.

Here's a view to the west from the summit rocks.

Just below the summit, on the barren plateau, we came across a small patch of moss campion, bravely holding on to life. 

We chose to descend over the Munro Top - Carn Eas, where I'm pictured, with Ben Avon behind me in the distance.

Soon we could see the clear brown line of our path back to the bikes, beyond a steep, heathery descent.

We saw fewer than ten people on the hill today - albeit more than yesterday - one of whom we met on the way down. He had started out after lunch and hoped to be down from the Beinn a'Bhuird round by 9pm. The weather was perfect for that.

After picking up the bikes, we cycled the 8km back to the car park in little more than half an hour - great fun, and no pedestrians were damaged.

Here's where we walked (click on the image for a better version) - 18.5km, with 750 metres ascent, taking about 6.5 hours from the ruined lodge.

And here's the 8km cycle route.

What a fine outing, our last one for the moment from Braemar, where we are indebted to Simon, our host. 
Thank you Simon.

Monday 28 June 2021

Monday 28 June 2021 - Glas Maol and Creag Leacach

Today we were joined by Simon and were therefore able to leave a car at the Spittal of Glenshee and return to the Cairnwell Pass to start our walk.

The weather was perfect as we headed up easily to the minor summit of Meall Odhar, from where the above picture was taken.

There were fine views in all directions as we continued onwards to our elevenses break at the summit of our first Munro of the day, Glas Maol.

Continuing along the broad ridge, we reached our second Munro, Creag Leacach, without difficulty and enjoyed a lavish lunch on the rocky summit.

Then we proceeded along the ridge, over Carn Ait and two more minor summits, to get to Carn an Daimh, from where we descended to the Cateran Trail path and thence to our dumped car at the Spittal. 

What on earth was a shovel doing at this pimple on the ridge?

More flowers were identified, to be summarised in a future posting. I thought this one was Crosswort, until AlanR commented. I now agree with him and think it's Heath Bedstraw. Currently it forms huge carpets on some of the hillsides near Braemar.

Below is the view before the descent to the Spittal. Here there were mountain hares lolloping about the place, golden plovers looking after their babies, and various other birds going about their business under the watchful eye of a bird of prey.

Here's our route - 16km with 650 metres ascent, taking about 6 hours. An excellent little outing.

After the usual tea and biscuits etc, and Simon mowing the lawn, we adjourned to the Braemar Lodge Hotel for a meal with an Old TGOC Lag, John Burt, with whom we spent a most sociable, if unexpected evening, having bumped into him earlier in the street.

Sunday 27 June 2021

Sunday 27 June 2021 - Beinn a' Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

Another long day in the hills in fine weather.

These were two 'new' Munro summits for Sue, and it's a while since I went up them.

A 5km bike ride from Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge (and back later) helped to make the exertion less than it would have been without the bikes.

It was a lovely walk up Glen Derry during which we encountered a mountain biker heading for Derry Cairngorm and Beinn Mheadhoin.

Elevenses at the river junction with Glas Allt Mor offered good views back down the valley.

More flowers were admired today, including lots of this Dwarf Cornel.

We enjoyed lunch and some fine views of the central Cairngorms at the 1082 metre summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn.

Then a long yomp south, during which we saw a few other folk, got us eventually to our second Munro summit, Beinn Breac.

From there, a good path led back to Glen Derry, and the bike ride back to Linn of Dee.

Here's our 20km walking route, with 800 metres ascent, taking less than 7 hours.

On return to Braemar we were joined by Simon, our friend who owns the cottage, and by a TGO Challenger, Mike Parsons, who I think appreciated being fed and watered in preparation for his ongoing travails towards the east coast.