Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 28 May 2022

Saturday 28 May 2022 - Montrose parkrun #180

After waving goodbye to our TGO Challenge friends, Sue and I enjoyed Montrose's 5km parkrun and a final visit for coffees and strawberry tarts at the nearby fruit farm.

We've done this parkrun three times, with Sue getting faster and me getting slower each time. All good fun, and by 5pm we had covered the 320 miles back to Timperley without incident.

Friday 27 May 2022

Friday 27 May 2022 - The End of Another TGO Challenge

Another walk to the fruit farm found us trying to identify the hedgerow flowers:
Germander speedwell
Wild pansy
Not pictured:
White clover
Birdsfoot Trefoil 
Mouse-ear chickweed
Red campion 
Bush vetch
White campion 
Ribwort plantain
Field chickweed
Common daisy 
Scots broom
Common hawthorn
Cow parsley
Tuberous comfrey
Field forget-me-not 
Bulbous buttercup
Red stem storksbill

The fruit farm's cafe was quiet this morning, until half a dozen Challengers, led by Rob Slade, erupted from the gloomy interior.

The group disappeared into the jungle at the end of a dead end track, whilst Sue and I sourced some strawberry punnets to bring back to Control.

We had got ahead of the errant party by the time they reached Kinnaber Links, on the top of a huge sand dune. Photos were taken.

Then, the closest you can get to a scree run in the UK these days.

More photos with everyone's camera except mine, then Sue took this picture of me and Rob marching up the beach towards Montrose.

Then more socialising with many good friends, old and new, and the final dinner of the event.

Graham receives an award for his 30th crossing.

Heather celebrates her 10th crossing.

Thursday 26 May 2022

Thursday 26 May 2022 - Charleton Fruit Farm

Sue and I took a 5km stroll to the fruit farm, past some of the devastation caused by winter winds.

It was warm enough to sit outside with our coffees and strawberry tarts. Delicious as always.

An assortment of TGO Challengers arrived from North Water Bridge to brighten our day.

We walked with a few folk - Kevin, Emma, Barry, Louise, Ester and Ian, to the beach at Kinnaber Links, where they celebrated by dipping their toes in the sea and finishing off Ian's whisky.

Then it was a stroll back to the Park Hotel in increasing wind, to meet with other Challengers before enjoying a superb meal at the hard to find Ma Yom Thai restaurant.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Wednesday 25 May 2022 - Braemar to Montrose

Today's two hour drive from Thornbank Cottage in Braemar to the Park Hotel in Montrose was punctuated by a two hour break in Drumoak by way of a surprise visit to Bill and Sal, who we thank for providing an excellent lunch. It was great to see them  and we hope their imminent new kitchen looks as good in real life as it does pictured on Bill's phone.

The Park Hotel, believe it or not, is next to a park...

We enjoyed a short walk after communing with an assortment of TGO Challengers, some manning Control, some visiting like us, some hanging on after dropping out, and some even having succeeded in walking from coast to coast!

It was good to bump into the 'founder' of the event, Hamish Brown, forever scanning the horizon for finishers at Scurdie Ness.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Tuesday 24 May 2022 - Derry Cairngorm

On a fine morning Sue and I drove to the Linn of Dee, jumped on our bikes, and pedalled about 5km up the track to Derry Lodge.

Abandoning our bikes, we crossed a new footbridge and headed up the excellent path that leads after another 6km or so to the summit of Derry Cairngorm. 

We passed a couple who were maintaining the path together with their two lovely dogs, then paused for elevenses in view of our objective.

The minor (890 metres) summit of Carn Crom was soon reached, yielding fine views across the length and breadth of the Cairngorm plateau and beyond.

There wasn't much flora and fauna to admire, but as we continued to our objective skylarks and wheatears made their presence known, and increasing amounts of alpine azalea were encountered underfoot. Lower down, bearberry and bog asphodel had established homes in the thin soil.

Here's a view towards Ben Macdui from the summit - the last picture I took as afternoon showers made their presence felt. A couple of Dutch backpackers arrived as we were enjoying our lunch on the summit, and we met another backpacker later as we descended back to base. 

Monday 23 May 2022

Monday 23 May 2022 - Beinn a Bhuird North Top

Another bike ride took us past a family of hares near Mar Lodge then up Glen Quoich to the foot of a gentle climb to the North Top of Beinn a Bhuird, one of Sue's hitherto unclimbed Munros.

Simon having gone home last night, it was just Sue and Alastair and me today, and I didn't plan on doing anything more than the bike ride. I took a wrong option beside the river and finished up well behind the others. But I decided to continue on foot in the nice weather and got to the top in time for lunch. But my lunch had been left far below by the river as I'd not been expected at the summit!

There's still quite a bit of snow on the high summits of the Cairngorms.

A couple of rain showers during the descent led to brief concerns about the level of water in the river, but even Sue was able to get across without wetting her feet!

Our return to the car was varied from the ascent by way of a visit to the Linn of Quoich.

Then Alastair went to his dad's in Yorkshire and Sue and I entertained John Enoch, one of my TGO Challenge vettees, who happens to be staying at the campsite tonight. He is on schedule, and we enjoyed a very pleasant evening with him.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Sunday 22 May 2022 - A bike ride and Creag Choinnich

Alastair and Simon joined us here at Thornbank Cottage last night. Today we cycled about 6 miles up Glen Ey. I cycled back down as the weather looked bleak. The others climbed Beinn Iutharn Moor.

Back in Braemar after an enjoyable bike ride, I went for a short (6 km) stroll up nearby Creag Choinnich. There was a fine view down to Braemar from the summit.

My route took me to the Lion's Face, which I assume is the slab of rock pictured below.

Then we reconvened at Thornbank in expectation of a good meal at Farquesons before Simon goes home.

(Brief entries just now - no WiFi, poor phone signal, etc. I'll edit and add more photos when back at home.)