Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 20 May 2023

Saturday 20 May 2023 - Carn Mor


After a lovely meal last night, fortified by Diane's breakfast this morning, we were set well to enjoy a 15km circuit from Chapeltown, over the Corbett summit of Carn Mor (804 metres). I'm pictured on the top.

The onward journey to Braemar had us arriving at 5pm, just as Mike Parsons got there in his van, now parked outside for the night, and Mike has spent the evening with us.

A minor panic regarding Mike's wife Marian's whereabouts seems to be resolved - her tracker's battery has probably expired. 

Friday 19 May 2023

Friday 19 May 2023 - Carn Ealasaid

This morning the TGO Challenge Control team left Newtonmore at 6am to relocate to the signing in point for participants - the Park Hotel in Montrose. 

Sue and I slept through their departure and woke to an eerily quiet hostel. We had breakfasted and started to tidy the hostel and extricate our possessions when a string of Challengers arrived, all begging for tea and cake. It was duly provided and the morning flew past.

Eventually we got away and an hour's drive got us to the foot of Carn Ealasaid, just beyond Tomintoul. 

We walked a little way together but it soon became clear that my slow pace would result in a rush to our B&B and to a 6pm restaurant booking. So Sue went ahead and I just pottered along, turning back around the 500 metre mark, by which time Sue was a dot on the horizon. Can you spot her, heading for the summit, which is on the far left in the next picture?

Here's Sue's proof that she did reach the 792 metre summit before trotting back down to join me.

I had descended gently, relishing good views to the north in today's splendid weather.

Sue spotted some clumps of Cloudberry as she made her way through the tussocky heather.

Argyle House is an excellent B&B that we've been to before. We have a lovely room in which we have plenty of time to relax before strolling along to the Clockhouse restaurant.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Thursday 18 May 2023 - A Day at TGO Challenge Control

We have enjoyed our few days at Challenge Control with the Co-ordinators, Ali and Sue, pictured above, and Gayle, Mick and Alan.

Numerous Challengers have passed through Newtonmore Hostel whilst we've been here, and it has been great to catch up with old friends. Here are some of this morning's batch.

Later, I enjoyed a walk towards Kingussie with Marian - going well after some toenail surgery.

A highlight of the days has been the communal dinners in which everyone has had a hand and Adrian has excelled at washing up. Tonight Sue and Adrian conjured something out of left overs, on our final night in Newtonmore before 'Control' relocates to Montrose and Sue and I continue our holiday by way of a trip to Tomintoul. 

Happy Days.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Wednesday 17 May 2023 - Binnein Shuas

After a half hour drive to the far end of Loch Laggan, Sue and I pedalled off along the wrong track (above) with different objectives in mind.

Sue went ahead once we'd backtracked to the correct track. Then she headed down another wrong track - towards Corrour. I left my bike at the end of Lochan na h-Earba and set off up Binnein Shuas, from the ascent of which I got the following view.

Meanwhile, Sue eventually got to the end of the lochan, from where she could set off up Beinn a'Chlachair then Geal Charn and Creag Pitridh.

She arrived at her first summit just as I got to the summit of Binnein Shuas and took a selfie.

There was a good but hazy view NE to Binnein Shios and beyond.

Back down at Lochan na h-Earba, I took a short stroll to the end of the loch for the following view of the Binnein summits.

An 18 minute bike ride took me back to the lay-by at Moy. Sue arrived a couple of hours later, having achieved all her objectives. 

Dinner at Challenge Control, provided by Ali and Adrian, was excellent. 

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Tuesday 16 May 2023 - Highland Wildlife Park


A five hour visit to the local wildlife park kept Sue and me entertained today.

The highlight, not photographed due to their shyness, was an hour's talk from Helena and Jasper on the topic of wildcats and their imminent introduction to the Cairngorms National Park. 22 genetically pure youngsters will be set free in three weeks or so.

Monday 15 May 2023

Monday 15 May 2023 - Ord Ban

The Benleva Hotel was a good place to stay. It services Great Glen Way walkers and is blessed with this 450 year old Spanish sycamore tree, also known as 'The Hanging Tree'. An interesting history, no doubt!

A drive through Inverness to Aviemore brought us to the Rothiemurchus Forest, and a quiet road head by Loch an Eilein. From here, a half hour walk past a locked bothy and up a zigzag path took us to the fine little summit of Ord Ban (428 metres).

Great views.

Back down for lunch, then a pleasant walk around Loch an Eilein. 

On to Challenge Control at Newtonmore, then a nice veggie lasagne with the gang.

Sunday 14 May 2023

Sunday 14 May 2023 - A Journey to Drumnadrochit

A 400 mile drive on remarkably quiet roads. Coffee at Tebay, where the mallards were struggling to keep their chicks in order.

Then on to Newtonmore Hostel to deliver some lasagne for tomorrow night, and onwards to the Benleva Hotel in Drumnadrochit. 

This was a TGO Challenge booking for what should have been my fourth day on the Challenge. Non refundable so we came here anyway.

Dinner at the Fiddler's was excellent. We met Peter Atkinson, and John and Sue Tattersall, the latter joining us later for a drink at Benleva.