DAY EIGHT, FRIDAY: BLAIR ATHOLL TO BYNACK LODGE
Having cleared two toast racks ("mixed, please," thus avoiding the awkwardness of choosing white death or sack-cloth and ashes with the granary-wholemeal-brown option) fresh fruit and a hearty fry up with posh sauces, great coffee and fruit juices, I was once again set up for the day.
I recommend Dalgreine Guest House
I hadn't managed to unscramble the cats cradle of the pitchlock end of my tent, but I could always sort that out when I got to Braemar, or perhaps Clova, or Montrose? Note: I've been home some months now and it's a little job that still hasn't been crossed off my 'to-do' list. That's life.
|STARTING A DECENT BREAKFAST|
At half past eight I found myself (there was no-one else to find me) at the junction of the main road through Blair and the minor road that heads up Glen Tilt, buoyed up by the promise of a lovely day heading up the Tilt and meeting up with Jayme, Peter and Mario, who were at this very moment ploughing into a decent breakfast themselves.
The route I had submitted to our Glorious Girls to pass on to the Vetters had me heading directly north east passing beneath Beinn a' Ghlo, then down to Daldhu then northwards to almost Fealar Lodge and heading to Braemar via Miadan Mor and Carn Dearg and onwards to Glen Ey. This held no terrors as Phil and I had passed this way in years gone by, when we were well over ten years younger and before either of us had been under countless surgeons' knives. However, after only just managing my first week I thought Glen Tilt was a wiser route selection; it was still a longish day of some seventeen or eighteen miles. Happily, Sue agreed with me.
|DAY EIGHT, FRIDAY MORNING: RIGHT CLICK TO ENLARGE IN NEW WINDOW|
The walk up lower Glen Tilt is beautiful in any weather with the main attraction being the river tumbling down its rocky chasm, cloaked in wonderfully fresh foliage. It would be an unusual fellow who could not let this sylvan bliss seep inside his soul. Every step of the way your pack becomes a little lighter, your problems melting away into oblivion as you peek around the next corner to find the scenery shifters' next tableau. This is nature's theatre on steroids.
|LOWER GLEN TILT: BEAT 2|
|LOWER GLEN TILT: WHAT'S ROUND THE CORNER?|
|LOWER GLEN TILT. MORE BLISSFUL AMBLING|
|MARBLE LODGE - YOU CAN RENT THIS AS A HOLIDAY HOME|
|DAY EIGHT, FRIDAY AFTERNOON: RIGHT CLICK TO ENLARGE IN NEW WINDOW|
It was a bit cooler now, with the wind freshening and bringing with it some heavier cloud. I was in no particular hurry so set off at my standard pace. I'd had lunch just shy of halfway to my intended overnight at Bynack Lodge, but once there I had only to pop up the Notch, have a bite to eat and get some rest so there was plenty of time.
|LOOKING UP THE TRENCH TO THE LAST PLANTATION|
|LOOKING BACK DOWN THE GLEN. THE BRIDGE AT NORTHING 763 LEADS TO A GREAT CAMP SPOT|
|BEDFORD BRIDGE, SPANNING TARF WATER|
|L-R: PAUL, MARIO, PETER AND JAYME|
|FIVE MINUTES PAST FIVE, LOOKING BACK AT THE INCOMING WEATHER|
|TWENTY FIVE MINUTES PAST FIVE. INCOMING!|
|TEN TO SIX - THE FIRST SHOWERS HAVING PASSED.|
|FIVE PAST SIX - ABOUT A MILE TO GO|
DAY NINE, SATURDAY: BYNACK LODGE TO BRAEMAR
(or, An easy day to the Fife Arms Hotel bar)
|DAY NINE: RIGHT CLICK TO ENLARGE IN A NEW WINDOW|
Now then, sit up straight at the back and take note: Today you'll see quite a few pictures of Challengers. This is my ninth day of fourteen on the TGO Challenge and at long last I'm bumping into other Challengers! I know I've already introduced you to Paul, Mario, Peter and Jayme, but today I'm going to be walking with and seeing many more! After a veritable drought, there's now a flood of wonderful people all battling the elements, all suffering tweaks and pulls, and all sporting smiles and suntans.
|UP AND ABOUT AT 6:20AM|
|LOOKING DOWN THE BYNACK BURN|
|6:30 AM. BACK IN THE WARMTH OF MY BAG|
|LOOKING BACK UP THE BYNACK BURN TO BYNACK LODGE|
|LOUISE'S PICTURE: NINE O'CLOCK, STARTING TO FORD THE GELDIE|
|EMMA'S PICTURE, 9:01|
|PHOTO C/O EMMA: WHITE BRIDGE, WITH BARRY, LOUISE, AND ME IN A NATTY SAFFRON JACKET|
|PHOTO C/O EMMA: AT TOMNANMOINE - MARIO, BARRY, ME PETER, LOUISE & JAYME|
|PETER & JAYME'S BEARD COMPETITION|
|LOOKING TOWARDS THE LINN OF DEE|
|TARMAC, THE LINN OF DEE AND A WELCOME NOTICE FROM MAR LODGE: RIGHT-CLICK TO BLOW UP IN A NEW WINDOW|
|THE MAGNIFICENT BEN DOLPHIN AT MAR LODGE|
|A MAGNIFICENT PICTURE OF LOUISE (TRUST ME, THERE WERE WORSE!)|
|BEN'S PICTURE OF BARRY, LOUISE, ME & EMMA|
|REFURBISHED VICTORIA BRIDGE IRONWORK|
|STEELY EMMA WITH IRONWORK|
|"IT WASN'T ME, MISS!"|
|EMMA'S PICTURE: LOUISE, BARRY AND ME|
|BARRY, LOUISE AND A CHAP WITH AN INCREDIBLY LONG RIGHT ARM|
|ENROUTE TO TOMINTOUL VIEWPOINT|
|VIEW TO THE CAIRNGORMS FROM TOMINTOUL VIEWPOINT|
|A GOOD VIEW OBSCURED BY THREE CHALLENGERS|