Saturday, 4 June 2011


THURSDAY 19th MAY 2011



It had been a very happy but late night at Dave & Val’s last night and so this morning started with our wonderful hosts preparing a lovely breakfast while I was packing away freshly laundered socks and pants. I didn’t leave until quite late, ten-ish and popped into the local village stores to stock up on crusty bread rolls and Irn Bru and a whole heap of more foods of death. Yum!

The forecast wasn’t good – with strong gusty wind building in the day and overnight with the threat of heavy rain and so, miserably,  this year’s bash at the Cairngorm tops was abandoned; I didn’t fancy camping on top of the Cairngorms in a hooley. The weird thing though, as I trundled my way south along the eastern bank of the Feshie, was that it didn’t look too bad until all of a sudden a bloody great gusty bit would leap out at you with very stingy rain. Yet, it was still frustrating to see the tops mostly clear as I bowled along to the bothy.
I was making pretty good time but found myself in an odd mood; a bit tired from last night, slightly fed up at not doing Sgor Gaoith and generally out of sorts. I suppose you are going to get days like that every now and then but I wasn’t comfortable with it. The scenery in Glen Feshie was, as ever, quite beautiful which I suppose made the mood slowly melt.
Ruigh-aiteachain was a little lifeless without a fire but I made a soup and coffee and made the best of it, with other Challengers piling in to cheer it up a bit. Everyone was talking about the forecast and it seemed that we were all on our Foul Weather Alternative routes. There was discussion about stopping at Ruighe nan Leum, which has a few sheltered pitches in a pleasant little gorge, but when I got there it all looked a bit scruffy and the views were a bit miserable. There was already a two man tent pitched there and I reckoned that with the crew coming from the bothy, it was going to be a bit crowded and with that, along with the thought of the inevitable snorers, I decided to push on a little further, where I knew there would be a few better grassy spots with views.
And indeed there was.

Wanda, Glen Feshie
So I stopped and flipped up Wanda at a really early hour in the afternoon. I could have gone on quite a bit further, but now Braemar was within dead easy reach for tomorrow afternoon, which would be Friday, so there really was no point. Besides, I was a bit down and just wanted to stop. I snoozed for the rest of the afternoon to wake late evening to make a meal, but never got round to it, so I ate crusty rolls and cheese instead with a few slugs of my English Whisky, aka rocket fuel. I was halfway across the Challenge and down in the dumps.
I have no idea how the night went as I slept right through.


  1. You are not the only one to get fed up with poor weather and missing the tops Alan at some point on the Challenge this year. I can understand that happening.

  2. Ah, down in the dumps was it? Yup, did that one. With style!

    Got better though, didn't it, hey? ;-)

  3. A familiar feeling for many Challengers I think Alan. Mine was Monday morning in Ballater, had to stop myself jumping on a bus and going home..................

  4. ach, the rise and fall. annoying to see clear tops...

    it'll all be better after a nice long kip i reckon


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