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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Freaky Dean & the Dulnain; a Monadhliath leg-stretch: 3

There were sudden freaky-rainy-gravel-chucking-squally things in the night, but Trinnie and Oook shrugged them off with aplomb; hardly breaking step as they snored & snuffled gently together through the long night. These girls are perfect partners for a chap out in the wilds.

I soon had a warming fire going in the bothy and then, and only then, would Mr Walker surface and be polite company. He had been singing along to an interminable Cliff Richard medley, tucked up in his HexPeak. I lit the fire out of desperation when he started on Abba.

If the midges are out for the Challenge, they will eat Andy alive, as midges really hate Cliff Richard.

Miserably, all good things come to an end, so we trudged out of the lovely warm bothy in reasonable shape, out into the Scottish weather, heading for Aviemore’s pleasure-domes.

There was no bloody sign of this Man-Made-Global-Warming: It was still decidedly chilly, with low cloud and sheets of drizzle wrapped in a batter of stiff breeze that’d shrink your head to the skull-bone as soon as lifting your cap. We abandoned our high stravaig along the watershed. It would have been a miserable affair and this was a trip of warm fluffy kittens and happiness. We’d have no misery here! So we set off once again, down the broadening bottom of the Dulnain.

JENNIFER, JUNIPER, SITTING VERY STILL

JENNIFER JUNIPER, SITTING VERY STILL ALONG THE BROADENING DULNAIN

The Dulnain changes around these parts from a vigorous tomboy to quite a leggy girl with a glint in her eye. I would imagine her to be quite a handful in a storm but fortunately there’s a sturdy bridge a short hop below the next bothy downstream, Bothy number (you’ve guessed it already, haven’t you; we only have intelligent readers in this congregation) Four, sometimes known as the ‘Red Bothy.’

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First we have to sample the delights of this magnificent oasis.

BOTHY NUMBER FOUR, THE DULNAIN

BOTHY NUMBER FOUR, THE DULNAIN – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Supplies were low and so rations were shared and a short break to read of past passers-by in the bothy book, was enjoyed. This place is the Grand Central Station of the Monadh Liath; There cannot be many who have enjoyed these fabulous hills who did not stop here for a last quiet break before the noisome clash of Aviemore.

I’ve heard walkers complain of the dreadful trudge up the Burma Road, but, given time to savour the views it can be a wonderful stroll. Please don’t rush to the top in a lather; Look out and back for the views – they fill your head with loveliness.

CAGGAN, FROM BURMA ROAD

CAGGAN, FROM BURMA ROAD – CLICK TO ENLARGE

On the stroll up, we witnessed the heartless destruction of a fen trap; three gigantic burly men heaved rocks at it until the trap was sprung and bent way out of shape. Good for them! Some furry little blighter with jolly big teeth will live to fight another day. We were not going to argue the legalities of the occasion with them, such was their colossal size and aggressive demeanour.

 ANOTHER MISTY-MOISTY VIEW OVER THE DULNAIN

ANOTHER MISTY-MOISTY VIEW OVER THE DULNAIN – CLICK TO ENLARGE

I’ve often heard the hills of the Monadh Liath described in disparaging tones, but I always find them wonderfully approachable; they are curvy long-limbed beauties that afford fabulous views from their shoulders. The walking along the tops can be tough at times, but for the most part, if you pick a good line, you are treading short alpine mosses and shattered stones. Perfect for backpacking in fine weather. Unfortunately, today was cold and grim with strong gusty winds, so we admired Geal-charn Mor from below.

GEAL-CHARN MOR

GEAL-CHARN MOR

Here are two gigantic burly men I happened to bump into on the way down from the Burma Road. That’s the Cairngorms behind them, all wrapped in clag and mystery.

TWO GIGANTIC BURLY MEN

TWO GIGANTIC BURLY MEN

After a bit of a road-bash, we made Pleasurama Central, otherwise known as the Aviemore Youth Hostel. This is a fascinating emporium: On its plus side, it has a wonderful drying room, lovely staff and it serves beer. It is warm and the common areas are spacious and comfortable. The showers are okay, with just a bit of mouldy ceiling to give the shabby-chic hostel effect.

On the downside, the rooms are tiny, there is no-where near enough hanging space, storage space for gear, no place to keep your specs when you’re sleeping and just the one feeble central light. Why are there no individual bunk lights? This is a fairly modern hostel; it really needs to be looked at from their customers’ perspective and sorted out. It’s no surprise to me that hostels are struggling if they are getting the basics so wrong. The room felt cramped and poorly designed.

Later on that evening, I was force-fed a Scottish delicacy – the deep-fried Mars bar, with ice cream. I now understand why the Scots are such a healthy nation. Full of vitamins, nutrition and fibre. They’ll need all of that to keep their winters at bay.

18 comments:

  1. Jesus, that photo of them two gigantic blokes is scary. Good job you had some tough ladies with you Al.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andy insisted on taking his crinoline party frock. He muttered something about dual use as a ground sheet. He looks a treat wearing it in his lippy and bouffant wig, singing along into his trekking pole microphone to Dusty...

      Delete
  2. You were spotted in Aviemore Alan. I had my spies out...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was that the gentleman who came up to me and said
      "You're Englebert Humperdinck and I claim my five pounds?"
      I seem to recall he was off his head on Buckie...
      Perhaps not?

      Delete
  3. Somewhere, I have a picture of an ex-red grouse in a fen trap. There's irony for you...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't see any reason why Scottish Land & Estates can't rename themselves "Murder Incorporated."
      It has a better ring to it.

      Delete
  4. I saw you all sloping off to the OBI. Was on my way to a boxing class, so couldn't stop- but you all looked as though you'd survived the wilderness well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry we missed you, Val.
      Indeed, we were sloping off to the OBI, but they had no tables free for another hour and a half and we were about ready to eat each other, so we diverted to the chippie and then beers at the Youth Hostel.
      Boxing, eh?
      Good Lord!
      *makes careful note not to upset Val*

      Delete
  5. A fine ending to a good route. Ping us the GPX of that for future planning good sir. Burma Road is ok, and leads to pints, fried mars bars and that hostel. Which I agree is not that good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can find the route on Day 1 of the write up, Sir.
      :-)

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. And your Cordon Bleu Delivery Service was not too shabby either! It gets special mention in my next blog piece Sir - the first day of the PreWalkDaunder.
      Above and beyond, Sir. Above and beyond.
      :-)

      Delete
  7. I can definitely say it was not Cliff Nor ABBA.
    God forbid.
    I wasn't even awake at the time sir.
    It was bloody freezing.
    Even after you woke me because you couldn't be arsed to go and collect wood for the fire, (wot I 'ad t' do init)

    I mean sir outside "It was all cold an shit"

    I really must write this up, when I get the time.
    I have the bloody Daunder to do as well.

    Oh what untruth will be told about me there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, your fictional account will be more truthful than mine?
      :-)
      It was very good indeed of you to pull the wood out of the shed and saw it into fireplace-size chunks. We would have died an agonizingly slow & painful death in Bothy Number Three from the seeping cold. Our bodies would later be found, mummified, by a passing Challenger.
      Whether or not they would have noticed that we had died is another matter. Once sat in front of a fire, there is not much movement, save for the raising of a flask to the lips.

      Delete
    2. Well I know it is all fibs about Andy. Any fool knows he's a Showaddywaddy man.

      Delete
    3. And Russ Conway featured heavily too...

      Delete
  8. That Andy fella is looking very streamlined these days. A fine final day in the wonderful Moanies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Andy fella is worryingly streamlined.
      He has also been lightening his pack-weight.
      This does not bode well.
      However, he does have dodgy knees, so if he goes too quickly, a sharp kick to the knee cap should slow him back down to Phil's and my pace.

      Delete

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