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TGO Challenge 2007 day 10 - 11

Monday 22 May - day 10

distance 29,3km - ascent 820m

What looked like

a long but otherwise easy day turned out to be a real killer. Or was it the beer from last night ? The morning started early with a 3km roadwalk alongside a quiet A93.The sun was shining and the temperature rising fast from cold to agreeable.At Auchallater a track went up Glen Callater and after another 5km I reached Loch Cllater lodge, also known as Cafe Buongiorno. The Lodge is a famous overnight stop for Challengers who've joined the saturday evening bash in Braemar's Five Arms. The 'afterparty' is on sunday evening. Today I had only a short break at the Lodge with a mug of tea. The jokes and songs in several British dialects escape me really.People were leaving for their next leg in a good mood although some of them were in a less desirable physical state. The path from Glen Callater to Glen Doll is named 'Jock's road' and has been much improved of lately. Mind you, it still isn't a road and bog can be found almost anywhere. Despite the boggy bits it is perfctly feasable, in good weather, to reach the end of the glen with dry boots. The escape out of Loch Callater however is a real test of the calves. I caught up with Scary Mary and Janet from Aberdeen at the start of the ascent but zizagging uphill I soon left them behind. We were all sweating like horses and completely out of breath at the steepest part with 150m of ascent with just 450m of distance covered.Once on top of the flat col I recovered fast. Should I bag a Munro ? Tolmount is nearby and requires hardly any more ascent from the col. I decided against it and moved on to Crow Craigies where I caught up with Brian and Susan whom I'd met in the Tipsy Laird in Kingussie. Eventually Jock's Road goes down into Glen Doll and the beauty of the glen is revealed. Especially the upper part of Glen Doll is a rugged and beautifull place. The path meanders untill the forest is reached. At the eastern end of the forest used to be a hostel but it has been closed for years now. Wildcamping is also discouraged. The next 5km of tarmac were very tiring on the feet and I considered putting up my tent somewhere along the road. I kept walking until I reached the Clova hotel where I hoped to find room in the bunkhouse. Luckily for me, and my legs, they had beds available in the bunkhouse. After signing in I joined Hein Hogenhuis who was sitting on the terrace in front of the hotel. He presented me a nice, cold pint of beer. Just what I needed. Thanks very much Hein. Hein completed all the Munros in 2006 and was now bagging Corbetts.

Loch Callater Logde, aka Cafe Buongiorno

Phil and Loch Callater

Glen Callater

Theo at Crow Craigies (920m)

Brian and Susan descending leaving Crow Craigies

Glen Doll

Looking back in Glen Doll

Tuesday 23 May - day 11

distance 22,1km - ascent 850m

Glen Clova

the last serious piece of ascent but it was right at the start of the day.The path to and around Loch Brandy has been renewed and goes over The Snub, following the edge of the cliff on the western and northern side of the loch. Instead of going left from Loch Brandy I switched to the eastside of the burn coming from the loch to follow the now disused old path. Hein started earlier but followed the western spur over The Snub and was very surprised to see me on Green Hill first. After Green Hill we followed a faint and intermittent path over the flattish tops in the direction of Glen Lee. You would certainly need to take a compass bearing in bad visibility.White Hill, Muckle Cairn and Wester Skuily were 'bagged' and after Skuily the path goes down to Loch Lee. We decided to follow the 'ridge' and avoid loosing too much height. If it would have been raining it would've been quite an adventure to cross the bog and peathags.It had been dry for a long period so we were able to zigzag around the steepsided gullies without being sucked in to your waist. After doingsome heatherbashing we joined the path again atBurnt Hill and followed it eastnortheast to the road near Gleneffock. The road goes to Tarfside and I renamed it 'Dead Rabbit Road' because of the enormous numbers of rabbits run over by Landrovers.The massacre of Glen Esk. At Tarfside we joined the crowd at St.Drostan's Hostelfor a cup of tea and some sandwiches and the lovelycompany of 'The Ladies of St.Drostan'. Some time later Hein and I walked to the Tarfside field to pitch our Akto's and watch Tent City grow to the incredible amount of 54 tents. In the evening there was a gathering at the Mason's Hall with a lot of alcohol and singsong. Of course all the guests were invited the Mason's not having a license to be open as a pub. were we all celebrating the fact that we survived the Scottish Hills or was it the joy of being together with likeminded people ?The hills were almost left behind and that should make one feel a little sad.I didn't stay at the Mason's for too long like some others but it took me a while to fall asleep.

Hein Hogenhuis

Tent City in Tarfside

Today would be

Loch Brandy

TGO Challenge 2007


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