In reply to MM0FMF:
Woken after a sound kip I breakfasted with Craigendarroch framed by the window. After yoghurt, porridge, egg, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, haggis, toast and several gallons of tea I was prepared for the day. (Lodgings came to Â£65 for room, breakfast, a 3 course meal and several pints of Trade Winds). Craigendarroch looked superb against the blue sky and was just too hard to resist. It seems to rise vertically and is covered with Oaks and Scots Pine.
Parking in Craigendarroch Walk, I followed the marked path to the summit. It’s quite steep in places (187m ascent in 1.3km). Another wonderful forest to walk through on good paths. In a few places you cross a lot of stone so in winter you may well need crampons on a 400m hill. 24mins later and really rather sweaty, I emerged at the top.
There’s a big cairn, a bench and 2 viewpoint indicators. There’s plenty of space at the top and I thought I’d be on my own. However, not long after getting to the summit the scene changed to something like the film Zulu as wave after wave of walkers came to the summit. This ruled out any large antennas. I lashed the pole to the bench and set up the 20m vertical. With a single elevated counterpoise run off in to the scrub it was the lowest impact antenna I had. A nice run of stations on 20m CW followed. I was called by an EA4 and others. I called “EA4?? kn” and he called along with another. “EA4?? kn” and again an HB9 called. “EA4?? kn” and still the HB9 called. “HB9 IS NOT EA4 LID = EA4?? kn” and this time he kept quiet and the EA4 QSB’d to nothing. Hrrmph! Anyway I’ll put it down to my poor procedure but the call is on my naughty list and I’ll monitor behaviour just in case!
I wasn’t going to have a majestic sunny but cool morning in another sublime forest spoilt. I finished off, explained SOTA for the umpteenth time to visitors (who all thought the concept rather good) packed up and took photos of the clouds pouring over the top of Lochnagar and down the cliffs. Back down to the car in just over 10mins. Apart from 25mins yakking to a nice couple who’d been visiting from Cornwall since the 60’s, climbing Craigendarroch every year.
Creag Bhalg ES-046
I blitzed my way along the A93 to Braemar and then drove the single track road to Linn of Dee. The scenary was initially set to “visual stun” along teh A93. But along the Linn of Dee road it is advance to “visual shock” increasing to “visual overload” by the time you get to the bridge over the Dee. There is a huge car park here as this is the start to several long paths including Lairrig Ghru via Glen Dee , Lairig Ghru via Glen Lui, Glen Feshie via Geldie Burn and Glen Tilt. Paths around 25-35km in length through some of the most gorgeous countryside in Scotland. My parking place was further along, just by Claybokie before my track started there is space for a single car. It’s 50m to the path start from here. Otherwise it’s Linn of Dee car park + Â£2.50 + 2km or Linn of Quoich car park + 3.5km. Some loony had to park in a passing place resulting in a quite significant traffic jam for a road that is a dead end to public trafffic. Fail!
The path is on excellent estate tracks again in mature and ancient Calendonian forest. The path zig zags up making the ascent easy. I followed it as far as the col and applied gators ready to cross the deep heather. It was hard work in such heather still I stumbled onto the ATV track from there it was a doddle. Hint: follow the path frpom Claybokie up and West, right at the 1st junction then left at the next. At the deer fence walk about 100m on and the ATV track is on the right. Simples! It took about 1hr of walking time to the summit but actually took 1h45 as it showered very hard many times. I kept diving into the trees and sheltering from the rain. I was a little annoyed at wasting the time but I wanted to arrive dryish at the top if I was spending some time where there’s no shelter.
There’s a wind shelter near the path but my GPS said it wasn’t in the AZ. There are 2 cairns to the right which are in the AZ. More cairn bodgery supported the mast and I set up for 40m. It took an age to send an SMS even though I could see the masts on Morrone CS-060 in the distance and had a good strength showing. Whilst working both SSB and CW several showers passed by. I didn’t get too wet but the wind was gusting and very cold. Most shows passed North or South of me and I was surround by rainbows a lot of the time. When 40m dried up I realised it was getting on for 4pm and I’d not had lunch other than an apple. This is a bit naughty for us diabetics, so I had an energy bar and another apple. The showers died down for my walk out and I got a good photo of the Cairngorm big boys, Cairn Gorm, Ben Macdui, Beinn a Chaorain, Beinn Mheadhoin, Beinn Bhrotan.
The plan at the car was to visit a cafe in Braemar for a pot of rosy but when I got there at 1710 the damn place was shut! So I had a can of Red Bull (diet) and drove home calling in the local takeaway 3/4mile from home. I shot up my evening fix (10ug Exenatide) in the car park whilst they prepared my kebab. It does cause some strange looks rolling up a t-shirt and whacking a syringe into the lardy belly in public. But it meant I could eat as soon as I got home!
Some figures, 4 uniques, 9 points, 270miles driven, 9.6km walked, 1065m ascent, 43.5mpg, Â£108 fuel+accommodation. Enjoyment factor? Priceless!
Summits in order of “bestness”: Meall Alvie, Craigendarroch, Creag Bhalg, Geallaig Hill. I would recommend anyone who has the chance to do Meall Alvie to grab the opportunity if it’s a bit sunny. Autumn colours are best, but it will be good under snow.
Thanks to all the chasers. If only I didn’t have a touch of mild tendonitis I’d be out tomorrow in WS and SI land. Having seen Mrs. FMF in a cast with a ruptured Achilles, I’m going to take it easy and have some retail therapy in Edinburgh.