Tag Archives: D&E

Come in D&E – your number’s up

That’s it, our 100th point and the 2015 Challenge completed.

Being that Knockargety is so close to Dave and Kathy’s, we held back this cp until last with the intention of having a small celebration with them as we completed the Challenge. On a fine Friday evening then, we set out for a walk from their house to one of Kathy’s favourite viewpoints ( and a fine viewpoint it indeed is).

We had glasses, bubbly and some sticky buns spelling out 100 for our celebration. After dwelling at the fine view for a while, we made the slightly wobbly return downhill and (metaphorically) back to the normality of a life without the Challenge.

Its been a great few months visiting all these points, some great views, some tough climbs and some indifferent weather. Thanks to the organisers and please wait another seven years before the next one, we are knackered.

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Sunny weather at Loch Callater

Lovely sunny weather forecast so we venture out to Loch Callater. Easy cycle in as far as the Lodge and far end of loch. Thereafter there are lots of river crossings to be made but we continued on bike anyway and went as far as the hitch rail for the stalking ponies.
Looks like it is a long time since Jock was up this road as we couldn’t really find any track after starting to climb. Headed up the glen to the Knaps of Fafernie and then simple climb to Tolmount.
Back down same way but contoured around to Loch Kander. The way back from here is rough and wet and seems endless but eventually we reached the bikes. Wet feet again for the river crossings but hardly turned a pedal on the cycle back from the Lodge.

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Many rivers to cross – Byvack Lodge and beyond

Parked at Linn of Dee and cycled in and over White Bridge and headed for Byvack. The Geldie then has to be forded and the width, amount of water, and rounded pebble bed meant coming off the bikes. There are then a couple of fords of the seilich before reaching Byvack.
Our picture taken by some estate workers out counting grouse ready for the 12th. Word is that the wet spring has held back numbers.
Choice between very wet ground or fording the stream again to head south. The track continues as cycleable land-rover track for a while before reducing to single-track. As a through route from Atholl, this is all suitable for getting a bike through but it is currently very wet and boggy so we parked up the bikes soon after reaching the single-track.
On by foot and headed for a southern flank ascent of Sron a Bhoididh (crossing more water).
A steep heathery ascent initially then short heather across the tops to the cp.
Back down to the track and up the western side to skirt the south side of Loch Tilt heading for our third cp Coire na Creige.
Great views south of the county boundary but we soon turn back north to God’s country and head home (and the many rivers to cross – again).

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A mad scramble up the Lairig Ghru

Monday July 27th
Lochan Uaine and Devil’s Point
It’s been really hard this summer to find sunny days for these long-haul points, so we had to make do with a forecast of “overcast and dry” (ultimately, and inevitably, this turned out to mean “wet”)
Parked at Linn of Dee. Managed to make use of portaloo just before a large group of foreign teenagers appeared coming out of Lairig. Cycled to Luibeg and crossed by bridge. Our first time at bridge, not worth the detour except that I fell in while making the direct crossing on the way back so maybe it was worthwhile to save soaking on the outbound leg.
Walked in until we came level with Garbh corrie and then left path to make our way up to the old bothy. Started ascent just beyond this, initially steeping grass and then a scramble. The lochan is surrounded by boulders so it’s more scrambling up to Cairntoul. More boulders to get off Cairntoul (bit of a theme here) and then head over to the Devil’s Point. Back out via Corrour, chatted to four guys bedding in for the night, and then headed back to our bikes. Midges at Luibeg were fearsome.

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A watery view – Creag Phadruig

Parked at Auchallater and in along the track to the bridge. Immediately over bridge (about 20m into the heather on left) there is a faint track heading up to old grouse butts and giving you a good start on the climb.
After this it is a mix of short/long/burnt heather to the top.
Once there, you get a view one way over Loch Phadruig towards Ballochbuie. Looking the other way is Loch Callater.
It’s a great viewpoint.

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Tour around Derry Cairngorm

Tuesday 21st July

Taking advantage of a “scattered showers forecast” we set off to visit the three water points around Derry Cairngorm.
Parked bikes at Derry lodge and off on foot up Glen Derry until we came abreast of cp13. With so much rain recently, the burn was quite full and we gave up attempting a dry crossing and just waded across knee deep. Stiff climb up to the lovely lochan.
Didn’t want to retrace our watery steps back down to the track so contoured around (bouldery) until we could drop down to the Hutchison Hut.
Quick energy gel and on up the track to Etchachan. Very windy and exposed at the top so we didn’t stop but carried on up the south westerly track which eventually leads to Ben Macdui.
Planned to turn off this track and head down into Glen Lui the but got a bit mesmerised with the good track vs boulders and stuck on track too long. After a bit of re-orientation we got sorted out and found our way way down to the head of the stream at NO009995.
Very bouldery ground again as we headed down and then up to our third cp.
From here there is still a long way to go to get out and with the ground very wet we were slipping about and getting very tired. Eventually passed Luibeg bridge on our right and  back to our bikes for the easy pedal back to the car.

A long day, windier than expected but at least it never rained after all, and three more points bagged

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Victoria sponge par excellence

My suggestion to Evelyn – after I’ve been for my annual dental checkup, why don’t we do cp10 (Tom Anton) and then try out The Bothy tearoom in Braemar.
Parked at Inverey and up the zigzag track and then through the heather. Forgot both camera/phone and gps so no photo and had to resort to actual mapreading to find the cp. Luckily it must be about the easiest on the challenge.
Took direct route back through the trees and onto Braemar.
Food, portions and service in The Bothy were excellent. As Victoria sponge was oozing cream and jam and is one of my few weaknesses, the choosing was simple. Coffee also to be recommended and be sure to get a loyalty card for future visits. (they have a sister shop in Ballater).
Oh yes, dentist gave me the all clear.

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Sgor Mor – The not-so Great Escape

imageSgor Mor deservedly has the reputation of having one of the finest views north into the Cairngorms (Devil’s Point in background of our photo). But its not a very exciting hill nor easy to get to.
We last climbed it as our final point on the 2008 Challenge by biking in to White Bridge and more or less going straight up from there through deep heather.
This time we decided to forget the bikes and walk in all the way from Linn of Dee via the ridge leading east west to the cp.
Leaving Linn of Dee we climbed to Carn an ‘lc Duibhe. There is a faint track to follow until you reach the new electric fence after which you can follow the edge of the fence. This changes from electric to standard deer fence and goes a long way over towards Sgor Dubh, but just ends in the middle of nowhere at a solitary strainer-post. Steve McQueen would have been laughing.
Carry on over the tops through cropped heather to the cp.
Came back the same way though cut the corner of the fenceline quite a bit.

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A pleasant Sunday stroll

Following Duncan’s lead, we set out to try for the four Ben Avon points, albeit by a different route. Quite a challenge.
Parked at Braenaloin (Gairnshiel) and cycled up the Gairn to Loch Builg and turned left until we came to the old footbridge where we left the bikes. It was a straightforward cycle but into a headwind and conserving energy for the rest of the day, it took us about 1:45hrs.
From here there is an unmarked 4X4 track giving easy access towards Carn Drochaid.
A path, good at times, faint at times, leads on to Clach Choutsaich and the Ben Avon plateau. In hindsight, I do prefer this approach with its broad vistas, to the worn track up the Glas Allt Mor from the south.
A detour around the Ben Avon bowl and a mere four hours in total bags our first point.
Down by the Glas Allt Mor and leave the path at Clach a Cleirich to contour round to cp19 Dubh Lochan.
Continue south to NO116967 and a decision required as to whether to do an out and back to Slugain ruin or directly back to our bikes via upper Glen Gairn.
We were tired but decided four points are better than three. Easy jog down and back and then took stony track across to cp22.
Very glad to be back at our bikes about 8pm and the tailwind gave an easy one hour bike back to the car.
A very long but worthwhile day.

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