A busy morning at home meant a late start up Glen Callater. I decided to head for the furthest point first, cycling up past the loch and continuing on foot to reach Tolmount. Jock’s Road doesn’t amount to much once on the higher ground, and it was hard going in high temperatures. The views at the summit were absolutely spectacular, with a completely cloudless sky. I may never get a view of the Cairngorms like it again. I had considered trying to do Corrie Kander as well, but there was shooting going on there. In the heat, I was quite pleased. I spotted buzzard, red grouse, ptarmigan and meadow pipit.
Fri 18th Sept
Starting from Auchallater, biked in just over 4k, then jogged up to Creag Phadruig, disturbing a herd of red deer. Back down and biked to upper side of Loch Callater. Jog/walk up Jock’s Road / grass track in upper section and then turned south to Tolmount. Good view of head of Glen Doll and surrounding tops. Back down Jock’s road and then crossed over to head up to Loch Kander. Wonderful surprise when you eventually get up over the last section and the Loch is all there hidden in a bowl surrounded by steep sides. More red deer surprised. Looks like Francie should try out Invercauld for stags…..
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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Must be honest happy to follow in the footsteps of the local superstars, and forecast was good for Wednesday so off I went. Well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad and not a cloud in the sky and sub zero at road level looked great for Wednesday. What I hadn’t listened for was the gale force winds. Ah well was a planning anything tricky so off I went. The snow was bullet hard and not too steep so easy to skin up. Point 24 was soon reached and the pic was snapped as I struggled to stay standing. I probably should have gone down for a hot chocolate but sense did not prevail.
Half way along the plateau I stopped to put on a layer, not clever as cag, a glove and hat disappeared with the wind. Rucsac was packed and I headed down hill blown by the wind. First the glove then the cag were found bit no sign of the hat! ah well 2 out of 3 not bad! The hat was soon on the head and the winter gloves were on and soon the summit was reached. Thinking of ticking the loch for point 26 was soon dismissed and my tracks were slowly reversed (into the wind now). The slopes ere reached and a fine ski got me down to the roads. I do like the locals as first car stopped to offer me a lift which i declined as only 100 yards from the van.
Secured the afternoon off work, so looked out the skis and went cp hunting under clear blue skies. First of the day was up Sron na Gaoithe from the carpark at the foot of the hill. Hard crusty snow most of the way up, there’s a lot more snow up high than it looks from the road. From there it was down into the garbh choire and back up onto cairn of claise (a steep slog in the sunshine), before a fast decent on crust/ ice towards the tolmount. Unfortunately the aproach to the tolmount was bare, so dropped the gear and hoofed it up to the summit. Had a silly billy moment on return as I couldn’t find the skis! Spotted them after a while and headed back over to carn an tuirc just in time for sunset. Fantastic descent all the way back to the car on gleaming ice, turning to hard crust lower down. Thankfully the old edges were nice and sharp!!
Sron na Gaoithe
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