Mon 26th Oct
Cycled in from the Old Military Road, 3.5k up from Crathie junction. Only about 1.5k was cycleable, ran the rest, up over An Creagan, across Duchrie Burn and up to Tom Breac. Return same route – 10k total.
I parked past Gairnshiel and headed up the Gairn by bike to Corndavon Lodge. Then over the bridge and up the hill. Although not marked on the map, there is a track to the summit of Tom Breac from the highpoint of the marked track. It was warm and still on the summit, a treat after the recent high winds. I had just headed back down the glen when an enormous bird rose out of the heather just the other side of the river. A white=tailed eagle! I thought it would disappear, but it just flopped down on to the ground and sat there. After a while it headed off down river, but I met up with it again below Daldownie bridge. Great views of a fantastic bird. I also saw curlew, lapwing, oystercatcher, snipe, redshank, sandpiper, golden plover, dipper, skylark, wheatear, ring ouzel, red grouse, meadow pipit, willow warbler and greylag goose. I don’t think the eagle photo will win any prizes.
Biked with Kathy, Derek and Evelyn up Glen Gairn from near Gairnsheil Lodge as far as Corndavon Lodge, then walked up Tom Breac. Not an exciting hill, but a very good view from the top. Surprisingly dry as well – didn’t get wet feet at all. Walked back to the bikes, then headed back, and took the tack that goes nearly to the top of Cnoc Chalmac. The climb is quite hard, the descent back to the main track very nice. Didn’t even take our helmets off for the short walk to the top of the hill. Got back to the cars just as the rain was starting.
Parked at the Geallaig race start and headed for Fox Cairn first. We headed up a slight valley to reach the top directly then followed path to cairn. Cnoc Chalmac was next then joined track until Katie managed to persuade me to turn off the lovely track just before the bridge and head through the heather to Tom Breac, it was a trudge with little running until very top. Good views and lovely descent to An Creagan. We considered adding Geallaig but concluded we would tick this one at the summer handicap. Photo shows Katie and Coogie on Tom Breac.
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For once the powers smiled on me and although cold and wet on the tootsies the paths were on thw whole good and the high waters that had to be crossed were still iced over, though the streams were in flood mode. Maybe truely special views explained the huge paths and the queues to the top.