Fri 23rd Oct
Breezy late afternoon run, starting from Invercauld bridge, running up past the Garbh Allt waterfalls and bridge, then took the woodland track heading east/NE towards Craig Doin, where the woods opened out to a lovely hidden valley. Followed the track onward to Prince’s Stone, which records the night HRH the Prince Consort slept the night there in a wooden hut. Good sheltered location in a gulley surrounded by high ground. Back down the gulley and then followed deer tracks over to Craig Doin. Good run back down to Invercauld along same track as outbound.
I went into Balmoral this time from the Keiloch, to go up Creag Doin, which I didn’t have time for last week. The narrow path is easily found beyond the Garbh Allt bridge, where the caper fence on the right turns up the hill. The first part of the path goes up through old pine forest, with an understorey of juniper. When I emerged from the forest to turn left up the hill, right in front of me, flying along the hillside, was a golden eagle. Superb. Up through the heather for a short while and I was on the top. I returned the same way. Other birds seen included swift, long-tailed tit, jay, red grouse, wren, goldcrest, siskin, willow warbler, chaffinch and bullfinch, plus red deer on the higher ground.
Weather forecast for blustery showers so we decided to stay in shelter as far as possible today.
Parked at Keiloch and ran in along main track before turning up through the forest on the single-track at NO 208 906
The track is very wet at the moment and continues like this all the way to cp35. Only saving grace was the wind was in our backs going uphill.
Reversed our route until we reached a contour line back across to Craig Doin. Very windy on top so although there are some lovely views, we didn’t hang around too long. Then directly downhill through the heather to the start of the single-track.
Got back to the car just in time before a heavy shower.
1 – 35 Prince’s Stone
2 – From Prince’s Stone looking down into Glen Gelder
3 – Craig Doin
According to my Not Entirely Reliable Guide to Placenames in Aberdeenshire, Craig Doin means Hill Hill. Whatever, it makes a good circuit. Started from Balmoral, took in the Princess Royal’s Cairn, which celebrates some princess getting married, on the way to Connachat, then climbed Craig Doin from the north, which is pretty steep but the woods are nice. There is a very impressive cairn on the way up, built to celebrate Queen Victoria buying Ballochbuie. Carried on south, crossed the path then went on to the Prince’s Stone, which celebrates Prince Albert spending a night in a hut. I wonder if Deeside Runners should employ a stonemason to record our great exploits? Kathy practised her curtseys while I sang God Save the Queen. Carried on NE along the path and back to the start. 18km, 600m of climbing, and it took us 3:45, but we were walking not running.
The MWIS forecast was for gales such that “mobility would be treacherous” on the the hills, so we decided to put away the skis today and went for something more lower level. We cycled in from Invercauld Bridge, leaving the bikes at the path junction. we then headed up on foot from here to the Princes Stone. This is a beautiful unspoilt forrest with some amazing old Scots Pines. The stone inscription, as Donald said, is not quite what you expect for the location. Needless to say a visit from some Deeside Runners on the 5th October would be fitting. On return my sister looked at me with some bafflement as I did a quick detour to run up Craig Doin, before joining her for the return trip.
A cold crisp morning. Memories were flooding back of my last crossing of this bridge in the winter afew years back with skis and climbing gear to visit a cliff with “prospects” with Mr Richardson, one of the greats of Highland winter climbing exploration. Never trusted with secrets and a much weaker climber meant that I was more or less there to carry the ropes. Though was hoping the fact we were skiing in should have given me a short period of superiority.
Reminiscing my mind turns to “To build a fire”, by Jack London, as our day had as many consecutive minor failures, in which probably only the ending was , fortunately, not the same. The skiing was a disaster, alternating from deep snow to rock and turf!. The cliffs were shall we say, uninspiring, and conditions were not great. Even the great man suffered a small avalanche searching for a “line” to climb. Once the climb, which can best be described as “total crap”, was done the descent turned out to be quicker carrying the skis than using them. Ah well, memories.
Today was the opposite, perfect conditions for running, ice only where you needed it to keep one’s feet dry and fantastic morning light over one of my favourite places. The path led to a cairn signalling the short steeper climb to the “Stone”. Once back on the path a short retracing of steps led to the wee loch from where Cnap a’Choire Bhuidhe was ascended, then on down to Choire Buidhe and the final ascent to pt 587m on Craig Doin. Descent was a pleasure.
ps remember to take gloves for the next month or 3.