Thurs 29th Oct
Cycled around six of the Balmoral Cairns – a great afternoon’s entertainment showing a friend around. Especially as the weather obliged by clearing up to give us the best part of the day.
At the Princess Royal’s Cairn – a fine way to have one’s marriage recorded!
A long time since I had a musical reference, but I’m sure Derek will get this one. I head intended to do all three Balmoral challenges in one go, but I didn’t get away early enough due to other commitments. I headed up Glen Gelder on the bike from Easter Balmoral, then left it at the wee hut to get up to the Prince’s Stone. It was hot and hard work, and I missed the start of the hill path, but stopped a little farther on. I was glad I did, because I had a look at the map, then checked out the cliff face to the west, and a peregrine was perched near the top. Returning the same way, I had time to go round to Princess Royal’s Cairn, but no photos, as my camera battery went flat. Creag Doin will have to wait for another day. Birds included song and mistle thrush, great spotted woodpecker, wren, goldcrest, wheatear, blackcock, lapwing, oystercatcher, meadow pipit, swallow, sand martin, willow warbler, buzzard, peregrine falcon, snipe. There were lots of red deer as well and a couple of roe, and last but not least, an adder, on the slope of Cnapan Nathraichean, the Little Knob of Adders.
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.
Out in Balmoral today hanging orienteering controls for the WOC training camp. One of them happened to be on the hill top just near the Princess Royal’s cairn, so a very brief detour was rewarded by a cp bonus.
This was a very difficult cp to find when we were last here for the 2008 challenge and it hasn’t become any easier over the years.
Although it’s about 5metres high, we were within 20metres before we could see it.
We parked at Easter Balmoral and came in by the track to the south, turning north just after the quarry. Once up on the ridge, the hunt begins.
At least we were spared the clouds of black flies which swarmed around us on our summer visit last time.
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