I’m a bit late to the party with reviewing last year but December was such a busy month (and I still have not caught up with all my trip reports).
However, 2015 was an epic year for being outdoors. It was dominated by hills, hills and more hills with less running or cycling than in previous years as weekends away in the Bongo presided over any other plans.
A few weekends ago was one of my mountaineering club monthly meets, this time in Muir Cottage, Inverey, near Braemar. I was really looking forward to this weekend because it would be in the Cairngorms – one of my favourite places, Ally and I planned to climb our last as-yet unclimbed Cairngorm Munro, and the club hut had showers. Ah the joys!
Ally and I had always planned to walk these two Munros from Glen Tilt using the Tarf hotel bothy, but weather always has its way. The forecast was pretty miserable apart from Deeside so Ally suggested to do them from Linn of Dee and cycle in part of the way. I do love the long walk in but the cycling was really to save time rather than effort. Over 26 miles is a long way I suppose and Ally had other weekend plans.
After my walk up Gael-Charn Mor the day before, I nipped into the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore for a drink and to check the forecast on the wifi. It was looking very positive. Looking at my options of unclimbed hills left in the Cairngorms, I had this pair of Corbetts at the back of my mind. The 21 mile walk was a bit of a thought, although the route seemed straightforward enough. But, Glen Feshie! The loveliest of glens. I have so missed being in the Cairngorms. They are still my favourite mountains.
Ally was away camping with pals this weekend so I decided to go off somewhere in Bertha. But where? Friday had been a stunning day but the weekend, as usual, was looking decidedly rubbish with heavy rain thunder and lightning just about everywhere. There was one small window where it looked like the Aviemore area might just miss the worst of it, so off I went.
Being at home this weekend, I decided to walk the local (ish) Corbett of Carn na Drochaide. I set off about 10.30am, not worried about the late hour because the best weather was meant to be later in the day anyway. The traffic along the North Deeside Road heading west was desperately slow though – about 35 mph average. I realised the Balmoral 10K was on and all the traffic turned off eventually at Crathie for Balmoral Castle. It was 12.30pm by the time I parked up at Linn of Quoich, 2 hours later. This would normally have taken me 1 hour 20.
I had planned to walk the Corbett, Carn na Drochaide, along with the Graham, Creag Bhalg, both near Braemar on Saturday. The forecast was a bit iffy though and I was woken in the early hours by rain lashing against my window pane. I fumbled for my phone (I got a new phone, yay – see last weekend’s entries) and checked the forecast for Braemar, which was snow all day. Ugh – I snuggled back under the duvet for another few hours…
When I woke it was quite late and probably not enough time to go to Braemar and walk these hills. So I settled for the Coyles of Muick – a Marilyn near Ballater I’d had my sights on for a while. In fact, I’d planned to do this walk last Friday but the day was so dreich I ended up leaving it and doing a very mucky run round Hill of Fare instead.
This pair of Corbetts lie north of the Invercauld estate near Braemar. I’d been to a wedding ceilidh the night before, plus the clocks went forward overnight losing me an hour, so after approximately 4 hours’ snooze I was very tired but still keen to get going. At 7am I sleepily made my way along the very quiet North Deeside Road to the walker’s carpark at Keiloch.
Bertha the Bongo (the ‘vintage’ one in the foreground)