About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Friday, 16 January 2015

TGO CHALLENGE 2015 DAY 11 TO 13


Day 11
Big breakfast and then a bit of up and down, woods and heather, strangely considering whats been before, probably the most lumpy up, down and repeat days

Day 12
Not a day to really look forward to, but hopefully there's still scope for a civilized liquid lunch, I might cheat and take a wee drive by to see what's still open and whats been turned into posh houses. Hopefully room at the bivi spot or we'll have to push on a wee bit.

Day 13
Last day, a very familiar relaxed wander, station bar in stoney, deepfried mars bar supper and a lift home for a bath


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Monday, 12 January 2015

TGO CHALLENGE 2015 DAY 8 TO 10

Day 8
Clean pants, a longish day and hopefully reasonably fresh, scope for brunch before heading back into the ulu after Loch Morlich, I learnt how to do an eskimo roll here 28 years ago, It was a bit chilly tbh. 

Day 9
Familiar ground for me, new ground for the boss, last year I watched a pair of sea eagles in here for about half an hour, would love to see them again. Fantastic walking and should be a grand walk, especially with the lovely day thats been forecast

Day 10
Downhill to Ballater, reasonably easy, pleasant walking so there should be a skip to our step, probably stripped down to shorts, vest and knotted hankies,  with liberal quantities of sunscreen splashed all over. Another hotel night with an evening in the barrel.




Sunday, 11 January 2015

TGO CHALLENGE 2015 DAY 4 TO 7


Day 4 
familiar ground for the first couple of miles, hopefully the new hydro workings are done/hidden at both ends of todays route, the track from Trieg to Ossian was a bit horrible underfoot last year.


Day 5
 Word on the street, not the most exciting lochside walk. Anyway, halfway, well the A9 Not really looking forward to accommodating here, might push on or stop short. Although a fat boys fry up would be fine.


Day 6
Another day covering new ground,  looking forward to it, heading north for a couple of days, a night on the lash and a bit of jigging in Aviemore as a reward though.


Day 7
Hopefully a very pleasant wander through the woods in glorious sunshine, appearing fine and early in Aviemore for fine food and wine, maybe even a shower and clean pants (only if required)

Friday, 9 January 2015

TGO CHALLENGE 2015 DAY 1 TO 3

Day 1
Same method of entry as last year, different start point, but a wee boat trip to start the wander sounds like fun.

Day 2
Scope for a bar lunch or two, very civilised start this year.


Day 3,
And it's off into the ulu. Really looking forward to today, new ground for me.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The First Jaunt of 2015


About five and a half miles with a wee bit of uphill. 

More of a cobweb remover than a serious TGO build up,  but I suppose everything has to start somewhere, shockingly i think its the first walk (well sober one anyway) since i did the Speyside way in August.

The forestry commission car park at Bennachie was packed full when we turned up, i have never seen it as full, admittedly we had spent the morning scuttering about and it was nearly 1 o'clock. For some reason there seemed to be quite a few serious walkers about, going by the dress and equipment on show anyway, maybe the fine but short day had enticed a few out for a short post xmas jaunt, rather than driving further into the Cairngorms. 
Bennachie forest and mithers tap are only about 20/30 minutes drive from Aberdeen so attracts loads of families, bikers, dog walkers runners and hikers, there's miles and miles of well managed tracks and paths that suit all shapes, sizes and abilities, we head there quite often and i did quite a bit of training around here last year, if you can get up during the week its usually very quiet. 
The car park is also the start of the Gordon Way, a route I keep meaning to knock off the list, but have just never got around to, I think I might just try and fit it into this years training regime. 

We soon chucked on our remarkably light bags and headed off on the trade route, we probably had less than 1/2 a mile to mingle with the un washed, who were it seems all heading up the popular mithers tap route,  we prefer the quiet routes so when the majority were heading right, we turned left and continued along the Gordon Way for a mile or so.

 The Gordon Way was gye skitie, it was a cracking crisp afternoon around the 1 or 2 degree mark, but the wind was probably pushing it well below 0 and the ground was sheet ice in places. The patches that had been in direct sunlight were the worst, as the snow, frost had melted and re frozen with the wind.

 Looking back down the Gordon Way.

 Mithers Tap from the Gordon Way path.

 After leaving the Gordon Way,  we started on the accent of Millstone hill, we could see heaps of folk on top of Mithers Tap but we hadn't seen anyone on our side of the glen for about half an hour, we wouldn't see anyone for the next hour or so, it pays to stay away from the popular routes.

 For not having been out for a long time I was quite chuffed to discover that I was finding the whole thing rather easy, its fair to say some food and alcohol had been imbued over the last month or two and maybe a pound or two extra had sneaked its way onto my normal adonis like frame...


 Team Mactoogle leader powering ahead as the snow comes on! She wont find it so easy after I've stolen her insoles, we'll see whose boss then. 

Nice blue sky over mithers tap and beyond, snow on this side, pleasant snow though...

 Between the two millstone hill tops, the wind up here was pretty biting, we didn't hang  around any longer than it took for us to open a fruit sweetie each, it was a case of straight over and down the other side, as soon as we got over we were out of the wind again thankfully. 

 The route down, the initial 150 meters down from the top is pretty steep, not usually a drama but today is was still pretty steep but with the fun addition of sheet ice, walking poles were a huge help as we slowly negotiated the slope, often leaving the path to decend via the heather. It eventually leveled out quite considerably, although this side of the hill required a bit more care underfoot. 

Off the hill and back into the woods with lovely underfoot conditions. 

Only just over a mile from the car park and another layer was required as it was getting decidedly chilly, in the sun it was fine enough, but in the shade the wind was chanking.

Overall an enjoyable day out, a short brisk walk which was probably just right after the lay off and xmas excesses.