About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

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.  

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