About the Loon

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A happy chap who likes a walk every now and then

Saturday, 23 April 2016


Awoke on day 10 to another reasonable morning, the room in the Deeside inn was comfy enough, the dining room came across as a bit pretentious though. The kitchens must be in Aberdeen as the service was slower than a week in jail, as well as being semi cold it wasn’t what was ordered, we didn't send it back as we hoped to walk to stonehaven within the next few days. They also had a charge for paying the bill by card, ridiculous. 

Day 11
Ballater to Waulkmill
21 miles

A bit of a quandary this morning on what to do route wise.

My planned route from Ballater had been to cut along the tops via Glen Tanar, hill of cat, Clachnaben and into the Fetteresso. Unfortunately Susans feet had been in tatters with blisters since day 2 and how she had got this far is down to guts, ibuprofen, normal female stubbornness and being ever so slightly nuts, she also started the challenge with a chipped bone in her knee after falling out our front door (sober). 

The decision was either to get her put down and walk the planned route myself or change the plan completly and use the Deeside Way. Everywhere was still closed and we had already wasted about three hours at breakfast, so off we went down the old railway towards Aboyne
The Deeside Way is very easy going, not to hard underfoot like a lot of old railway lines, but it does stick pretty close to the road for the majority of time.

The fantastic cambus o'may bridge, we had a wee sit down here and bumped into three lads that recommended the scones at the Loch Kinord hotel, a wee bit further down the line in Dinnet.  Since I forgot to finish this blog off and it's almost a year later i thought I'd add the local news footage for the same bridge during storm frank (click link) Cambus O’May Bridge flood

Just before Dinnet the rain came on and we took the "amazing scones" advice and nipped into the hotel, best advice of the challenge, they were spot on, we'll never drive past again without stopping in by.

As we approached the Boat inn in Aboyne, the rain became torrential so we nipped in for a bit of shelter and a coffee, ended up having a fine crayfish sandwich and a bowl of mushroom soup, it was a bit cold, but I believe thats posh, personally I'd have stuck it back in the microwave for a quick ziz. 

After Aboyne we had quite a bit of road walking, a mistake on my behalf as we should maybe have gone back onto the Deeside Way until we reached Potarch. As it was we followed roads and forrest trails until we rejoined the Way at the Potarch hotel.

From the hotel it was a long climb up the hill, until we again left the way as it headed over towards Banchory while we kept on to Feughside campsite for the night, the rain had gone off and it turned into a decent enough night.

The campsite was very very quiet and we couldn't find anyone to pay, so we pitched up, got some food on the go and chatted to 3 or 4 other challengers that appeared at about the same time. 

Day 12
Waulkmill/Feughside to Stonehaven 
19..7 miles

Probably/hopefully  the last day dawned and it was a wee bit frosty, we were up and away before there was much movement from the other tents. (We found the proprietor and paid) we were on the short road section to Strachan (pronounced straan, you suvern heathens) in no time.

A bit of artistic photography on the move, I'm available for weddings or funerals...

This was a very long climb up into the Fetteresso, especially on sore feet, I embellished the truth slightly (possibly not for the first time) by stating it was the last uphill of the walk

A Roe deer having a snack in the middle of the Fetteresso, some folk don't really like the fetteresso but I actually find it quite peaceful and rarely meet anyone in it, I always forget how big it is though.

A popular last real option for stopping overnight in the forrest, before pushing on to a short hop into Stoney. I always feel it's to close to the end to stay, and again today we pushed on past.

Its raining again, but this is definitely the last hill of the 2015 TGOC, from the top Stonehaven lays before you and our first view of the north sea, at this stage it was a huge struggle just to keep hobbling along, if it didn't hurt then it wasn’t attached to us.

The final walk through stoney must have been comedy for any bystanders, the two of us were totally scunnered and hobbling along like we had our boots on the wrong feet.

That is my happy face...

Thats my really happy face, stoney is a cracking finish,  pubs and chippers everywhere. Added bouns its only 20 odd miles from home and I could hear a hot bath calling.

After moaning about wet feet for days on end, Suz was a bit adverse to now getting them wet deliberately,  after the obligatory photos it was into the ship for a well deserved pint or two until our lift turned up.

A brilliant achievement for Susan, that she is quite rightly very proud of, she really grew into the trek as the days passed and without her humour and determination I might have been tempted to wrap a few times myself. For all the pain she went through, she still loved pretty much every moment of it, what was harsh and nasty at the time has evolved into great memories.  We both feel we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the fellow challengers (to many to name) who we met, chatted with in passing or walked alongside,  the friendliness, humour and encouragement was second to none

Since the challenge finished,  Suz has lost 6 toe nails, but is still waiting for her appointment to get her knee sorted, its only been 8 months.

CLICK FOR DAYS 8, 9 & 10

Good luck to the 2016 challengers 


  1. Brilliant read, glad you finished writing it. I can sympathise with the painful feet, my first two Challenges my feet were shredded, well done for soldiering on!
    Fab read, thank you.

  2. Well done the both of you, Susan especially - hopefully you've not put her off and she'll be back.