Friends, collies, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs
Now that I have done my very best Munro writing I am going to entertain you every four days with my 2017 adventures, so far.
The car park at the head of Glen Esk, that we returned to at the end of our first days walking, provided a superior grade of accommodation for our overnight stay, offering a choice of at least 15 parking places, now that everyone had gone home. We had litter bins for our rubbish which kept my van nice and clean – appealing to the van proud collie I’ve become. Just four miles away there was a telephone box, so B was able to contact David and tell him how wonderful I am. There were also real toilets for humans so B took off with her sink plugs and towel, was gone sometime, and came back looking very fresh and clean indeed. It was strange sleeping in my van again and neither of us got much shut eye but nevertheless, we were up with the lark, eager to make an early start on the next day of our great adventure.
A lowering mist and persistent drizzle accompanied us out of the valley, as the passage of time on my wrist watch marked a slow progress along the narrow road. Travelling west along the A90 was much quicker but, after a quick acquaintance with Forfar, and a mere hand wave at Kirriemuir, we were once again losing time on another long and meandering single track road, leading to the head of Glen Cova, or so I thought. The morning was slipping away and I was passing my time musing on the war memorials we passed, wondering where on earth all those men who had died had come from, in such an unpopulated place. Yet there they were, remembered in stone, a community of the war dead spread far and wide across this sceptred isle. Clearly, I shouldn’t have let my attention stray because B had gone off on one – literally, a route of her own – into Glen Prossen, which had equally slender roads. It was some miles before B clocked that she had gone the wrong way and, following a big wheelie in a derelict farm yard, we retraced our tracks adding yet more journey time to our morning. The mist still hung around the hills, like a cloying unwelcome guest at a party and, by this time, my wipers were giving it wellie; me and de ja vue were crossing paths yet again. Yesterday, the heavens had tried to peep through but failed miserably. I hoped the forecast for this afternoon was more accurate.
Eventually, at the stroke of 11.00am we got going, a lovely walk through Glendoll forest, with a very manageable incline by White Water. I had to be on my lead, even though there was no one around, because of nesting birds at this time of year. I think it’s all a ruse myself, to stop me spreading my wings and enjoying myself. In Spring it’s the lambs, in summer the nesting birds, and in the autumn there’s all that stalking going on. I suppose there’s just a chance I could have an unrestrained run sometime between November and February but, let’s face it, that’s when I’m curled up in front of a nice roaring fire having a few zzzs. We made good progress through the forest and were soon out in the open in the rock strewn amphitheatre that is the Corrie Fee Nature Reserve. Straight ahead we saw our path rising steeply beside the Fee burn waterfalls. There, sure enough, not far into the climb, B started the huffing and puffing thing again, that had been such a feature of my blogs last year. I’ve become quite a fan in the h & p department myself, as it gives me ample time to run in front, suggest a rest and get a treat. I think this is what’s called a win, win situation.
Higher up to the path veered away to the south west. While the terrain underfoot was rather slouchy, the weather had been improving and views were opening out widely all around. Then, before you could say ‘here’s another Munro, where’s the bag’, I was being photographed beside the summit cairn of Mayer at 928 metres above sea level. Loosing just a little height between the two Munros made for less of the squelchy stuff than was often the case and also, a little less of the h and p on the next ascent. While this made the walk easier on the ear, it was regressive in the treats department, which was unfortunate, to say the least. Anyway, in no time at all we had topped our 25th Munro, Driesh at 947 metres.
We then had to retrace our steps to the col between the two mountains and follow the wonderfully named Shank of Drumfollow, which hugged the hillside, all the way back to Glendoll Forest. By this time the weather had positively perked up and, looking around, we had wonderful views caught in the reflected glory of the late afternoon sun. Our spirits rose with our accomplishment and then the upturn in weather conditions added to our overall joy. The walk through the forest and back to the car seemed like a mere hop and a skip.
Once back B took off to what must be one of the most remote visitor centres and came back with a beaming smile, telling me that they were going to display some of our leaflets and so, I was going to be famous all over Glen Doll. Once B had utilised the public amenities to the full we were ready to go, seeking out our berth for the night ahead.