Munro post – 08/07/2017 – The Glen Shee Six (37)

Friends, collies, leather pawed dogs,

Staying at the ski centre was meant to have given us a great advantage, hopping straight out of my van and onto the path which heralded the start of our walk. However, I wasn’t feeling right but couldn’t quite put my paw on what it was. Before we had got to the end of the car part B had turned back and then it dawned on me. My tummy was EMPTY. B had FORGOTTEN to give me my BREAKFAST. Having averted the mood altering drama that could have unfolded, we were then on our way for what promised to be a v. v. v long haul and the possibility of 6, yes SIX more Munros, in an increasingly heavy bag. Today we were heading off to conquer the Munros that sit on the east side of the ski centre by the A93, having done those on the west during our first 2017 weekend. All the skiing tackle, described in my last blogs, littered these hills too but we were soon up above it all, turning South to traverse the grassy flank of Glas Maol’s western aspect, with Creag Leacach, our first target well in view. As we approached grass gave way to rock and, by the time we were flogging up to the summit, my toes were ouching every time I put them to the ground.

Imagine, if you will, a bone china ornament in the shape of a dome. Now pretend it has shattered but a sticky core remains, supporting the top of the dome. All the splintered fragments have tumbled down over each other, sticking to the sides like a skirt fanning out in the breeze. Now magnify the image by about a million times and that’s what my paws were having to contend with as I approached my first summit of the day. Up on top the wind was fresh and strong, though not unwelcome. Bits and pieces of blue were gathering pace and beginning to dominate the sky and, if it weren’t for the cooling properties of a stiff breeze things might have been hoting up just a bit too much.

As we retreated, the grassy prominence of Glas Maol was a blessed relief, much like walking  off the chippings of our forecourt and onto the carpeted interior of home. This time our route took us over the top and that was No. 2 in the bag. Now all we had to do was hop up and down a few hundred metres another 4 times, while we marched across another 10 or 12 miles, then we were home and,  hopefully, dry. Onward and upward then to the highest point of the day on a northern trajectory. The Cairn of Claise, whose summit cairn seems to grow out of the very wall that crosses it, stands at 1064 metres. From here both Tom Buide and Tolmount, the next two on our itinerary, could be clearly seen beckoning us on. Seen from this elevation, lower in height by more than 100 metres, they looked too diminutive to be Munros but they were in the book and… if they’re in the book… you bag them. What they did seem was a very long way off and far apart. Apparently, this is nothing by Cairngorm standards but I wasn’t going to think about that today. My legs were already feeling tired and we were only half way around.

Now a crow would just have flown east, swooped down 100 metres and landed on old Tom’s cairn. But me and B had to descend further than that as we stuck off in the direction of No. 4 and then consequently, clamper up again to gain the top of the beast. So far the paths had been reasonably dry but I could sense a bog in the depression and what with the achy legs and splintered paws, I couldn’t own up to attacking this part of the walk in a burst of  joyous humour. However, we were saved from the worst of the wetland by the services of a half descent path and hence I escaped the indignity of a beautiful tri coloured collie turning into a mono shade of murky brown .

Having introduced ourselves to Mr Buide we were four Munros up and the last two now seemed well within our compass. Setting off again, after the photo shoot, I was light of heart and fleet of foot, geared up for the next descent and ascent, eager to great our penultimate summit  in the fashion of, ‘hail the conquering hero’. The journey had got a little more spongy but nothing a meandering path couldn’t skirt around and so, with our 5th in the bag, I felt on top of the world and began to fantasise about my dinner bowl and some lovely zzzzzzzzzzzzs.

Oh, silly old Ben. Who spoke too soon? They say it’s never over until the fat lady sings. Well that could be a very long time in the Munros because you don’t get too many fat ladies up there. Fat ladies not withstanding, we weren’t home and dry at all and had the worst to come. Descending from Tolmount had been a piece of cake and we turned to the west to meet the ridge that would take us towards Carn an Tuirc. All day we had struck out on reasonable paths, not all of them the nice big tracks that I favour, but you could decipher their direction and, with the high cloud base, all had been plain sailing walking. Just here though, in the hinterland circled by Munros, on the last leg of our trek, we were pathless  in a swamp. Me and B were trudging through muck, making for a ridge that seemed to get further and further away. Suddenly, the days endeavours caught up with us in the extra effort this took. From a state of near euphoria we were suddenly overwhelmed by fatigue, as we plunged in bog hole after bog hole, of feet sucking peat.

The hags, that interspersed the bogs, gave more substance to the ground but their classic mounds meant lots of ups and downs, like mini Munros, but more of them. They had another function though and we were soon utilising it, as we slumped down on one for a well earned rest. Sitting here a little forlornly we wondered when would we ever reach the ridge and was that really the next summit way across to the north west. Wondering and munching went hand in hand to refill energy banks that had gone well into overdraft and, though a little snooze would have been a wonderful experience, I was trying to do my bit as buddy to let B know that, when the chips are down, we are in it together. Of course, had there been any real chips about it would have been my head that was down, buddy or no buddy. Though the temptation to linger was compulsive we knew that we had to prize ourselves from our perch and tackle the rest of the pathless moorland, hoping for something dryer and more defined on the ridge, if we ever made it.

In fact, in less than twenty minutes after alighting on the ridge we were capturing the happy faces of four companions at the summit cairn. Then they, in turn, took our mug shot as we looked – for all the world – as if bog, slog and near exhaustion had never been a feature of the walk at all. Well, what would you expect. We had done all six and were smug in our achievement, only short of a bottle of champagne to shake and offer to the gods in a lava of fizzing celebration.

That may have been a tad premature though, because it took us over an hour to follow a delightful path, descending by one of a clutch of streams that ran off the mountain side into Cairnwell burn, in the glen below. Tumbling waters, gurgled and splashed as they gyrated and diverted over and around rocks in the river bed, like gymnasts going through their paces. They had an energy to spur us on to what was very nearly the end of our walk, at the car park 2 kilometres north of the ski centre.

Now the sad truth of the matter was that my van was still at the skil centre. There really was nothing for it but to put two paws in front of each other, with the other two behind also going hammer and tongs, for the extra half hour it took to follow the road back up the hill. The main road through from Blairgowrie to Braemar was something of a culture shock after the peace of the hills. A constant stream of those noisy four wheeled things sped past us at a rate of knots. However, they were nothing compared to the vehicles that were two wheels short of a chassis. I started to tense as their mounting volume approached till as they past us, and several cars, in a roaring crescendo of turbo charged testosterone, my nerves were shot to bits. Half an hour can be a v. v. v long time in the life of 3 year old border collie with a nervous disposition.

Of course we did get back to my van eventually and the sight of it (though it might be considered a little tight of space in the sleeping department) was – after what I had just  endured – pure heaven on earth. 9.5 hours after nearly not getting my breakfast I was tucking into dinner with a gargantuan appetite and, before the 10 hours were up, guess where I was?

Oh dear, you know me too well know.

And so to bed

Love Ben xx

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Munro post – 07/07/2017 – Glas Tulaichean & Carn an Righ (31)

Friends, collies, commuting dogs

Our misfortune in getting held up in traffic on our journey to the Munros a couple of weekends ago, and the slow progress along minor roads before we got anywhere near to donning our walking boots, got B thinking . The radical fallout from this cognitive  endeavour was the decision to drive up the night before our first walk. It confused me no end. B went off to work as usual and I had my lovely gentle stroll in the forest  with David and the old girl. Once home I was biding my time on the soft furnishings till B got home, praying with all my paws that it was going to stay fine so we could play some ball in my garden. Therefore, excitement was upper most when B arrived early. Her arrival was followed by a lot of activity and within 15 minutes I was in my van heading north accompanied by a lot of butterflies, who might well have been playing ball in my tummy.

Luckily, this time, we had a better route to Edinburgh, via Biggar, on a much smoother road. I don’t think I could have coped with my van bouncing over pot holes as well as the butterflies chasing ball. Unfortunately I was given cause, once again, to question B’s ability to plan our travel. Now I’m only a dog, albeit a border collie, but it doesn’t take a genius to predict the time all those people – who drive into Edinburgh for work across the Fourth Bridge – will be driving out again. You guessed it, we arrived at the Edinburgh by pass at that precise time. So, there we were, once again, in a long line of stationary traffic, going nowhere fast. By the time we passed the crook of Devon I could well believe that we were in the west country. Eventually, we arrived and were drawn to the lay by on the A93 we had become so familiar with last time. It was early to bed that night as B was v. v. v  tired, what with the working and the driving, and I wasn’t sorry. Given my nervous disposition I was exhausted too. This Munro project was certainly playing havoc with my equilibrium.

In my lay by

The next morning reared it’s ugly head long before my body clock had time to adjust. If one of my eyes accidently opens at 5.30am I like to greet the world with a big stretch and then roll over and go back to sleep for a good few hours. Not so for B; her motivation for being up and doing was both admirable, in an objective sense, and lamentable for me as her buddy. By 6.30am we were legging it up yet another track into more hills, with summits  stubbornly veiled in what was becoming their traditional headgear.

The notices around the baronic pile that is now Dalmunzie hotel – where we had parked – told us what to do, what not to do and when to do it, like similar notices on so many estates. That got B going off on one. This diatribe featured the genuinely complex relationship between rights and conservation, in comparison with chauvinistic types who think that shooting at wildlife is something to be proud of, pay loads of dosh to keep the estates just viable, and then hold up their ‘sports’ as acts of conservation. Meantime, I’m not allowed to go anywhere near nesting birds that are only going to see the end of a two barrel, as the end of their lot in mortal coil.

Our track did a few demi wheelies, crossing the river each time and we so pleased that it had been dry most of the summer (up to early July) otherwise we would have been in big trouble. Up and up we went, as the cloud vaporised about us and the temperature dropped dramatically. It wasn’t anything that couldn’t be expected in a cool April but, in July, it really didn’t cut the mustard. Jacket, waterproof trousers, gloves and hat all got an airing before we had reached the first summit of this weekend. B seemed to be reasonably water tight but not me. I was exposed the vagaries of the elements and I began to pout a bit, not the least inclined to put on ‘a face’ for the camera. I wanted to be seen cutting a dash in this year’s collection of doggy outdoor gear. We did the usual Munro selfie but, in all honesty, I can’t say that B came out of it cutting any dashes at all, so I’ve cut it out (hee, hee).

 Glas Tulaichean

We didn’t hang about around at the top of Glas Tulaichean and we avoided the temptation to follow the ridge between two corries, heading south (thank you guide book). Instead we followed a northern trajectory with what the Munors often throw up as navigational aids; those rusty old fence posts. Though they had seen better days they were nevertheless, hanging about for the long haul and did us proud. Our next move involved cutting down to river and then up onto the – currently invisible – stalkers path on the other side. Cutting down and river aren’t words that immediately conjure up feelings of rapture, accompanied as they usually are by vast hinterlands of pathless, boogy trudging and today was not exception. I particularly don’t like this when mist is hanging about as it stirs up my anxiety juices, with the words lost and forever, reverberating in my ears. Luckily as we descended the mist lifted a little and the path we wanted became clear. Though this didn’t stop me getting in an awful mess I was at least, no longer in fear of my life. As we left the path, making for the top of Carn an Righ, the weather closed in again but not before we had seen a parcel of deer against the rocky outcrop. We got to the top but with the rain and the cold, and generally being in a bit of a state, I was even less inclined to be the stooge in the photo, proof of another one in the bag.

Just then clouds – that had been fiends – began to scuttle across the sky, chased by a more benign force that promised a brighter afternoon. A battle then played out above us with light and dark in frequent bids for ascendancy, like a troop of old geezers playing tug of war to see who could topple who. Our walk under Mam nan Carn through more boggy territory began to seriously dampen my spirits until, oh lordy me, 8OO metres above sea level, there was a wonderful expanse of water nestling in the mountains, casting a magic to compensate for all my woes. I could sense B weighing it all up: how cold, how deep, how much time etc. but, I was having none of it and put considerable strength into my own tug of war until B could hold me no more. Boy oh boy, you should have seen me go. Pathless route, no problem. Peaty hags, made for leaping. Squelchy bogs, a mere trifle. I was down by the waters edge, looking for my ball, before you could say, “mind your feet”.

Loch nan Eun

After an invigorating dip, and much retrieving of my ball, we set off on the last leg of the day, the long stroll down the length of Glen Taitneach. Finally, when down in the Glen, the brighter forces won the battle of the skies as evidenced by the slimline figure B became, when relieved of multiple layers of protective clothing. Of course, I had nothing to take off but it was lovely to feel the sun on my back and sense the steam rising from my inner being.

Gleann Taitneach

My spirits had been restored up at Loch nan Eun and now, with the late afternoon sun beaming down on me, I could reflect on the glory of 2 more peaks to my name. B was made up because we were staying in the car park at the ski centre and she was assured of hot and cold running water in the loos up there. So endeth another happy day of Munroing.

And so to bed,

Love Ben xx

Munro post – 25/06/2017 – Cairn Aosda , Carn a Gheoidh, The Cairnwell (29)

 

Friends, collies, sleepy dogs,

Strong winds were forecast again for the next day, our last, but not the pulverising gale force bruts of yesterday. This caused for celebration in the guise of a nice lie in or, to put it another way, B’s idea of a joke. 6.30am is NO WAY, a reasonable time for getting up, as far as I’m concerned. Regardless of my feelings on the matter and before I could say “objection”, we were back at the ski centre embarking on another walk, with a mere 3 Munros the target for the day. Such a feat was helped admirably by the altitude of our starting point so that amazingly, staggeringly, me and B were well into our Munro summit ritual just 45 minutes after leaving the car park and, I promise, we didn’t get the chair lift that goes all the way up. Descending South towards the col, our acquaintance from yesterday, we came upon a curious feature. There was a sign post to the Munro we had just bagged. Never, in all my born days, had I seen a signpost to a Munro before.

From the col we continued Southwards a little and then turned West heading for Carn a Gheoidh, our next conquest. Having finally left the unattractive paraphernalia of the skiing fraternity behind we passed the sequested beauty of a pair of unnamed lochans, their waters rippling sedately even in these untamed winds, cosseted as they are by the protective qualities of the hillocks that circle them; a little amphitheatre set just to the side of our path. I decided these waters of peace needed an identity and so I named them ‘BenzieB’ lochans. I got the idea from a tarn in the lake district, that my peoples’ great nephew Thomas, named ‘Taisie Tarn’ after he and the old girl (Maisie) had come across it, the day Thomas climbed Place Fell for the first time.

Although the winds were still mightily strong the sun put in the odd appearance bringing the hills to life and igniting our senses, making us feel so alive. On the way to Carn a Gheoidh we wove around Carn nan Sac, where we could see directly over to our last Munro for the day, The Cairnwell. Oh my goodness me, what a big drop and steep climb. I was overwhelmed and needed a sleep. After that B told me she was only teasing and, though it would be a great route for a crow flying, we were going to take a longer less arduous route by going back to the bulldozer track and then up to the summit. Phew, phew, phew. However, we hadn’t yet completed our second Munro and so we continued on our march.

One thing I have noticed on the Munros is that, when the weather is bad, everyone just keeps their head down, grunts a little in passing, and then strikes off with their bag. But, when the weather improves it’s smiles all round, comparing bags, lots of encouragement and fond wishes – in farewell – for a good day. Obviously, the good weather greetings are more of a challenge for me, given the opportunity for lunging and nipping but, today I was magnificent. I coped with the meet and greet with astonishing magnanimity, which did wonders in the treat department. What with the sunny weather, the good behaviour, three relatively easy Munros to bag and a full tummy, I was on top of the world, striking out to get to the next summit with joy in my heart and a song on my lips. It has to be said that the composition of dog lyrics are indecipherable to the average human ear but, it could just be, they owed a little to the song we had named our own, on the journey up… ‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all.’ Just so.

Coming back from Carn a Gheoidh, we by passed Carn nan Sac and, wanting to leave BenzieB locans in their tranquil state, I didn’t even suggest a swim to ruffle their undisturbed waters. Back at the bulldozer track it just one more plod up to The Cairnwell and then the journey home.

 

By this time, although we were well back into all the ski clobber, The Cairnwell was – aditionally – crested with a mass of transmitter equipment adding further scarring to the Cairngorm mountains. Today’s winds whipped around and over the masts producing eerie musical reverberations that didn’t harmonise with the song on my lips but sent a shiver down my spine  instead. Today had been magical, despite the debris around the ski centre and, once we were back at my van after by-passing the closed cafe, we were homeward bound.

What a weekend: 7 more Munros in our bag, ending in exhaustion and such a lot to tell David when I got home – I couldn’t wait, though somehow I missed the journey back and only came too at the gate of home, around 6.30pm.

A very sunny evening of carousing and general excitement followed so that, next day, it was a lot of hard work for all of our eyelids.

And so to bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Ben xx

 

 

Munro Post – 24/06/2017 – An Socach (26)

Friends, collies, windswept dogs,

It’s all swings and roundabouts I suppose. Our overnight spot, in a lay by beside the A93, wasn’t a patch on the salubrious expanse at the head of Glen Esk, our resting place after Mount Keen on the first day but, on the plus side, it did have a strong phone signal and therefore an internet connection too, so we were able to check the weather forecast. In fact, this wasn’t all good news. On the one hand we were forewarned about the gales sweeping the hills at lunchtime tomorrow. On the other hand we had to put our black hats on (doom and gloom), as it spelt curtains for the two Munros we had hoped to bag on our planned walk. A quick chat between B and David reminded us that we had other hats to wear, when David asked if there was a shorter walk we could do, completing it before the winds reached gale force.

This send B back to the drawing board or, to be more accurate, the Munro guides – with her green hat on (creativity). Before long we had to change hats again and I was getting dizzy. I think it was a hat-trick (hee, hee, hee). Anyway, it was yellow hats all round (sunny optimism) and I was informed that, by getting up at 5.30am, we should be able to walk over to An Socach and back from the wonderfully appointed Ski Centre Car Park, sitting at a height of 675 metres. This wasn’t going to be the most magical of walks but then, they’ve all got to be done. B said that grabbing one out of the jaws of defeat would, in itself, be a minor victory. I thought 5.30am doesn’t allow for a lot of shut eye but, for me and B – with a mission to complete – 5.30am it was to be.

The disagreeable ski slope clutter that spoils the landscape for acres around the centre, especially when devoid of snow, is a subject referred to in all the guide books. They maintain that the great bulldozer tracks, chair lifts and multiple ski posts clothing the hills, leave an ugly scar. That may well be so but, being a dog, perhaps I don’t have quite that level of aesthetic appreciation because, given B’s navigational skills, there is nothing that warms the cockles of my heart like the sight of a nice broad track. We started off on one such track, left by the wonderful bull dozers (how I envied those cattle that didn’t have to get up at 5.30am) and, after a short steep ascent, were beside a cafe. No chance of a rest here though, as it only opens in winter; how strange is that? We were heading to the col between two of the Munros that me & B had planned for the next day. Today we ploughed straight on, over the pathless bog and peat to the north of Loch Vrotachan which, much to my disgruntlement, I wasn’t allowed to swim in. The terrain was a horrible tumble of down, down, down, where my paws kept collapsing beneath me, as they plunged into horrid peat trenches. At the lowest point we had to cross Baddoch Burn and, though we found what looked like a good spot, B had a moment or two where reasonably dry feet had a chin-chin with the river and it was a close run thing. Once over, we climbed up to a landrover track and turned left, following this to a cleavage between the East and West faces of An Socach, just to the North. A better path than our guides suggested led us up by a burn, to the bealach between the ridges, with much activity in the huffing and puffing department and consequently, a very satisfying number of treats.

Though conscious of the rising winds, they had checked our progress but a little. Up here, in unsheltered territory on the ridge, it was a different story. Buffeting guests confirmed the forecasters prediction. The cloud wafted over the hills in rapid sweeps as if someone had pressed a meteorological fast forward switch. I was frogmarched along to the summit without a by your leave, where photos were taken at break neck speed, proof of attainment only and with no consideration for the time I needed to look my best. Even the malt whiskey to lips ritual was reserved for a little shelter in the gully, by the burn we had climbed up.

As we descended here by I was given a v. v. v big telling off from a mummy grouse when I disturbed her babies. I was glad to be saved from myself as I was on my lead at the time, so  couldn’t take off in chase, ending up in very big trouble. As I watched them cackle off I caught sight of a beautiful hind etched against the skyline – “Like stout Cortez, silent upon a peak in Darien.” We viewed each other for a long time, until she eventually moved gracefully out of sight.

Stout Corteize

At this point me & B resumed our race again the rising wind, retracing our steps to the Baddoch Glen. Here the river got it’s own back on B’s dry feet, much to my amusement. Then, oh deary me, we had to haul ourselves back over Sron nam Fiadh, only this time we were going uphill, which made the going one long big slog. Incredibly, absolutely incredibly, my usual remedy for such a situation – a bit of sit down and nice big snack – was rejected in favour of getting back to the shelter of my van as soon as we could. After lots more hard work we eventually reached the col between tomorrows Munros and I have never, in all my three years, been so pleased to see a big bulldozed track. Within half an hour we were back at the ski centre and B had hot footed it to the h & c facilities, while I tried to catch up on a much deserved bit of shut eye. This wasn’t so easy when my van was rocking about alarmingly so, on B’s return, we drove down to look for some protection in the glen, where I could catch up on my sleep after such an early start.. This we found back at our – by now – favourite lay by.

At the ski centre
And so to bed

Love Ben xx AA HeartPawPrint

 

Munro post – 23/06/2017 – Mayer and Driesh (24 and 25)

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.

DBTG – We’re at it again

Friends, collies, traveller’s dogs,

So sorry to put my tails of the first weekend on hold but we are off again. Then I’ll have even more to tell you. I think I’ll be playing that thing called catch up all summer.

The time we hope to do:

  • Glas Tulaichean and Carn an Righ, which we missed last time because of high winds.
  • The Glenshee 6 (lots and lots of exclamation marks)
  • Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin
  • An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin

Bye-the-bye Sue, We always have badger with us. He – for it is a he – has a very special place in my van – permanently on the handbrake. He was going to be our mascot but he is just a little too heavy, with every thing else we have to lug up the hills (mainly my treats, hee, hee). So, he is on the handbrake because, if B’s mum was still around she wouldn’t have a moments rest till B phoned in to say she was home and OK. Therefore, having badger on the brake reminds us that we mustn’t take unnecessary risks, if we are getting carried away.

You should see my van Sue, there’s all sorts in there: St Christopher, Buddha, some strange looking thing with stiches all over it, my mascot and the search and rescue collie on the dashboard. My latest thing is collecting fridge magnets. I’ve only got one at the moment but B likes it. Is says Guinness.

Anyway, better get some shut eye before we’re off.

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Love Ben xx

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