Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Day 10 - Braemar to Glen Clova

We are camping at the bottom of Glen Clova, about 5 km ahead of where we planned to finish tonight.
We started the day with a nice breakfast at our hotel, and reluctantly got on the road around 8:40. Our first stop was to be at Lochcallater Lodge, a small private Bothy at the head of Loch Callater. It is run by ex-TGOers, who open it up during the Challenge, and offer tea and biscuits to any walkers passing by. This is a tradition we were encouraged by everybody to partake in, and so of course we did.

 While there we met up with Peter who we had briefly met the previous day in Braemar. Peter is from Caroline/Sundre area so we had lots to talk about!

After tea and a visit we all set out and ended up walking together for the rest of the day. We headed for Jock's road, which is actually an old trail, which would take us all the way to Glen Clova. Here is the story behind Jock's road. Back in the 1800's some time, a guy who had just returned from Australia bought the estate which Jock's road is on. He tried to prevent people from using his land to walk on, but this other guy, Jock, refused to comply. He continued to use the road and is credited for being the pioneer of the Land Access Act which still guarantees walking rights-of-way all over Scotland. We only wish Canada had the same Act in place - there are so many beautiful places we can't access for fear of being charged with trespassing.
Back to our day. Jock's road goes over a mountain pass. As we approached the top the weather turned - terrible wind gusts, sideways rain, etc. We made a quick decision and adjusted our route to follow Jock's road all the way into Glen Clova instead of going our planned route in order to get out of the terrible conditions. As I mentioned in the beginning this worked very well for us as we are back on our original route, 5 km ahead of where we would have finished tonight.

As we entered Glen Clova near the end of our walk we saw a ranger station and went in to ask if there were any good spots to camp. The ranger was very helpful in showing us where to go, and also offered to make us tea before we carried on. We must have looked tired and cold. This was so nice after what we had just been through. We all enjoyed some heat and had a nice conversation learning about the area, and what the rangers were responsible for.
We are now in our tent under some big pine trees, with Peter as our neighbour. The rain stopped as we set up and made dinner - cheese bun, and pasta primavera for Amanda and I. The rain has started up again but we are sheltered from the wind so it should be a fairly comfortable sleep. The plan for tomorrow is to pack up and head for the Clova Hotel for breakfast, about 5 km away. We will then have a big climb out of the Glen. About mid-day we will say goodbye to Peter as we head different directions.
We feel really good about today's walk. Three more days to go! That's all for today. Thanks for reading everybody. Goodnight!!

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