That was the plan …
However, having parked up in the main Braemar car park, we were around the duck pond when we felt a spot. Initially unsure, was that a spot of rain or a drop from the tree we just passed, the puddles gave the game away. Optimistic to the end, we concluded it’s a wee shower, it’ll pass.
It did, but not before the rucksack covers went on as the spots were getting heavier. My frustration with my hood grew too; it just doesn’t pull back enough, fine going downhill, but heading up I’m struggling even to see Bruce’s heels! Some experimentation is required before summer. Bruce suggested a cap like he wears, but I’m thinking this is going to be way too hot with my hair, so maybe one of those fetching 80s plastic coloured sun visors instead. Maybe a green one!
Anyway, that aside, it’s a steep wee pull up. Having set off feeling a little chilly and putting my gloves on, it wasn’t long at all before the gloves were off, pit zips undone, and the vents on my waterproofs gaping wide. We spotted a rainbow and I made a wish. I can’t share what it was for fear that it won’t come true!
Plodding on, the shower did pass and I was able to see again, much to my delight. We passed a young couple admiring the view and were passed by a trail runner. He took advantage of our willingness to chat and enjoyed a substantial break before heading on.
Further up, we reached the cairns. No idea why they’re there in such number, but our runner advised that they’re used for the Braemar hill run. Having slogged up here (and knowing how bad I am at descending at speed) I think I may give this one a wide berth!
Onwards, upwards, it wasn’t too much longer before I spotted the mast heralding the top. In addition to the mast, there’s also a cairn and various small buildings at the top, the only benefit of which is the shelter afforded on a windy day.
Today, we sat at the back of one building, enjoying our sandwich in calm, breeze free conditions. Prior to this we’d been slightly buffeted by the wind and getting chilled. You’d truly believe you were in a different place!
The views were great all around: Loch Callater and the Cairngorms.
Heading down was way more interesting. We retraced our route, but met lots more people, the highlight of which was an elderly couple from Kent. They swapped stories of hills and munros, only eleven to go and they don’t think they’ll finish. Heading home, we debated how old they were. My money’s on 80 something, as although fit as fiddles, he looked older than my dad (who is wearing well).
Chatted with a few others, but our long stop proved costly, the rain coming on further down the hill. Rather than retracing all the way back to the pond, we cut off and headed towards the golf course. There were two paths – we took the wrong one – and it was with relief I realised he wasn’t going to make me climb the deer fence, remembering a gate further up.
We were pretty wet as we followed the edge of the river path back to the village, but reached the car park quicker than I’d anticipated. A quick change of boots and waterproofs off, we ended our walk in The Bothy with coffee and cake. It doesn’t get much better in my world!