Carn an Tuirc Revisited: End of Bruce’s #50in150 for Charlie House

Mayar and Driesh were the planned hills for today. However, changeable forecasts and the prospect of prolonged heavy rain put paid to this plan. The decision was made to head for Braemar instead, and Carn an Tuirc seemed like a good bet. We’ve done it before, although not during Bruce’s 50 in 150 challenge. It’s short – an easy up and down – and would give the one munro necessary to round things off. It didn’t have to be today, there are still 22 days left, but once the seed is planted there’s no changing his mind.

Parking up, the waterproofs went on straight away. With warm temperatures this made for a rather unpleasant ‘boil in the bag’ feel as we progressed up the hill.

Pit zips opened, trousers vented, drizzle turning to rain; pit zips closed, trouser vents closed. Repeat – and again. You get the picture!

Carn an Tuirc

The small track, a little muddy and peaty in bits, took us all the way up to the stony top with relative ease. Rain came on properly as we neared the summit, the mist closed in a little, and as I made Bruce go under my sticks we spotted another couple in the windshelter! Sitting chatting, I became aware that they were all slightly sheltered from the rain while I was getting soaked! Meh!

Bruce & Charlie on Carn an Tuirc #50in150

Returning from the summit, we headed back the way we’d come, in theory at least. Initially we did appear to be on the same path. However, as we progressed we realised it was different, for the better, so we stuck with it. Before long the mist cleared and we could see the road and car parking area.

Continuing to descend we made our way back towards the stream, finding the ascent path. The heavy shower that was forecast arrived and was blessedly fleeting!

Back at the car we had a quick change of footwear before heading to The Bothy for our usual stop. At this point we realised that the rain appeared to have perhaps just touched us as the road back to Braemar was soaked. Result!

So that’s it! Challenge over for Bruce: #50in150 done and dusted. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bruce-russell5

A great effort! (20 for me – not quite in the same league, but not too shoddy!) Maybe a few more to go this year. We’ll keep you posted.

When Charlie Met Bella: The Cairnwell Trio

My husband has taken on a challenge … 50 munros in 150 days to raise money for Charlie House: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bruce-russell5

As with all things Bruce, he’s not doing it by halves so I’m going to be spending much of June alone as he hits the heights on various expeditions! Should you wish to follow his progress you can do so here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/840910906256097?id=840910906256097&ref=content_filter&_rdr

Fair’s fair though, it should be said that he was very tolerant of my lack of presence during marathon training, so it’s time for retribution.

Today, we stayed local and were delighted to have the company of Nicola and Bella (a very cute Labrador) on our walk. I’m a real dog lover, Bruce however, is allergic, and I’m happy to get my doggy fix any way I can!

Parking up at the Glenshee Ski Centre we had a brief discussion as to whether to do the Glas Maol circuit or The Cairnwell trio. Opting for the trio, we concluded that the other four could wait for another day.

These munros provide easy walking with good paths. Having previously completed this circuit in the early days of hill walking, I’ve concluded I’d happily do them alone – usually I prefer to walk in company – but they really are a gift if you’re ticking a list. Starting high there’s no real test of strength and we completed our round in just outside four hours with a lengthy stop to watch a hang glider on The Cairnwell.

First up it’s Carn Aosda, a very short walk from the car park. Charlie posed here for the first photograph of the day, rescued ahead of too much attention from Bella as her interest piqued when he emerged.

Charlie dog: on top of Carn Aosda #50in150

Heading on, the longest walk of the day ensued and it passed quickly with all the chat.

The Cairnwell Trio: Bella takes a dip (Glenshee)

We reached Carn a’ Gheoidh, taking Charlie’s second photo. Stopping here for a snack, Bella again showed her pedigree and training by abstaining from stealing my oatcakes or mooching too much. Alternatively, it could be that she doesn’t like peanut butter! (However, I have it on good authority that the only two things she won’t eat are raspberries and lettuce, so I suspect she’s just been well brought up!)

Charlie Dog on Carn a’ Gheoidh #50in150 #charliehouse

Retracing our steps for a time, we met a walking group from Portsoy and exchanged pleasantries. This was the one and only time we heard Bella speak and we’re still none the wiser why.

The final summit of the day, The Cairnwell, was a slightly steeper pull in the overall scheme of the day but most definitely manageable. The most unfortunate thing of this munro is all the ‘furniture’ on top; sadly today this also included a collapsed unit that’s in the throes of being recovered from the hill. Things just aren’t built to last these days!

Debris on The Cairnwell

The highlight of this top was a hang glider. We waited for some time while he and his companion faffed around (even Bella got bored) but finally he was ready for takeoff! A very impressive sight it was too as he soared around like a giant wasp overhead!

Hang glider off The Cairnwell

We opted for the direct descent route, straight down the steep hillside for the cafe.

The cafe was very welcoming. Dog friendly, Bella was given water and a big dog biscuit while we enjoyed a cuppa and cake. Poor Charlie was relegated to the rucksack in the boot.

Hindsight is a great thing and we now realise that Charlie could have had an even more amazing adventure had Bella been permitted to show him the hills. He’d have experienced a host of new pleasures – swimming in the loch, paddling in burns and streams, digging in the heather, eating snow and rolling around in the heather. He’d have been a whole different dog as a result, not least due to being filthy and wet! Instead, Bella carried an old fence post from The Cairnwell down, impressively waiting until the burn widened at the back of the ski centre before her final dip as she couldn’t fit in with the fence post in her mouth prior to this!

A successful day out, that’s Charlie now clocked up 11 munros with many more to come. Maybe one day he’ll get to roam free!