It's only a shower!
by londonwalker » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:25 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhrotain, Monadh Mor, Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, Sgor Gaoith
Date walked: 04/08/20133 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Up to this point of my trip I have suffered with major malfunction to my camera and GPS both of which have gone for a burton. The last remaining gadget my smartphone is sporting a cracked screen from droppage and is threatening to give out at any moment so apologies for the poor pictures
I have made my way down Glen Feshie to the startpoint and overnighted in the camper. It is, despite the headstart, rare I am first on the hill and today is no exception. One car pulls up and then another I am behind the game but have hunners of things not to forget and am determined to be fully equipped.
20 yards up the path I find a pair of gaiters which reminds me I have forgotten mine! (If you lost a pair PM me) Fully equipped I set off again, I have a route in mind and a general plan which is to top the first three munros wild camp someplace then the 4th and walkout on the second day.
Lumping gear uphill is the price you have to pay for remoteness and solitude, this trip was no different. I followed the landrover track then stalkers path then faint path to the beallach between two minor hills of Creag Mhigeachaidh and Geal Charn. At the 670m mark I turned and climbed to the summit of Geal Charn (920m) then over the rolling hills to Meall Buidhe (976m).
A slight course deviation took me to the ridge then the short climb to Sgor Gaoith- the wind was a constant nagging companion all day. I was trying to get away from a constant nagging companion
In my opinion Sgor Gaoith is as good as any top in the Cairngorms. Its rocky peak above No 5 buttress juxtaposed to the 3 scooped corries on Braeriach, both towering over the waters of loch Einich it is a magnificent spectacle
The route took me round the top of Coire Odhar and across the rough boggy ground.
I headed up Moine Mhoe to miss the worst and pick up the landrover track to Allt Sgairnich and then on a faint ATV track across the summit of Tom Dubh (918m)
Soon I was cutting up the slopes of Monadh Mor, skipping over the boulders to the cairn. From here I could see a walker ahead who had clearly, by their angle, not made this summit.
My last objective of the day was Beinn Bhortain which had a clear path to it. I dropped a few feet out of the wind and had a belated lunch with superb views of the side of Devils Point.
I ditched my bag for the steep down/up to the day’s final top. By the time I reached the cairn I had caught the other walker who had decided not to leave her bag for fear or it being stolen?? There was only me about! And another chap a long way back. All became clear when Pauline said she was from Putney
We swapped photos and chatted about the huge distances in the Cairngorms and particularly the distance to The Fiddler and its neighbour. I helpfully suggested hiring a bike at Braemar to which she countered that it would mean bringing a rack, no just ride in from the village down the road rather than transport it to the Linn of Dee. I think she said something about having an island.
Ross arrived, another school teacher – seems to be many of those is the hills but he was dressed normally which is unusual for schoolteachers I walk with. We walked out together and chatted back to the summit of Monadh Mor by which time Pauline had overtaken us by keeping low despite me pointing out, she missed the summit on the way in.
I had already decided on a camp spot at the confluence of two streams… ooops sorry burns on a flat bit of ground in front of Tom Dubh. At this point it was apparent that gaiters were not the only thing I forgot. No Spork. I was trying to eat the contents of a rehydrated meal (just add H2O at 100C stir and wait 900secs) I did this as best I could and whilst eating it with my fingers a troupe of DofE lads came marching up. They stopped on the far side of the burn and sent one ahead to see if I was dangerous I guess – or he was their leader, or the most expendable of their party.
“Do you know how to get to Devils point?” Without a spork there was no way I could mount a frenzied attack so decided to answer the question. I had already put my meal down in anticipation of such a question and with aid of map and Chicken Tandoori fingers I pointed out their objective and where they were. Expendable walked off in the wrong direction and beckoned his mates across the burn. I called them over and explained that Devils Point was in the direction Expendable was going but there was no route to it that way. I suggested contouring round Monadh Mor and onto the plateau where it would be rather more apparent where to head. Off they trooped
The morning brought 2 major objectives Mullach Clach a Bhlair and Aviemore town centre for a shower. The second, a bit tougher than it may seem. MCaB is a nondescript dome of a hill which is all there is to say about it. I went to it on the express way of a well maintained landrover track, ditched the kit for the last 1km or so bagged it and turned straight round and off again
Back on the track I noticed a final summit that can de gotten as way of a short cut, Meall nan Sleac (800m) is a nice wee top in its own right and there is a faint path through rough heathery ground that leads to the extraction path to Achlean.
It was about a 4km trudge along the road to my start point I loaded up and headed into town.
There is a municipal public shower in Aviemore within the public toilet block just up from Tesco. The toilets are attended and have won numerous ‘Toilet of the year’ awards of which they proudly show the certificates. The balding wee old man with piercing blue eyes was not the regular attendant who refused me a shower a few days earlier as showers can only be had between 11.30 and 15.00hrs and I turn up humming at 16.30
Now old blue eyes had clearly been given instruction in toilet attendance, however it wasn’t the full blown extended course which included the shower cubicles.
“Walk straight in” – seems you don’t need to pay the stated 20p to use the lav. He was immediately wary when I didn’t and was still standing at the booth.
“I would like a shower” I said. A horrified look came over him and he just stared at a piece of paper on the desk. He wasn’t reading it just staring at it. I imagined I was the first person ever to ask him to use that facility. I stood there a full 30 seconds
“I don’t know how much that is” he eventually responds when he realises it was his turn to speak and this just might send me away
“It’s £1.20” I countered. The price was on a board above my head
“He’s not going away” thinks the attendant. Who is now under massive stress…“I thought it was that” he said to which there was sniggering laughter from the queue behind, who had witnessed the whole show. He returned to staring at the piece of paper.
He gave the queue the standard “walk right in” line whilst he fumbled with pieces of paper and keys and I anticipated still being there when they have finished their business. He only has two prices to remember 20p/walk straight in and £1.20. One of which he seemed to have forgotten.
In fairness to his customer service skills he took me to the shower cubicle and explained how it worked in a way that suggested this is the new-fangled thing that is taking over from the bath and some people may not know how to use it.
On exit the attendant had beaming smile on his face knowing he had done a good job. Bless him.
by mrssanta » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:55 pm
by pollyh33 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:01 pm
Really enjoyed the pathos involved just trying to get a shower
PS you may not visit us very often but at least you've picked up hunners of local vocabulary
by rocket-ron » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:12 pm
by tina bonar » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:00 pm
by rockhopper » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:55 pm
by basscadet » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:27 pm
MCaB I did in snow, so it was even more dull with what little features there are blanketed - looked way more exciting in your pics (although I think it should be a crime using the word exciting in the same sentence as MCab)
Going out the road for a bit of a Cairngorm fix tonight..
You coming to Skye next week Andy?
by Mountainlove » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:43 pm
by londonwalker » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:07 pm
Polly TOB. I wish I could visit more often, really. Love the place and the people - especially eccentric shower attendants! and of course one or two other special people
Ron - Glad you enjoyed it. Good luck with MRT training. Hope you get what you want out of it
Hi Barrie & Colleen great to hear from you again. I'm rather partial to a pint of Fullers myself! Give us a shout when you get to the smoke and I'll meet up if I'm free - in a Fullers house of course
Thanks Rockhopper. I shall return!!
Hi Seana Pleased I cheered you up! No MCaB is a trully dull hill, but as you can do it with others it's not too bad. Would have to hate walking in for just that one hill though. No can't make Skye. I am trully gutted about that
Hello Maja. Like the look of your new boots BTW. hope they last as well as the old pair that got such a lot of abuse. Yeah I thought the shower was worth mentioning. I couldn't get the camper on a campsite so it came in very useful. But it could do with being open later. That attendant is already a legend in my eyes. One of those moments you wish you had filmed