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My first solo walk and three more in the bag

My first solo walk and three more in the bag


Postby rachelbairdhall » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:11 pm

Route description: Tolmount and Tom Buidhe via Loch Callater

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 12/09/2014

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 29.8 km

Ascent: 1023m

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Since the forecast was spectacular but nobody was free to come walking I decided to embark upon my first solo day of hill based adventures. A nervewracking prospect for me! To make sure I had time on my side I had packed up my bag and set off for Braemar by 6am and arrived at the empty car park shortly after 7am.

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Empty early morning car park


After a quick cup of coffee I set off down the slightly eerily misty path signposted for Glen Clova.

20140912_071513.jpg


I reached the shooting lodge and bothy in just under an hour poked my head inside for a quick nosey. As you can see it is in pretty good nick at the moment. Long may it continue!
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Comfy looking chair!


A few seconds later I got my first view of Loch Callater. Absolutely breathtaking and the highlight of the day for me. Seeing the loch in complete solitude with the morning mist and the sun just rising over then glen is up there among the best outdoor scenes I've ever had the fortune to witness.
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Stunning!
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Crystal clear waters


I continued along jocks road (now a path) to the other end of the glen and found a good spot for elevensies (well, ninesies thanks to my early start! :lol: )
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A nice pit stop view


After a nectarine and a coffee I started walking again, this time faced with the epic climb out of the valley. Be under no illusion, Jocks Road becomes near impossible to locate amidst the bog here and it is a hard slog up onto the plataeu! That said, once you have gained the height the hardest part of the day is done. A short easy climb follows and I reached Tolmount at 10.25am.
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Tolmount selfie!


After an apple, yet another cup of coffee and being feasted on by what I am sure was half the midge population of the highlands, I made my way round to Tom Buidhe by 11.02am.
20140912_110527.jpg
Tom Buidhe selfie!


I was still feeling pretty energetic so I decided to add on Cairn of Claise. On my way across I bumped into a chap carrying a HUGE backpack whom had camped out on the Glas Maol the night before. We had a quick natter then I continued on to my final summit of the day. I arrived at 11.50am and my rumbling tummy told me it was a good spot to stop for lunch.
20140912_115203.jpg
Cairn of Claise selfie!


Now came the long slog back to the car along the otherside of the glen. Those that have walked with me before will know this is the part of the day I start to get a little grumpy! :lol: I skipped past Carn an Tuirc because I bagged this one ski touring last year. After what seemed like forever the lodges at the end of the loch came into view. A very welcome sight for this weary traveller!
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Almost there!


I was making good time so I decided to have a final break with a pear and the last of my now cold coffee (yes, I do just empty the contents of my fruit bowl into my backpack!). It really is a lovely spot.
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Beautiful


I dragged myself away from the view and walked the final stretch back to the car. The views of Ben Avon were much better than earlier since the mist has cleared.

All in all I would say this walk is well worth doing. The views and the early morning solitude were wonderful. I love company in the hills but I might start throwing in the odd solo trip now I have broken the fear factor!
rachelbairdhall
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:55 pm

Well done on your first solo trip :clap: :clap:
Have you done a lot of ski touring? ..finally got some boots at the end of last season, after getting skins and bindings the year before ..so all set to get out and play this winter ..fingers crossed!! :D
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:05 pm

Well done on your first solo and you got a great day for it.

I do this walk every year but always the opposite way round to your route. I have the slog up from Loch Callater but then the descent down off Tolmount - don't know why, just prefer it that way round (I also have no idea where Jock's road is on that final climb out of the glen despite having been there about a dozen times) .
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby rachelbairdhall » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:18 pm

SAVAGEALICE wrote:Have you done a lot of ski touring?


Not much at all. I've rented gear from Braemar mountain sports on occasion when a friend of mine whom is very experienced has talked me into going. I love skiing but the invention of the chair lift is something I am grateful for :lol:
rachelbairdhall
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:25 pm

ha ha! ...know what you mean!! :lol: :lol:
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:35 pm

Beautiful photos of early morning on Loch Callater - great first solo walk. :clap:
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby Sgurr » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:06 pm

Snap!!! These were my first solo walk very many years ago. Had driven son and girlfriend to do Dreish and Mayart but understood I would just be gooseberry if I joined them, so did these two from the other endMust have looked puposeful, as a lost couple from your end approached me and asked for help. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Showed them where I thought we were on the map, and never heard of MRT being called out. I sat down for.lunch until they had gone a.d got lost without me.
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby Silverhill » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:25 pm

Great first report and well done on your first solo trip. :D I too love the picture of Loch Callatar, what a stunning place!
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:38 am

What a superb picture of the Loch - it must have been amazing to be there. Like you, I like to start around daybreak, for exactly the reason that you get views that you just don't get at any other time of day.
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Re: My first solo walk and three more in the bag

Postby chickadee » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:33 am

Well done! I know well the apprehension of the first solo walk so I take my hat off to you for this one (well, if I had a hat!). Good neck of the woods too, I am very fond of that landscape.
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