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Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Callater

Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Callater


Postby dogplodder » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:27 pm

Route description: Creag nan Gabhar circuit

Corbetts included on this walk: Creag nan Gabhar

Date walked: 15/05/2015

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It was a toss up between Morrone, Morven and Creag nan Gabhar and since Moira was driving down specially I let her decide. She chose Creag nan Gabhar as the one that looked the most interesting and with no disrespect to the others I think she was right.

We parked at the car park opposite Auchallater Farm, paid for our ticket (good thing we had right amount as machine doesn't do change) and were on our way along Glen Callater on Jock's Road, an old friend from Dundee days when many a time I walked the Glen Doll end with a varying assortment of folk. I could only recollect walking the north end twice before - once as a dog walk en route south and once to climb Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.

Start of walk at north end of Jock's Road
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Black grouse and capercaillie don't see wire fencing when flying in low light and there have been many fatalities, threatening an already dwindling population. To address this problem fences are deliberately made more visible and it was good to see an example of visible slats on deer fencing in Glen Callater.

Callater Burn and visible fencing
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Cascading burn and Creag nan Gabhar ahead
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Zoomed to our hill
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After 1.6k on the vehicle track we took a sharp right turn on to a rougher track which zigzags up Sron Dubh, the start of the north ridge of Creag nan Gabhar.

Start of zigzag track - that stone on that rock marks the spot!
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At the point the track starts descending there's an obvious shortcut path through the heather which rejoins the track higher up.

Braemar below and Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon beyond
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Heading south up Sron nan Gabhar
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Looking north back down the ridge
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Zoomed to tor-studded Ben Avon
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Then we had our first sighting of Loch Callater where we'd end up later.

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Loch Callater
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Track leading up Creag nan Gabhar
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We followed a path to the right (faint in places) to the summit cairn
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Approaching the summit
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View from summit to the Cairnwell (zoomed)
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Carn an Tuirc and Cairnwell hills
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Cloud sitting on the Cairngorms
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From the summit we walked east about 400m then south east on a rough path through the heather.

Start of the descent, boggy shoulder ahead
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There was a short steep section and at the foot of that we were out of the full blast of the wind so sat down for food. While we ate we saw a herd of deer gathering below slightly to the east. There were a few stags but they were mostly full-bellied hinds ready to calve in early June when the weather is normally milder than its been this year. Wonder how many newborns will die in the bitter cold of this unusually late winter? When they got wind of us they moved off south west, nimbly negotiating the network of bog and peat hags ahead of us. I commented to Moira if we followed the line they took we'd find our easiest crossing.

Moira's zoomed shot of the deer
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After the deer came the first human we'd seen all day. A gent in walking breeches appeared at the top of the steep section who at a distance reminded me of Cameron McNeish, whom I've met a couple of times. He looked like he knew what he was doing so it would be interesting to see which way he tackled the bog and if he walked straight across it should be okay for us to do that too. I know I sound obsessed with this bog but with bog I like to have a line of attack worked out so I don't need to back track once I've started! So after the statutary quick chat when I asked where he was heading (have you noticed how on the hill you ask folk questions you wouldn't dream of asking if you bumped into them anywhere else?) he walked on down to the start of the black gloop and we watched to see what he'd do. He surveyed it for a while then headed west skirting the area where the deer had crossed (but to be fair he probably hadn't seen them cross). He did eventually turn back south and picked up the path we could see heading over the shoulder in the distance.

So then it was our turn. I wasn't convinced we'd have to take such a wide detour and headed straight down to look at the black morasse close up and poke it with my pole. Moira being more circumspect was heading west but we didn't go far before we made our way over about where the deer had crossed and then made a beeline for the path. We thought we'd see our man ahead but he'd totally disappeared which was slightly puzzling as he'd said he was going down to Loch Callater the same way that we were. About then I heard voices behind and saw a group of guys bounding down towards the bog and from then on expected to be overtaken at any moment - but we never saw them again and just hope they weren't swallowed up in the bog. It was turning into the day of the disappearing men!

We followed the path through the heather down towards the obvious vehicle track and turned left along it.

Track heading for Glen Callater
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This track would have taken us all the way down to Glen Callater but it would have meant a paddle across the river so instead we turned off to the right at NO170837 (as per WH directions) over a pathless grassy area which led to a path further down.

Heading for Loch Callater
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Lochcallater Lodge and bothy can be seen on green patch at end of loch
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The path led to a footbridge
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And then to Loch Callater
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Moira had never been to Loch Callater so before heading off down the glen we took a wee detour to investigate the lodge and bothy.

Loch Callater bothy
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As we came out of the bothy a man came out of the lodge and called over "Are you with TGO?". We'd not heard of TGO before so he told us about The Great Outdoor Challenge which was happening that week.

http://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/tgochallenge/event/

We got chatting and he asked us into the lodge to meet his mate and offered us a cup of tea with chocolate and ginger biscuits. After a good lunch we didn't feel the need of the tea and biscuits but we did go in for a blether beside the roaring fire. He told us for a laugh they'd put up a sign they'd found advertising a cafe and a group of folk had gathered round the door. A passing walker joined what he assumed to be the end of a queue for food and when they spoke to him said he'd have two pizzas to take away!

Bill Duncan with his cafe sign
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We would have been there a good half hour before starting our walk back to the car so were surprised to see the man we'd spoken to earlier coming along the track from the direction of the loch. He caught up when we stopped to put rain jackets on so we said we'd wondered where he'd got to. He said he'd had to do a detour to skirt the bog which had delayed him. But that didn't explain it as we'd seen him going round the bog and reaching the path again and he should have been away ahead of us, not coming from behind. Maybe he'd found a sheltered spot to have half an hour's kip - not that it was any of our business! There seems to be a rule that the fewer folk you meet on the hill the more intrigued you are by the ones you do come across - or are we just strange?

It had been a great day with fine views, an interesting circuit, warm hospitality and a little bit of mystery to add to the mix.
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:40 pm

Some lovely photos of old friends there (the hills). Sounds like a great walk and one I will remember when we next go stir crazy on this never ending painting job. Lovely shot if the cafe and the herd of deer :clap:
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby KatTai » Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:30 pm

I didn't notice this route in the Loch Callater area, will have to keep it in mind next time I'm there!
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:53 am

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Some lovely photos of old friends there (the hills). Sounds like a great walk and one I will remember when we next go stir crazy on this never ending painting job. Lovely shot if the cafe and the herd of deer :clap:


You deserve a long service award for all that painting. :wink:
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:59 am

KatTai wrote:I didn't notice this route in the Loch Callater area, will have to keep it in mind next time I'm there!


Can thoroughly recommend it - and be sure to look out for Bill at the cafe! :lol:
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:00 pm

Takes me back - I had a similar experience here a few years ago! :lol:

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=21832
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:17 pm

Graeme D wrote:Takes me back - I had a similar experience here a few years ago! :lol:

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=21832


Just read your report and I'm sure the other bloke we met hovering around the wood burning stove was called Stan - but you said "the late Stan" and this one was very much alive although he didn't threaten to wash his nether regions on this occasion. Think I'm feeling a little bit confused. :lol:
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby PeteR » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:00 pm

A great wee hill and Loch Callater has to be amongst the finest spots I've ever been to. I was there on Remembrance Sunday last year on a glorious day with hardly a cloud in the sky. The water on the loch was crystal clear and dead calm. Stunning....... 8)
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:18 pm

I had a few similar experiences with "disappearing" people. Usually they hide somewhere for a break and then pop up just behind you to say "hello again" :lol:

Still to do this Corbett. Last year we camped right below it but never climbed it, went for the Cairngorm "biggies".

We also climbed Carn an t-Sagairt Mor (and its neighbour) from Glen Callater - a lovely route.
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby ancancha » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:46 pm

Nice report and nice part of the world.
Certain plenty of deer around this year :!:
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:09 pm

PeteR wrote:A great wee hill and Loch Callater has to be amongst the finest spots I've ever been to. I was there on Remembrance Sunday last year on a glorious day with hardly a cloud in the sky. The water on the loch was crystal clear and dead calm. Stunning....... 8)


Agree, it's a lovely spot. :D
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby The Rodmiester » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:42 am

That's one long ridge, but you picked well, fantastic views. When I did it I went South to North and had Cairngorms in sight most of the day. A lovely area did you find the Queens Jubilee Monument? A fine circuit indeed :)
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:37 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Still to do this Corbett. Last year we camped right below it but never climbed it, went for the Cairngorm "biggies".



Surprised to find we've done one you've not! 8)
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby Beaner001 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:46 pm

Another lovely report :clap:
I will now copy that route for this Corbett as Loch Callater looks a stunning wee spot :D
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Re: Day of disappearing men and unexpected cafe at Loch Call

Postby Caberfeidh » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:01 am

I remember Bill, and his late friend Stan; they were a good laugh and very sociable. They even tried to rescue me one day when I was wailing in distress... err, I mean, calling manfully for witnesses to my brave battle with the monster from the deep as I was being towed around the loch on a small rubber dingy by an enormous pike...
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