Map: British Mountain Map – ‘Cairngorms and Lochnagar'
Attendees: Me, Big Dog, Small Dog
An early Sunday start and an uneventful drive up from Edinburgh saw me parking near to Braemar police station at 0815 hours. The dogs and I were underway 10 minutes later. The village was very quiet and a strong cold wind swirled in from the south.
My plan was simple enough – follow the WH route to the summit. The forecast wasn’t promising so I figured I’d just go with how I felt on the return – either taking in the extended WH route near to Clunie Water or coming back as I went up.
As it transpired I didn’t have to wait till then. Shortly after passing the duck pond and entering the birch woods, I turned right -instead of left- at the junction just before you come to Morrone’s northern nose. I simply wasn’t paying attention and before I realised it I was following a fine path southwest around the mountain’s lower slopes towards Allachlair and Glen Ey.
30 minutes later, I made a quick check of the map and saw my error. A quick U-turn and back the same way. In the process of doing so, three fine stags ambled out in front of us.
And so it was the dogs and I started to climb Morrone almost 1 hour after we should have done. The woodland was pretty enough of course but by then I was in a foul mood. The wind had become very raw and my ‘detour’ had put paid to all plans other than an out and back walk.
Still, silver linings and all that – my frame of mind meant that I powered up the well-worn track and was sheltering in the lee of the summit’s radio hut 50 minutes later. The views west and east were decent enough.
On the way down I passed the only other walkers I saw all morning – 2 Japanese tourists. They looked thoroughly miserable.
Back at the car and underway again –for home- at midday. Several Braeemar Mountain Rescue vehicles were arriving at the police station as I left. Cheery faces suggested it was an exercise only.
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