Wednesday, 14th. July, 1976:
A wet night in a badly pitched, leaking tent at the Tarf Hotel made for a slow start to day three of a trekking trip to the Cairngorms with a group of mates from my school - but the prospect of climbing the big Munros to the north put a spring in our stride as we headed up Glen Tarf in light drizzle. I was sharing a tent with Ian Harris and John Hickey and, having made a mess of pitching the tent on the previous afternoon and then elected to stay behind and fester today, John was under strict instructions to do the job again before we got back and spare us another miserable night. Such thoughts, however, were soon left behind as we crossed the river and battled upwards in rising winds and more rain towards the rounded top of Carn Ealar. The weather cleared a little on the top and my diary records that we caught some views of the bigger Cairngorm peaks to the north and Beinn a'Ghlo to the south as we headed south east to a peaty bealach and then north east up An Sgarsoch. My most vivid memories of the day, however, were of wildlife. A pair of golden eagles took to the air from broken ground just below us to the south on the final, rounded ridge of An Sgarsoch - they were enormous - and we counted over 120 deer crossing the south ridge of the same hill from east to west at a run as we descended back to Glen Tilt. As an inexperienced sixteen year old, this didn't seem exceptional to me at all but I have never seen either eagles so close or so many deer in one, fast moving herd in the forty years since that day! At any rate, all I can remember about the rest of the day is winning the race that developed back to the bothy to find that John hadn't re-pitched the tent but had made us all a big pot of very welcome tea. We drank big mugs of it sitting on the metal frame of a wire sprung bedstead that graced the inside of the hotel at this time.
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