I was first to arrive at the (fairly new)
bus station at Union Square Aberdeen early on the morning of
Saturday 27th March 2010. Willie Robb appeared next followed
shortly after by Gordon Stalker. It was a cracking morning and I
think spirits were high as our bus (the 201 for Royal Deeside)
slid quietly out into the sunlit streets of Aberdeen at 07.45
By Aboyne (at a little after 9 am) our
number had risen to eight. Two (Kees and Hazel) alighted at
Crathie Kirk and followed a low-level route back to Ballater
whilst the remainder carried on until just before the old
Invercauld Bridge setting off on our adventure (from Keiloch
Sawmill) at a little after 10am.
We set off on the old road to Alltdourie
which until the sixties was still a public road! and after
passing the small pond we cut off up onto the old Drove Road
which heads over The Bealach Dearg to Tomintoul. It was a fine
morning and very pleasant in the forest where we saw the odd red
squirrel and one woodpecker.
On the old Drove Road
Soon we were clear of the forest and
enjoying some cracking views of Lochnagar
And at the bothy we stopped for a cuppa and
could even sunbathe a while in the welcoming sun
Tea at The Bothy
The track over The Bealach Dearg (Red Pass)
We elected to miss out the twin topped Carn
Liath and instead made directly for Culardoch where we
eventually met up with Jim Bryce who had been overnighting at
Braemar Youth Hostel. Jim left us (after a while) for the
Corbett behind the bothy and the remainder pushed on stopping
briefly at a “closh??” experiment high up on the shoulder of
Strange goings-on on Culardoch
On The Red Pass (Ben Avon behind)
Loch Bulig from Culardoch
One could elect to ascend on snow or
heather to the top of Culardoch (the big back high place) and in
no time at all all six of us were standing on a rather blowy
Culardoch summitt 27/03/10
We descended a ways on its Northeast flank
where we enjoyed another welcome break – trying to name check
all of the hills we could see. We didn’t do too bad.
Then it was onwards down the steep
“itherside” of Culardoch where there were still one or two
rather steep snowfields. We could see a lone walker high up on
the moor making for Glen Gairn in the general direction of
Corndavon Bothy and not too far off a man-made structure of
stones which may have been a howff or a shelter. A brief snow
shower caught us as we made our way into upper Glen Fearder.
Lochnagar from Culardoch
The President on descent on the "itherside"
Culardoch from the East
On the track for Auchtavan
From here we picked up the single track
footpath shown on the map and made for the old farm town of
Auchtavan. Some 12 farms existed on this site at one time – each
paying a land rent of 2 goats per year – Just what did the Laird
do with all those Goats… perhaps he was fond of Kebabs.
There is also still an example of a rare
“hanging lum” or “hinging lum” which I have seen on an earlier
visit. So rare and precious is it now that the house is
padlocked fast. Viewings are granted however one must approach
the Braemar Community Council. The whole site has received
Lottery Funding and there is a small Interpretive Centre with
Making good time we carried on stopping
briefly by a wonderful seat with a view to Lochnagar (erected to
commemorate the Millennium) and at around 16.10 we made the old
white-washed Inn in at Inver.
At the Inver
With the bus due in a little under an hour
it was fine to have a seat and a cup of tea, or coffee, or a
beer in pleasant surroundings. Future Day Meets were discussed
and all agreed this “historic meet” had been something of a
success. One guest made up our party and we all hope she will
And so it was that we left the pleasant
surrounds of The Inver Hotel with its good fire and wood smoke
for a rather comfy and painless ride back into Aberdeen.
On the bus
The next similar style meet (by Service
Bus) takes place on Sunday 25th of July. Why not come along and
give it a go?
All photos in this report are courtesy of
Peter Aikman's camera as my camera failed to work.