Main group of 5. The Fungle – Tarfside to Aboyne with a short detour to Tampie (723m)
Group of 2. Mount Battock (778m) and over the tops to the north end of the Fungle.
On a day of sunshine but biting winds 2 groups set off from Glen Esk on different but converging routes. The smaller group of Derek and Ian set off from Milden Lodge. They reached the summit of Mount Battock in temperatures, with windchill, which they estimated at -10 degrees. After leaving the summit they crossed over the tops between Mount Battock and Birse Castle where they joined the Fungle for the walk out.
Mount Battock (right) from the Fungle
The larger group, of Alistair, Colin, Gordon, John and Linda headed out from Tarfside on the Fungle and were making good time when the split of the Fungle/Firnmounth paths was reached. A decision was then taken, as time allowed, to head up to Tampie to hopefully get the all round views that this elevated position would afford. The views were extensive, if a little hazy, but again the wind chill had us scampering back down the track after a few minutes.
Looking southwest near the start of the walk
Hill of Cat (middle)from Tampie
Mount Battock (right) and Clachnaben (middle) from Tampie
An early lunch was taken when we were back on the Fungle track. The way forward from this point was aided by the recently upgraded path from the col down towards the main track towards Birse Castle. On the way we passed an upright stone with the initials JRK cut into it. On checking the Robert Smith book, Grampian Ways, it seems the stone has no known historical background and he puts its presence down as "... a rough memorial, no doubt, to some earlier walker in the hills."
Looking back up the track to the col
Waterfall west of the track
Towards Birse Castle
After bypassing the Castle (by the way-marked detour) we climbed out of the valley and stopped for lunch by the side of the very well maintained (but locked) bothy. Here we were joined by Judy who had driven the bus round to Aboyne and walked in to meet us.
Group photo at the Bothy
The walk out from here was hampered slightly, in a couple of places, by trees that had fallen across the track. Once past The Guard, and the Seat, a "Rest and be Thankful" built by Sir William Cunliffe Brooks, (thanks again to Robert Smiths book) it was a short walk out to the road and over the bridge to the Boat Inn for a well deserved drink.
Making our way through the woods
The carved stones at the Seat
We had expected Derek and Ian to be well behind us but they appeared just before we went into the pub, a fine effort from them.
A great day was had on this varied and interesting traverse both with the weather being so kind and with the company, and craik, of the other walkers.