Marhofn 230.13 - May 2011

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Baglogs:

Michael Curtis (+19=994)

2010 consisted of what has become the normal eclectic mix of experiences that make up a hillwalking year. These ranged from Pen y Fan in May, with seemingly half the population of south Wales for company, including a group from the army who were on an officer training course, to the Hebrides in June and Glenelg in August. The last holiday of the year to Braemar in September did not disappoint.

The central Cairngorms were a regular destination for me when I lived in Aberdeen, but since my move back south in 1999 my visits have mainly involved weekend trips to Braemar each November to attend my old walking club's annual dinner. After more than a decade away, I was looking forward to getting re-acquainted with the area. Most visits to Braemar had included a walk up Chapel Brae to the duck pond en route to Morrone, so it seemed fitting to rent a cottage there. And very snug it was too.

Highlights were Ben Macdui at the start of the week, which was in benign mood, whereas Beinn Mheadoin and Beinn Bhrotain later in the week gave a strong hint that winter was just around the corner. The wind was strong and the occasional squall swept in. The summit tor on Beinn Mheadoin proved a great place to shelter when one of these squalls turned to snow. However, there were long spells of clear weather so there were plenty of views to be enjoyed. There seemed to be nobody else walking that day, which heightened the pleasure of being in such a remote spot. It was the first time for several years I had a bike with me in Scotland. The long way home was a doddle, freewheeling much of the way back.

Another fine day was spent on Lochnagar, with another couple of hours enjoyably spent on Craigendarroch. Despite driving past this hill numerous times whilst travelling between Aberdeen and Braemar, I had never been up it. Although it is dwarfed by its neighbours, the top offers a fine panorama, including a comfortable bench from which to view it.

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