Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Training Days

2nd April 14

With the start of the TGO Challenge only 5 weeks away I thought some more days on the hills were definitely overdue, having decided to get out late the night before it was a hurried pack of the sack first thing and a drive over to Glen Tannar.  I didn’t have any particular route plan just go for a decent yomp, exercise the legs and refresh the soul.

An 11am start from the Visitors Centre carpark is exactly the ideal but at least the recent clock change meant that I’d have a reasonable amount of day light.  I headed off up the Firmounth Drove Road, part of my TGO route plan, to check out another potential route east over into the Forest of Birse and also spy out potential camping spots along the route (just in case I wanted an itinerary change on the day).

After a couple km I struck off up through the forestry around the north ‘Bawdy Meg’ and then headed off through knee deep heather for around 1km up to Point 466 (NO 506929), a bit of a waste of time really, although the Fungle Road was only a little over 0.5km SE it was invisible in the thick mist.  I retraced my steps happy that this little ‘short cut’, despite the knee deep heather, was fairly easy.

After a 150m descent I rejoined the Firmounth for a short while before turning off up the Water of Allachy, I did notice some reasonable camping spots around the ford NO 482920 which may come in handy and a further 5 – 10 mins down the track I noticed a better site alongside the river by a ruin (unmarked on maps) NO 481912.

The upper section of Glen Tannar is markedly different from the commercial forestry of the lower glen and is now a Nature Reserve, mature Caledonian Pine dominates, interspersed with Juniper making for pleasant walking.

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It was a bit of a roller coaster walk over to the Water of Tannar even encountering a little snow on the track near Little Cockcairn (625m).

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It was 6:30 by the time I got to my camp site near the Shiel of Glen Tannar, a really pleasant spot with literally acres of nice grass to pitch the Trailstar on.  This evening the weather wasn’t playing ball, the cloud had dropped, a fine rain had set in and a blustery wind seemed to change direction every 10 mins.

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Dinner over by 8:00 and it was an early bed plugged into the iPod.

3rd April 14

I woke naturally at around 7:30 to a typical Scottish spring morning, 4C with a cloud base around 350m and light rain.  The wind had yet again changed direction, straight into the Trailstar’s entrance, so after suffering a breezy first cuppa in bed I was forced to leap out and do a quick switch around before enjoying a leisurely breakfast.

9:00 and on the trail heading west to the end of the LRT and a short section of X-country to a good track N up to Am Mullach and onward to pick up the Mount Keen ‘Right of Way’.  I headed along the footpath to the bealach overlooking Glen Tannar, the ‘crucifix’ is the remains on an old signpost and a useful waymarker.

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Rather than descend into Glen Tannar I decided on a bit of bog trotting vaguely NE to pick up the drove road to Greystone.  Only a short distance from the path, following the old fence line, I came upon the remains of a shieling which seems a bit strange since there’s no good water evident in the vicinity.

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There’s lot’s of shielings and ‘field systems’ slightly lower down the slopes but this one seems a bit of an oddity.

I took nearly an hour of knee deep heather to travel the 3km to again be back on a good LRT.  It was past lunch time but the light rain put me off taking a break, it was a quick stop to dig out some trail mix, jerky and a cereal bar and then lunch on the hoof downhill to Greystone.

Once down to the ‘South Deesside’ road it was a 1km stroll down the tarmac and then off up through forestry and farm land back toward Glen Tannar.  The route proved easy enough to follow until S of Newton Farm where the path over to Home Farm enters forestry (NO 462968), here the path seemed to disappear.

There was a forestry break but this seemed to be heading off E rather than SE, back track?

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The forestry break won the day and after 15 mins of muddy going I was back on a solid track heading directly back towards the visitor’s centre, well sometimes you can be lucky

Once home I mapped the route I’d taken; Day 1 had been 26km with 1050m ascent and Day 2 had been 21km with 560m ascent; not a bad little outing but I definitely need to get out on a few more occasions to get hill fit again before the TGO.

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2014 by in TGO Challenge 2014, Trip Reports and tagged , .
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