Whiteburn's Wanderings

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

A bit of Mar Forest

The weekend weather looked pretty good so a trip was on the cards & thought I’d take a yomp into some of the less frequented parts of the Cairngorms & pay a visit to the Tarf Hotel.

Mar Map

Day 1 – 9km

After dropping the motor at Inverey quite late in the day, ~3:30, I took a wander up Glen Ey, an easy couple of hours stroll.


I pitched up by the ruins of Altanour Lodge not a bad spot; it can be a popular place in summer probably down to the easy bike track, but today I had the glen to myself, apart from the deer & the grouse.


Day 2 – 23km

A chilly morning, a light frost but overcast, time for breakfast in bed & to try out the ‘new’ sip lid for my Evernew cup (EBY-265); the lid from a Nido milk tin (7g).  It works a treat, no spillages & with some thin insulation around the cup it helped keep the coffee hot for a long while.


I was on the road shortly after 8am heading off up the path crossing a very useful but unmarked footbridge (~NO 078812) across the Alltan Odhar.


The path up the west bank of the Allt Beinn lutharn was soon lost amongst the snow cover, heather & peat hags so it was a bit of a slog up to Loch nan Eun, the loch was frozen over but prodding with the trekking pole it only looked about 2cm thick.


More pathless cross-country plodding was needed to get over the bealach & make the descent into Gleann Mor


Again the marked path around to Fealar Lodge was ‘lost’ amongst the snow & heather & it didn’t really become easily followed until below 700m.  A lunch stop out of the wind beside the Allt a’Ghlinne Bhig was disturbed by a yellow paraffin budgie flying low down the glen.


It didn’t take long to reach Fealar Lodge, supposedly to most remote shooting lodge in Scotland, it certainly must be a lonely place in the depths of winter & judging by the number large oil tanks hidden amongst the buildings the fuel truck does put in an appearance very often.


I pleasant path led west to a nice overlook into Glen Tilt.


Once down into the glen I contemplated heading downstream, crossing Bedford Bridge & then up the LRT to the south bank of the Tarf Water & following up to the Tarf Hotel (Feith Uaine Bothy) but opted for an ascent of the path by the Falls of Tarf; if I couldn’t access the bothy across the river I would just pitch up on one of any number of good sites on the north bank.

I’ve never been able to accurately follow this path up by the falls, today wasn’t to be an exception, it came down to the usual zigzagging along the multitude of deer trails for a km or so until the path became more defined. Once down to the Tarf the route along the north shore was an easy stroll along the ATV track with only the occasional diversion at stream inlets.


I didn’t fancy the usual ford across the Tarf to the bothy due to the high water but soon located a better crossing a couple of hundred metres upstream managing to get across with only one damp sock.


Not unusually I was the only person in residence, the last names in the book were some 3 months previous, there was sufficient unburnt coal in the fireplace to provide a cosy fire for a couple of hours but it probably did little for the dropping temperature in the bothy.


Day 3 – 31km

A chilly night probably -5C & the river where I’d yesterday was partially iced over & the stepping stones were crusted in ice, not a pleasant proposition so I headed off upstream in search of a better option.


Following the southern bank westward wasn’t straight forward with large snow banks often blanketing the riverside.


I finally found a practical crossing a couple of km upstream, ~ NN 903803.  My original plan had been to head across An Sgarsoch & over to the ford at Geldie Lodge but being further west than planned & uncertainty over the practicality of the that ford made me change route.

I headed north across the eastern flank of Sron Gharbh before cutting up to the summit of Carn an Fhidhleir.   The descent north provided great views towards the Braeriach/ Cairntoul massif.


I took a bit of a circuitous route on the descent choosing the snow filled drainage lines rather than heather bashing & finally ended up at the shielings at the bend on the Feishie (~NN 914873), even up here the Feishie was still flowing strong.


There’s a path shown on the 1:25k (& the older 1:50k) map heading off downstream with connections to the Drove road but I couldn’t see anything on the ground.  I ended up taking a short but very squelchy 1km route across the watershed, with much weaving around boggy pools, to reach the Drove road & then had pleasant hour’s stroll along the path to meet the LRT at Geldie ford.

No matter how many times I’ve walked the 12km to Linn of Dee it doesn’t seem to get any shorter, it seems to go on & on.


& on & on.


At the Linn of Dee the only thing left was 3km down the dreaded blacktop back to the car, not a very pleasant end to the weekend; I did very politely turn down a lift though, I was only 200m from the car!


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This entry was posted on March 16, 2015 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .

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