Thursday 25 July 2013

"The total ascent is 3,681 feet. Allow 11 hours to complete this 25.8 mile route."

That's from Munro Magic.

So, ascent wise, it's just yer basic Munro-related day oot. It's not a short day though.

There were two things that particularly stuck in my mind.

The first was that even before we'd reached Geldie Lodge, I was cultivating a pretty unhelpful blister on the ball of my left foot. I had my new "summer hill gutties" on, and although they weren't properly broken in, they fitted fine, and even by the end of the walk I had no discomfort around heels, or toes, or any of the usual suspect frictional areas. The soles of both feet were in some considerable disarray though, and I've never had that before.

It was disappointing, because I was hugely enjoying the breeze that you get through non-waterproof mesh training shoes. I have now purchased replacement insoles - on closer inspection the ones that were supplied were very nearly capable of having peas spit through them - so I'm hoping that'll have done the trick. (For the avoidance of doubt, although the six hours or so beyond the Lodge were spent on soft heathery, grassy, mossy conditions, the trek back to Linn of Dee on the landrover track was, officially bastard sore on the feet.)

The second - and more "real life" concerning - thing, was the shortage of water. What we did, as I suspect your average hillwalker does, was to take the usual couple of litres with us (it was summer, it was hot, but it was not forecast to have been anywhere near as hot as the few days previously) and proceed on the basis that if we happened to run short, we were pretty close to the river for the bulk of the walk. Plus, the map showed plenty of burns running off the sides of the hills.

That was misguided on a couple of accounts. You do walk beside the Geldie Burn, but then you leave it for about six hours while you're actually climbing the hills. Further...all the hillside burns on the map had disappeared. Hmmm.

I'm not sure that I could claim that between me and Andy we were ever entirely bereft of water for more than about half an hour, but after I'd shared my dwindling supplies with the dugs just after the summit of the first hill, secure in the knowledge that there'd be ample supplies at the bealach on the way down, and on thereafter discovering that there were absolutely no such supplies to be had; and that we needed to get up, over and a long way back down the second Munro before there was any prospect of replenishment...I was pondering the situation. Not panicking - pondering.

Against all that, the state of my feet was neither here nor there.

I'm sure it's the longest day out we've ever had distance-wise, but last year's jaunt to Ben Avon ran it close, and there was significantly mair up & down involved in that yin. And it didn't flay the soles of my feet. There's maybe a lesson there. Look out last year's shoes, probably. Anyhoo.

Step by (painful) step route description from Munro Magic:

"Head WSW on the road to White Bridge":

"Cross river and continue on road/track SW to junction...turn W and follow road alongside Geldie Burn":

(Note - the WBD has been here before. See here. Indeed, I'm fairly confident she was going to recreate her "I'm no' tired; throw me a stick" pose from 2009...

...but she kind of got photobombed by a Weimaraner):

Intermission over - back to following the burn!

 That photie above was taken about 30 minutes after the previous one. The good news is that the first of the day's hills is hoving into view. We'd been walking for about two hours.

My feet are getting sore just looking at these - I'll maybe try and write another chapter tomorrow to get us to Geldie Lodge.



  1. Forgive me for skirting around the minor issues of rehydration, damaged feet and long routes in new carpet-slippers, but I feel that we need to get to the crux of the matter... do your slippers do the "Merrell Squeak"?

    I'm keen on getting some less-Jessielike Merrells to replace the test&review Chameleons that I destroyed, but I want to be sure that the innards don't sound like they're made of live mouse.

    Oh, and I do hope that you heal soon, Scott. I'm not totally unsympathetic to your plight - I've just spent a good part of our holiday patching-up Ella's feet daily after her exploits in unsuitable footwear.

  2. Well, I hadn't noticed any semblance of squeak-related drawbacks last time, but I took especially careful note today when I had them on for a wee 5 hour jaunt to sunny Rothiemurchus.

    I'm happy to report that there were absolutely no aural drawbacks whatsoever. Indeed, I'd be inclined to suggest that the footwear was as "as quiet as a mouse", but that's probably not the news you're wanting, in the circumstances.