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Sunday, 3 July 2011

The 2011 Challenge, day 11: Suie to Lumsden (1)

I woke up to another overcast morning, with wind and rain. Waterproofs were the order of the day once more. The track through the Blackwater Forest (pictured) was good going, to be sure; but I decided that as I had ground to make up, I couldn't afford to divert to the bridge at Blackwater Lodge. So it was straight to the ford, then on and up Dead Wife's Hillock.

The ford was another sandals-and-trousers-off plunge into icy cold water; and this time it was raining on me as well, so stopping to get dressed and put on dry socks on the other side was no fun at all.

I pressed on up Dead Wife's Hillock, where my route card said I would turn right and walk the ridge Rounumuck Hill - Cairnbrallan - Hill of Three Stones - Longrigging Hill then take the track over Blairlick Hill, ford the Kindy Burn and ascend The Buck.

The weather said otherwise! The wind was stong - VERY strong. It lifted my Havelock clean off my head, and I was fortunate to keep a hold of it (the havelock, that is - not my head!) So I changed into a woolen hat and used my coat hood, much as I hate to do so. I did not think this strength of wind to be particularly conducive to walking an exposed ridge, so I looked at my map and had a wee rethink. Which involved going the obvious way down to Cabrach, by road past Elrick, and by the path over Clayhooter Hill and down into Lumsden. I texted Challenge Control to enquire if they knew whether the PH in Lumsden had overnight accommodation. They didn't know. No matter: I felt sure I'd be able to find a wild camping spot if not. (My planned wild camp for the night had been in Glenlaff ... but to get there, I'd have to get over The Buck!)

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