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Sunday, 3 July 2011

The 2011 Challenge, day 9: Cairngorm Lodge to Tomintoul (4)

Having decided to follow my FWA, I crossed the Nethy by the bridge at Forest lodge and sat a while on the river bank, enjoying a brief break in the rain. This photo was taken looking upstream (South).

Moving on, I took the track through the woods and crossed the Crom Allt then climbed up to the Faesheallach Burn (both of which were easily forded) and took the path across the open moor past Loch an Spioraid. This is a pleasant enough piece of country and the path easy enough to follow; until you cross the nameless tributary of the Dorback Burn above Lurg. The path from this ford to the Dorback Burn appears on the map to be easy enough to find; but it is not. What appears to be the track, following an old stone wall, soon peters out leaving you in the midst of a soggy mess of peat and heather.

I looked around and considered my options. The ground fell away gently towards the Dorback Burn, and I could find that easily enough. But would I find a viable fording place? And would I be able to find a route up to the road on the other side? If I didn't hit the path to Atinlea, the woods might be a problem. OK, so they are deciduous rather than conifers, which ought to mean that it would be possible to find a way through. But they might be protected by serious deer fences, or even uncrossable barbed wire. I could, however, see the unmistakable form of the woods to the East South East, on my side of the Dorback Burn, and the Land Rover track from Lower Drum. There is a ford there, and a track up to the road, so this is where I headed.

I therefore made a beeline across the best part of a kilometre of open peat moor, trying my best to avoid the soggier bits; but as my feet were already pretty sodden, it didn't really matter all that much if they got a little wetter.

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