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Sunday, 3 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 11: Braemar to Shielin of Mark (2)

Beyond the castle, the road runs close to the Dee, which is here tranquil and graceful. After a little way, I found a gate which opened on to a track running through the woods which appeared to follow the road, and it seemed prudent to follow this rather than risk life and limb on the road. I'm glad I did, because otherwise I should not have seen the defensive positions dug by the local Home Guard to defend Braemar against invading Germans coming up the Dee. However, before long I came upon a waymarker describing this as a "circular route", which kinda made me feel that maybe I ought to return to the road while I still could. One climb over a rickety fence later I was back on the road, and as I sat enjoying my next glug stop I encountered my first "walking Challenger" of the crossing. Jim Davidson was heading the same way as me, and so we walked in company for pretty much the rest of the day.

We crossed the Dee twice - using Bridge of Dee and Invercauld Bridge - and took the track for Garbh Allt Shiel, which is one of the estate's preferred routes for Challengers to follow. The tracks on the Balmoral estate are well made and the going is easy. It is also incredibly beautiful, and it is easy to see why Queen Victoria fell in love with this estate.

We paused briefly at the bridge over the Glenbeg Burn to replenish our water supplies, and Jim kindly gave me some of his suncream for my arms and my neck. And then we continued through the woods.

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