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Sunday, 3 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 11: Braemar to Shielin of Mark (9)

The ascent of the glen in the evening light was really very beautiful, and most enjoyable. I took it very easily, not wishing to risk another breathing problem, and everything was fine. I watched the altimeter steadily counting off the metres as I climbed, and I was sure that I was going to make it to the bothy tonight.

At NO 328832 the stream divides, and it is necessary to make a choice how you are going to navigate to the bothy. My instinctive preference is to handrail the streams south, and then east north east across the face of Round Hill of Mark. However, at the Spittal we had met a lady who says she regularly takes groups up there on navigation exercises, and she said you're better travelling on a bearing over the top of the hill. Jim, certainly, had opted for this alternative - and had taken a bearing when he was down at the Spittal, although I remain unsure how this was supposed to have helped him. When I reached the stream junction i decided that I too would go over the top - although I wasn't convinced of the merits of the bearing. It was obviously a peat hill, and travelling on a bearing through peat hags is notoriously difficult. But it was a beautifully clear evening, the land forms all around were clearly discernible, and I decided that there should be no difficulty simply reading the hill and pointing myself in the right direction without the need to use a compass. And so I headed up from the stream junction and across the open hillside ...

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