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Sunday, 3 June 2012

The 2012 Challenge, Day 9: Right Up Yer Tilt (11)

And then, finally, at 6.30 ... it was time to cross the Geldie Burn. It was wide, and it was fast-flowing ... but it looked fordable. And so I prepared for my second "trousers-off" river crossing of the Challenge. Unlike last time, however, there was no rain coming down, the sun was shining, and the air was warm on my skin. Boots and socks round my neck ... sandals on ... trousers off and in the rucksack ... rucksack on but straps not fastened ... and then I took the plunge. The water was cold, and I would be in it for rather longer than last time as the Geldie Burn was quite a lot wider. I faced upstream and scuttled sideways through the waters which, at their deepest, came just above my knees. And then I was out the other side. Unlike last time, I was in no immedaite hurry to get dressed and warm again - the sunshine saw to that - so I decided to see if the little building at NO 003869 would provide a suitable changing room where I didn't have to sit on potentially wet grass and mud ... and perhaps a suitable place to spend the night without needing to pitch my tent. Alas, however, it was fenced off with warning signs saying that it is a dangerous structure. So I got dressed again in the open air, and headed on down to White Bridge where I knew there were some good turf pitches.

It didn't take long to cover the 2 kilometres to White Bridge. I was passed by a steady string of mountain bikers all from the same local club, the first of whom stopped and walked a while. He told me that had I walked my original planned route, I would have discovered that my wild camp at Loch nan Eun was far from peaceful. Apparently the locals call the old boathouse pitch "the noisiest campsite in the world" because the seagulls who live on the island don't like intruders, and will spend all night dive-bombing your tent. Or so he said, anyway.

The cycling club waited at White Bridge for stragglers to catch up, so when I arrived there was quite a crowd there ... a dozen or so. They soon departed, however, and I crossed the bridge and pitched on the north bank of the Dee. I heated up a pouch of Duchy Originals parsnip an dapple soup; but having eaten it, I really didn't feel like eating anything else. So I washed up, packed away my stove, and settled down for the night.

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