Monday, 14 November 2016
The 2016 Challenge, day 10: The Well-Trod Trail to Braemar (6)
At Braemar I said goodbye to my two companions as they wished to press on, whilst I went for a late lunch at Gordon's Tea Rooms (a burger which I was able to eat in a gluten-free bun with chips and salad). The Dunsires came into the tearooms while I was there, and came across to speak to me as I was planning to camp in their garden on the last night of the crossing. "We hear you've had a slip," they said. So I told them the whole story of my glissade, trying to play it down as far as I could. But Graham and Marion are thorough-going mountain folk who do not need to have explained to them the potential seriousness of an event like that, particularly when you are walking solo.
By the time I had finished lunch, the rain was much heavier, and I stepped out of Gordon's Tearoom into the phenomenon known as "bouncing rain". I made my way quickly to the Youth Hostel, where I picked up my resupply parcel. It was only when I opened it that I remembered that due to a moment of imbecility when purchasing my resupply supplies, I had been one razor, one toothbrush and one tube of toothpaste short of requirements, and that this was the parcel without. I had been supposed to bring the ones from the previous resupply parcel with me, but had forgotten to do so. Still, this was why I chose the Braemar parcel as the one that was short of supplies - as resupply in Braemar is not exactly difficult. So I stepped out into the bouncing rain once again, and went down to the co-op to buy what was needful.
After returning to the Youth Hostel I showered and shaved, put my laundry on and hung everything to dry. I just heated up a packet of game bird soup for supper, and then I took a long, hard look at the weather forecast and considered my options. The forecast was for two good days followed by deteriorating weather, and it dawned on me that, amazingly, although I had only done three Munros so far this crossing, I could still salvage a High Lever crossing (albeit an interrupted one). All I had to do was go over Creag Nan Gobhar, Carn an Tuirc, Cairn of Claise and Glas Maol tomorrow, then do an out-and-back to Creag Leacach and return to a high level pitch between Glas Maol and Little Glas Maol. The following day I would return over Cairn of Claise and take in Tolmount, Tom Buidhe, Mayar and Dreish before dropping down to Clova where I had a room booked in the Clova Hotel. That would make 11 Munros and 1 Corbett ... so I shouldn't even need to head up Ben Tirran the following day ... which was good, given the weather forecast. So that was a plan!
I texted Challenge Control to let them know where I would be over the next couple of days, then sorted out my supplies. AS ever I had provided far more food than I had actually eaten, so I set about jettisoning unnecessary food to lighten the load. Away went 3 pre-prepared meals, 3 sachets of Ambronite (sorry, guys!) and various food bars. Oh well! I hope whoever found them in the free food box at the Youth Hostel was grateful for them!