Day 10: Braemar to Ballater
Distance: 27km (400m), total of 221km
Time in trail: 7 hrs
Planned route: map
Today went by quickly but was not one of our favorites. We had a great breakfast at our BnB ‘Callater Lodge’. The porridge came with lots of honey which was lovely. I had a nice cooked breakfast and Lynn opted for the continental – it was great to have a choice. We’d stayed here in 2009 and Andy and Liz have continued to do a wonderful job.
We left Braemar heading out over the Lions Face path – so called as it passes by a rock face that resembles a lion. I can’t see it but Lynn assures me its there! We soon hit the main road for a short 2 miles yomp before veering off at Invercauld Bridge into the Balmoral estate. After passing Connaucht cottage we saw a herd of deer grazing in the meadow. I guessed they knew it wasn’t hunting season so they watched us while we snapped lots of pictures. Soon after we met up with Mary, a fellow TGO challenger. We then followed packed dirt roads through to Easter Balmoral. We had hoped to pass by Balmoral itself but the gate was locked with a nastygram informing people they need to pay to get in. Being the law abiding types we followed the trail around to Easter Balmoral. After stopping for a quick lunch we hit the B road for the long 10 miles or so into Ballater. It we there that we ran into Kim who’d hopped the gate into Balmoral and enjoyed tea and cakes at the cafe
For me, the next three hours was long, boring and a real foot pounding 10 miles. Lynn however was having a great chin wag with Mary and seemed
none the worse for ware. The weather was good though with lots of sun and heavy winds. Although we were on roads the scenery was nice with lots of lambs, cows and scenic vistas.
After exiting the woods near Ballater we had to walk another mile before crossing the bridge. We found a well situated pub just over the bridge with four real ales on tap so it was pints all around. Lynn, Mary and I chatted in then pub for an hour before being joined by Graham and Marion who we’d met back on day 3 while walking the Puggle Line. We had another round of beers before heading out to pitch our tent.
We now have three days to go and some 71 km before reaching the eastern seaboard. Tonight we are camped at the Ballater campsite and have winds in excess of 50 mph coming our way. It’ll be a great test of our little Scarp-II . Oh and we are pitched close to the ladies lavs to Lynn is quite chuffed.