Day 12: Potarch Hotel to Hill of Roughbank Wildcamp
Distance: 17km, total of 275km
Time on trail: 5 1/2 hrs
Planned route: map
We had a nice night at the Potarch Hotel. Despite the power being out the restaurant was hopping with people and the booze was flowing well. Since the kitchen was without power, the staff was cooking out back on a BBQ so we had a choice of steak, chicken, salmon, lamb chop or sausages. We both opted for the steak with a glass of wine. It went down well and was finished off with creme brûlée and chocolate mousse! Super yummy
Our hope for a morning shower were dashed with the power still off this morning. We had a breakfast of cereal and cheese. Since there was no hot water we retired to our room and brewed up some Starbucks coffee on the camping stove
The winds yesterday were a record for Scotland with gust recorded at 114 mph. Unfortunately two people were killed when their cars were hit by falling tree – see here for the full story.
We left the hotel and found two huge stones with rings for lifting them. Lynn had read a book last night which told the legend of Donald Dinnie who was a local Scots strongman. Legend states that Donald’s father carried both stones 100 yards across the bridge. I tried lifting one with both hands and couldn’t even budge it! I’ve included a rather amusing picture of Donald with his extraordinary(!) sporran below.
After leaving the hotel we lucked out and joined a new footpath which paralleled the road from Potarch out to the woods of Shooting Green. The walking was lovely meandering over the hills while paralleling the road. The high winds if yesterday were obvious with lots (I counted over 20) of trees downed by the winds.
Sadly our new trail came to an end and we picked up the short road walk into Waulkmill for a pint and lunch at the Feughside Inn. Fortunately they had power and lunch was being served .
After a leisurely 2 hr lunch we trotted off down the road to Stratchen where we crossed the river before following minor roads to enter the Fetteresso Forrest by Burns of Curren. The climb up towards the forrest gave rewarding views across the valley towards Banchory. We then followed a combination of minor trails and tracks to reach our planned camp alongside a stream leading into Burn of Sheeoch. The camp here is in a lovely flat spot in a depression with a large clearing of trees. Pretty rare find in the woods we’ve been through. We soon found Stuart who’d been pitched here since 2pm and then Graham and Marion appeared each group with their own interesting stories on how they braved the wind storms.
It’s Mac and Cheese for dinner and Apple Chrisp for desert. Given this is our last night we’ll likely finish off the scotch too
The weather today was much better with lots of sun and blue skies. The winds are still fairly strong around 35 mph but a major relief from yesterday.
Tomorrow we have ~18km to reach Stonehaven with a nasty 8km road walk at the end. Still one more day and we’ll be done
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