Day 8: Ruigh-aiteachain Bothy to Mar Lodge
Distance: 30km (400m), total of 187km
Time on the trail: 9hrs
Planned route: map
I am writing this post while sitting in an ancient leather armchair, stuffed deer at my side (why not?), in the main entrance of the amazing Mar Lodge. But wait you all ask, aren’t you supposed to be camping tonight? Well dear readers, hold in to your mouse as we step back in time to last night….
We had a great time at the bothy night with quite a good social group. Lots of very amusing stories from the challenge. After pitching our tent we headed into the bothy to enjoy the company and warmth of the wood burning stove. From 6 until 9pm each passing hour brought more folks down from the hills into the bothy. I think the final tally was around 15 with the lawn outside the bothy looking like a multi colored patch work of color.
We turned in around 8:30pm and slept through until 7. The night had brought lots of rain and colder temperatures and we woke to freezing sleet on the tent. The rains continued and it was looking grin for our trek up the glen.
While I was packing up the tent, Lynn was playing the role of ‘first aid trail
angel’ in the bothy. After taping one knee and a foot we set off up the glen. We had taken this path in ’09 but it felt very different this time. Since ’09 a new double track path had been added making the trek up the glen easier than our last visit.
The weather had changed by now and it seemed we had any two of rain, sun or wind at the same time. Sun and a strong wind finally won out to make our trek up the glen very enjoyable.
The trek across the top of the watershed was wet but an easy walk compared to our earlier days. We soon made our planned lunchspot of an abandoned building just before whitebridge. We’d sheltered in it in ’09 and did the same again to have a nice hot pasta lunch.
Our original plan was to camp at Whitebridge but we were on fire today so we kicked it in into gear and pushed on the additional 10km to Mar Lodge. I’d originally tried to book into Mar Lodge and was told it was full. When we got there they’d decided to open up the luxury apartments in the main building so we were soon showed into our ~800 sq ft bedroom! The shower over the ancient claw-foot tub was outstanding and soon had us somewhat presentable.
The staff put on a great dinner for the 33 TGO folks staying here tonight which was soon consumed given the sound appetite everyone had.
Time for bed – tomorrow will be an easy 8km walk into Braemar for our visit to the Hungry Highlander (fish n chips), Fife Arms, and an evening with the Bingo Wings at the TGO gathering . I’ll post pics of Mars Lodge too.
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