Having had broken night’s sleep we were awake when daylight began to creep in between 4and 5am and decided just to get up and get going. Packed up and ready to go by 5.45am we left the bothy only after signing the visitors book and leaving a comment on our stay, it actually seems to be quite a well-used bothy going by the amount of feedback left, most of whom must have experienced similar circumstances to ourselves, living in a mice infested bothy!!!!. We left the Glen Callater Bothy to a fine looking day, sun rising beautifully to the east over the surrounding hilltops. The path was one of the best we encountered during the walk probably because it a well-used estate track, it is an easy walk with no inclines, just on the level well at least for the first few miles until the it starts to descend gradually towards the end. The path runs along the glen besides the Callater Burn crossing it only once about the half-way point by way of considerable wooden bridge. As we pass this half-way point we begin to realise we are not far from civilisation, in the distance thick forestry, telegraph poles, phone mast etc. As the track begins to decline gently with the hills of Sron Dubh to the left, Creag na Dearcaige to our right and the river also now on our right hand side still swollen with the heavy rains it posed a great spectacle with large boulders sporadically embedded on the river bed with no obvious reason how they managed to get there creating a good picture. Still only about 7am there is heat in the sun ironically as we come to the end of the walk it looked like it is going to be the best day weather wise we were going to have. As we walked the last few hundred yards to the end of the track it is not really obvious you are quite at the end until you basically turn the final corner and you are greeted with a large wooden gate, which leads you down to the roadside car park at Auchallater. There is just no comparison in relation to the other end of Jocks Road in Glen Doll with its modern rangers centre, perhaps in future years the Cairngorm Heritage Trust, the land owners and the other powers will consider this and one day have something similar.. Reaching the car park just after 7am just opposite Auchallater Farm we share our relief at being finished the walk, but also have a sense of regret at the same time as regardless of the hardships it was enjoyable having the freedom, the tranquillity as well as meeting with other on the route. Our journey was not quite at an end however as we had to arranged being picked up, something we could not do earlier due to lack of phone signal. Managing to phone my wife Elma to collect us also instructing her to bring a cold bottle of Scotland’s national drink, Iron Bru all we had to do was just sit and wait, but just like the rest of the escapade we weren’t allowed to just sit and bask in the sun, no! no! those dammed wee Scottish beasties the midgies wouldn’t let us sit in piece regardless of all the sprays and wipes used, so rather than sit and get eaten alive we decided to carry on walking towards Braemar, meeting Elma on the road. Finally arriving home the place where our journey started it was relief to unburden ourselves of our walking boots and packs etc. Although we arrived back home a day and a few hours later than planned the extra day was accounted for just in case, the big inspiration to finish no longer than we did was the thought of a friends and family barbeque being organised by the Glen Tanar Estate, well Michael and Claire, in fact our timing turned out to be perfect as it turned out to be the best tonic of relaxation after our 50 or so miles slog, ah! a fine glass of red wine and a taste of local venison. After completing the walk and even enduring some of the hardships we both said we would do it all again, but possibly in better weather. It is quite illusionary when walking over some of the rough terrain that we endured we found it is hard to really estimate just how far we had walked and the time scale seemed to evaporate quicker than expected. Obviously this is due to the undulating landscape and the condition of it. I think in the end we actually walked more miles than we first estimated adding at least another 10 miles on unnecessarily, which in turn along with the bad weather gave us the extra day, but hey we did it and may even do again next year. Hope you have enjoyed reading about our experience and makes you feel that you were there with us too!! Maybe sometime in the future you will be, keep an eye on our events page.
Thanks to all who sponsored us on this walk without your donations the 3 worthy causes who we were raising funds for would be less better off. We are currently still collecting sponsors contributions so we will still accept additional sponsorship until Friday 30th September this should be enough time to get all sponsors in. From this date we will then organise with the 3 causes below for handing over a cheque to each. Keep your eye on this page for updates and photographs of the presentation.
Report By James Singer