This week I killed some time by heading to Braemar. I was looking for the location close to some good hill walking. Braemar wasn’t quite that, as you need a car to do most of the good walks around there.

I caught the train up to Aberdeen, which turned into a bus because of strike action. I eventually got to Braemar and found accommodation at the Braemar Lodge Hotel bunkhouse. At 12 pound a night it was quite cheap, but I’ll be thinking about camping next time to save money. The main benefit of staying there was meeting Johnny, a Church of Scotland minister who is taking a year out for munrobagging. He was heading off the next day to climb six munros near Glenshee. He invited me along, albeit reluctantly, being wary that might slow him down.

We had an alpine start the next day. Starting early we traversed the following Munros:

That took just under 7 hours so we were back at the bunkhouse for an early lunch. That afternoon I slept – a lot.

The next day I soloed 5 more munros. The Royals were deer stalking, just like they did in the movie The Queen. I was hoping to be shot, so that I could get some money out of them or a tabloid that might be interested in my story. On the tops there was a lot of mist from about 1000m but the afternoon was very clear for the traverse over Broad Cairn.

I walked from Braemar (up early to get the worst of weather) to Auchallater then did (in the following order):

Unfortunately Lochnagar was a whiteout – but I could see clearly later in the day from other tops. One guy there at the same time said that he’d been there 5 times and had only one clear view from the top. From Broad Cairn I walked out to Spittal of Glenmuick and hitched a ride with some German walkers to Ballater then bused back to Braemar. There were heaps of people about but one cannot, I’m told rely on people for lifts from remote roadends. Wednesday was about 9 hours of walking, which is a pretty standard day out. But this was so at odds with the guidebook that I was wondering what was going on.

See photos of both days:
http://picasaweb.google.com/richardarthurdavis/MunroBaggingNearBraemarSept2007

Thursday I headed back to Edinburgh. from the bus in Ballater, the closest town to Balmoral Castle many shops that are “By Appointment” to the Royal Family, including one Chinese takeaway for the Prince of Wales. I had some time to kill in Aberdeen , so checked out the library and some shops. Then it was back on the train to Edinburgh. The view from the train of the coastline is quite spectacular.

My first Munro was Sgurr nan Gillean, which I climbed with the late Andrew Smith in September 1992. My total is now 12 out of 284 (4.2%). There is plenty more to do…

Overall it was great start to traveling around Scotland. I hope more is to come soon.

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