|Click here or on any picture to switch to slideshow|
As planned this was a rest day, i.e. no Munros to climb, to allow me to spend some time with Mum and Ruth and to make a leisurely transition from the luxurious surroundings of the Dundarach Hotel to the wilds of Glen Muick. As the forecast had warned us the weather was not so good. It didn't actually rain, but the skies were dull all morning, clearing a little in the afternoon.
We packed up and sorted gear at a leisurely pace and left Pitlochry at about 10.30. I was taking Ruth's bike, tent and camping gear with me. We took the back road (the A924) over by Kirkmichael and down to Bridge of Cally which was where we were going to head our separate ways after having lunch together. We arrived at around 11 so Ruth and I went off to explore the Cateran Trail, specifically the branch that cuts across from Bridge of Cally to Alyth. I have to admit that we didn't find this particular section too interesting, but perhaps some other parts are more appealing. The official website www.caterantrail.org is certainly quite well done. Anyway, we found a more adventurous route back along the Ericht and Black Water. We had a very nice lunch at the Bridge of Cally Hotel then Ruth and Mum set off down the road to Edinburgh while I headed north to Braemar.
The Dee at Braemar
I stopped in Braemar for a while to poke around the tourist shops and then drove on to Ballater, arriving there at about 4 o'clock.
The Dee at Ballater
I explored the town centre then did some shopping in the Co-op where I got everything I needed except sun cream, which I found in a pharmacy in the form of "Sun Shots", and mosquito coils, which I found in a hardware shop. I didn't find a small tin opener anywhere, so did without. I sat in the park in the sun, which had now come out, and read Ivanhoe while waiting for the Chip Shop to open. Tonight's dinner was pie and chips which I bought then hared off up Glen Muick with it.
I found a great camping spot just where the road emerges from the forest and sat and ate my dinner before putting up the tent.
The River Muick by the campsite
The car and the campsite
The sky was still very hazy - it was after 7 by the time I got myself settled. From the campsite there was a good view southwest to Lochnagar. I was planning to get round all five of its Munros the following day.