Faindouran to Loch Builg
Saturday 17th May
Start 9:30, finish 2:30, 14.9km
It was quite a cold night. In the tent, my Silva ADC recorded a low of 2c, the coldest night on the Challenge apart from the night at Glen Mazeran. The wind had dropped overnight. However, the skies were clear and the early morning sun warmed my tent, drying off some of the dew and condensation. An hour later the wind started to pick up again and clouds started to build, suggesting it might rain later.
There wasn’t a huge hurry as today’s walk was on good tracks and we were aiming to camp somewhere between Loch Builg and Corndavon. As I was packing, I was greeted by another Challenger, Rod MacDonald. He had camped below Bynack More and had started early. Rather than taking the longer route we had used on the previous day, he had made the short cut over rougher ground. He was making for Corndavon today.
By the time we set off, it was a lot cloudier than earlier and quite windy. Even though the walk to the Linn of Avon from Faindouran is on a LRT, it is an attractive walk. Unfortunately, the tops were under cloud making it less interesting, but we bowled along at a good pace.
Dave and I chatted away, which seemed to eat up the miles. Dave’s feet were a bit sore so a shortish day suited him. I had camped at Loch Builg a few years ago, so knew we could stop there if necessary. The only things of note along the way was a strange arrangement of stones at one point on the track and (sadly) a couple of dead adders.
By midday we had reached the Linn of Avon. As we approached the bridge over the Builg Burn, we spotted a figure reclining on the far bank. As we approached I realised it was the famous Humphrey Weightman. We took our packs off and sat on the grass for a chat. Not long afterwards, Jonathan Smith arrived as well.
It was cool in the wind and Humphrey decided to leave. We sheltered beneath the bank of the bridge and had a quick bite to eat. I remarked that it felt like it could rain. We didn’t hang around too long. As we walked up Glen Builg, there were a few spots of rain.
Again, this was a delightful walk and we passed some good places to camp, but we wanted to make Loch Builg at the very least. Although the Builg Burn wasn’t high, I put on my waders to cross. I also used them to cross the Feith Laoigh.
As we got to the other side, it looked very dark behind us and there were the first spots of proper rain. We put on our waterproofs just in time. We only walked a few hundred metres when I spotted a possible place to camp. We were very close to where we needed to be, so I suggested that rather than pushing on in the rain, we should pitch here and have the afternoon off. Dave’s feet were sore and there was no real need to go on.
After pitching the tents and collecting some water, we dived into our tents and it started to rain in earnest. It turned into a really unpleasant afternoon and I was glad to be sheltering in my tent. There wasn’t much to do other than make tea and listen to music. However, it was much better than being outside.
It wasn’t until early evening that the rain relented and the wind abated somewhat. Yet again, the weather and the timing of the rain had worked out well, giving us the option of an early finish. The next day’s walk into Ballater was very manageable and mostly on tracks, so it shouldn’t present a problem. It also suited to give Dave’s feet a bit of a rest. All in all, it had been another good day.