Ballater to Water of Allachy
I wasn’t expecting much from today’s walk, but, despite the weather it turned out to be rather good. I left the hotel just after nine o’clock. On the green outside the church, I met Lynsey, Carl and Louise. After a quick natter, I walked past the recently burnt out station 😦 and found the cycle track to Dinnet, which is part of the Deeside Way.
While not desperately exciting as a walk, it did have the merit of being refreshingly flat and was quiet enough for a variety of wildlife to frequent. There were lots of rabbits along the way. There were also Lapwings, one of which buzzed me several times. A little way down the former railway track I bumped into Hugh and Barbara, who I’d met last year briefly. They were going quite slowly, so I pushed on ahead.
About half way to Dinnet, it began to rain, so it was on with the waterproofs and up with the umbrella. I was rather pleased with myself as I rigged up a hands free umbrella system using the chest strap of my rucksack. It worked really well, especially as I was sheltered from any wind. It made what might have been a rather miserable walk into quite a pleasant one despite the weather.
By the time I got to Dinnet, it was raining quite hard, so I called in to the Loch Kinord Hotel for some lunch. The hotel staff were very welcoming. Soon, Hugh and Barbara came in, followed by Brenda and another couple of Challengers whose names I didn’t get. I had an excellent lunch and two pots of tea. I was first in but last out. By the time I left the rain had eased somewhat.
I left the Deeside Way to follow roads and tracks to Glen Tanar. I saw absolutely no one along the way. This was fortunate as two pots of tea had caused me to over hydrate and I had to stop an embarrassing number of times for comfort breaks.
By the time I reached the Tourist Information Centre, the rain had resumed again in earnest. There was still no wind, so the hands free umbrella experiment continued. I passed St Lesmo’s Chapel, declined to take the Firnmouth Road to press on to the Water of Allachy. Despite the rain, the walk up Glen Tanar and the Water of Allachy was quite delightful.
Unfortunately, my pictures really don’t do it justice. In good weather it must be a magical walk. Even in bad weather it was beautiful. After a mile or so, I began to consider pitches. There were several places where it was possible to camp, but I decided to continue to a building marked on the map in the expectation there might be some flat ground suitable for camping there.
Right on cue, into view came a hut. It had a decent piece of flat ground in front of it, which wasn’t water-logged. Even better, the door wasn’t locked. Inside it looked like it was a hut to stable horses or ponies. There was a bench for my rucksack. I could put the tent up outside and unpack my stuff in the dry before tranferring to the tent. Perfect.
It was a great place to camp. It was sheltered from any wind and water was readily available yards away. The only downside was the drips from the trees. After I had dinner, the skies brightened and I was treated to some sunshine. It had been a surprisingly satisfying day despite the weather.