Tuesday, 27 January 2015

TGOC 2014 - Day 9: Glen Dee to Braemar

Saturday 17th May 2014

A low level walk down Glen Dee to Braemar, via Linn of Dee and the Morrone Birkwood 

Distance: 21.5km; Ascent: 330m; Dry with rain later; mainly with Andrew W and others

After yesterday's wonderful long day on the hills, I opted to have a leisurely start this morning unlike Sue who was up early to head over more hills.  However I was due into Braemar this afternoon, which meant that I had a reasonably easy day's walk down Glen Dee :-).  I had a lovely view up the glen towards The Devil's Point and Carn a'Mhaim from the tent whilst I enjoyed breakfast and a cup of coffee.

What a view to wake up to on a Saturday morning!  (The Devil's Point and Carn a'Mhaim)
Looking up Glen Dee towards the Lairig Ghru
The sky had mainly clouded over by the time I had packed up and set off walking at around 9am.  The path on the west bank of the Dee made for reasonably easy walking, with pleasant views up and down the glen.  Today being a Saturday, it wasn't long before I met some other walkers - the first of many groups, who were presumably heading up the Munros of Monadh Mor and Beinn Bhrotain for the day.

Looking back up Glen Dee to The Devil's Point
Looking down Glen Dee towards White Bridge
Looking back up Glen Dee towards Beinn Bhrotain
At around twenty past ten I reached White Bridge, where I joined the main track that comes down Glen Geldie.  Here I joined one of my previous TGOC routes, as I had followed the Feshie-Geldie route back in 2008 with Lynsey.  It seemed to be incredibly busy at White Bridge this morning, with getting on for 50 walkers from a couple of different groups all stopped for a break when I arrived!

The River Dee at White Bridge
I pushed on past White Bridge wondering when I'd bump into my first challenger of the day.  Soon my wondering was answered as I spotted Andy a few hundred metres ahead of me, still with a yellow balloon attached to his rucksack from the cheese and wine party several days earlier!

Looking back up towards the Feshie-Geldie watershed
Picking up my pace I soon caught up with Andy, who was currently walking with David Brown.  I tagged along with them and enjoyed chatting to them both as we headed along the vehicle track to reach the Linn of Dee.  It was quite a warm day so we stopped for a leisurely break at the Linn of Dee and spent time looking at the waterfalls, which I'd not done before having previously just viewed them from the road bridge.

The Linn of Dee
Linn of Dee Bridge
The Linn of Dee
After a relaxing break and a bite to eat we set off walking along a path through the woods on the north bank of the Dee to see how much road walking we might manage to avoid.  The answer was little more than 500 metres, but it was still a pleasant woodland stroll!

A Walker in the Woods
Heading back uphill towards the road
The pleasant woodland alternative to the road
As we left the woodland path and rejoined the road, who should appear but Alan and Phil who'd walked down the road from Linn of Dee.  We walked with the for a couple of kilometres down the road to reach a welcome sign at the start of the access track to Mar Lodge :-).  I'd walked past Mar Lodge on a couple of previous challenges but hadn't stopped before, so I decided to rectify this today and dropped in for a break.  There were a number of other challengers here and it was good to stop to chat to them all over a cup of tea :-)

A welcome sign :-)
Mar Lodge
The inside of the Mar Lodge ballroom
The inside of the Mar Lodge ballroom
We spent the best part of an hour at Mar Lodge, including taking a look inside the ballroom whose interior decoration was not really to my taste!  We crossed Victoria Bridge to reach the road, which we followed for a couple of kilometres.  Here I opted to deviate from my planned route and ascended up a forest track in the rain, heading for the Morrone Birkwood (a route that had previously been recommended to me by Mr Grumpy back in 2008).

Crossing Victoria Bridge
Andy and David were also heading this way, and we walked together up the muddy track past a small lochan to reach the edge of the Morrone Birkwoods National Nature Reserve, from where our onward route was along the signposted circular walk.

Small lochan on the way to the Morrone Birkwood
Entering the Morrone Birkwoods
Challengers in the Morrone Birkwoods
After a pleasant wander through the Morrone Birkwoods we reached a viewpoint indicator above Braemar, from where there were good views under the somewhat hazy and cloudy sky this afternoon.

Viewpoint indicator above Braemar
Challengers looking at the views ;)
From here it was all downhill to Braemar, which we reached at around 3pm and headed straight for the Fife Arms, where I had decided to stay this year.  I checked in, picked up my parcel, unpacked and enjoyed an afternoon and evening of relaxing and catching up with lots of other challengers over a few beers :-)


  1. Did you miss the Chest of Dee or just not include a photo? It is just a few hundred yards from White Bridge but maybe not visible from the path. It is superb.

    1. I think I must have missed it. I'm guessing that it's the gorge just about visible in my 4th photo down? Just looked at a few photos of it online, and it does seem a shame to have walked past it - I'll have to take a look when I'm next in the area!

  2. You might *just* finish this before Lynsey sets off for her Challenge in May!

    1. Only five more days left, so it should be possible :-)

      Anyway, I should still manage to get it finished in less time than Carl completed his 2012 TGOC blog ;) ;)

  3. Thatbrings back memories! Thanks :-)