There were a few showers during the night, but it was quite dry when I packed up, and I headed out about 0900hr. It seemed an easy walk to the bridge. I have walked this stretch many times in the past, but not for a while, and I guess it is not carting the Vango Mark 3 tent, canvas frame rucksack, paraffin stove and other heavy stuff that makes a difference these days.
Rosemary, Richard and the Danish boys caught up with me at the bridge, then we took the left hand track heading to Mar Lodge. As we reached the road, the three Norwegian guys came along the road from White Bridge. In the meeting room, I caught up with Paul and Wayne and the Blantyre guys. There was quite a crowd, and the Ranger had to nip down to Braemar for more biscuits.
There were a few intermittent showers from here to Braemar. I took the Morrone Birkwood route to avoid the road as much as possible, and met up with Alan Jordan then the Danish boys and we were a bit confused with the tracks not quite matching the map. Eventually we stumbled onto the right path, thanks to the Danish boy’s GPS, and reached the duck pond at the top of the village.
The weather now improved. I phoned Ishbel who was on her way, had a quick coffee in Taste, then met her in the car park, and we headed down to Ballater (in the car!), as I wanted to visit the railway station museum. As I turned into the square at Ballater, I was amazed that it was burned down.” I forgot to mention it”, said Ishbel,” it was in the news a few days ago”. So we went for lunch and wandered round the shops.
Then we headed to our B&B (Cranford Guest House), and went out for a meal at the Cairngorm Lodge Hotel across the road (after a shower of course). The meal was very good. Apparently they have an “award winning” chef, although they omit to tell you what award it is (Cycling proficiency?, swim 50 yards?) The B&B is very good, and the owner did some washing for me (at a price of course!).