Saturday 2nd June,
|Beech treelined drive to Invercauld House|
|Invercauld House with The Cairngorms as its backdrop|
|Leaving the Pine Forest|
|The place was alive with birds - there are even deer in this if you look closely enough!|
|Clear of the trees and into the wind|
|Culardoch, and the route snaking away to the left|
|My camera - which knows more about photography than me - added the colour!|
|It just looked like heather but I have no idea why they would be growing it in boxes!|
|North East to a distant Morven|
|North to Loch Bluig and Ben Avon|
|South to Lochnagar|
|West to Beinn 'a Bhuird|
|Looking back to Culardoch from the slopes of Carn Liath|
|From Carn Liath's false summit towards Beinn 'a Bhuird|
I stopped for a while when I reached the false summit and contemplated the fact that even when you know there's one coming you're still disappointed when it turns up! The final push was pleasant enough although picking a path through the loose rock and scree is always a bit more of a challenge when you're on your own. There is some debate apparently as to what particular cairn on the long horseshoe plateau is actually the top, but it seems strange to me that having climbed all the way up here you wouldn't go to all of them as a matter of course.
The route I was following suggested that the easiest thing to do now was to retrace my steps back to the landrover track, but that alternatively I could follow the line of an old dry stane dyke south until it gets too steep then cut across the heather to the track. If ever something had been understated it was referring to the engineering marvel that I came across as "an old dry stane dyke"!!Of course I've seen these boundary walls before - haven't we all - and I've always been impressed by their construction, but this was different. Five feet tall, two foot wide it stretched for miles, literally as far as the eye could see and remember I'm at 860m!
I sat with my back to the wall to finish my lunch and contemplated who these people had been and what it must have been like to put something like this together, and why? Did they only work in the summer or am I being a big softy? How long must it have taken and how many people must have been involved, and again why? I'm afraid I have no answers to the questions but my respect for the people involved is immense. So I followed the wall, passing only two or three places where it had fallen or been removed until a faint path took me back to the landrover track where I spotted my adversary hurrying on down the hill, still striding out, no doubt having been up onto Carn Liath and I wondered if he'd even noticed the wall in his rush. I wandered back down through the pines and birch woods to the big house with its beech trees and fishing pond where I had a one sided conversation with a red squirrel as I tried to get it to sit still long enough for me to photograph!
The walk back to the car was a little bit busier with one or two families out doing the waymarked walks and the cycle routes, but I'd had a good day. I'd left the car just after eight o'clock and arrived back around three, so as ever I was back earlier than if Mo had been with me. But it's another route that would suit us, so I imagine we'll back at some point. In the meantime it was back home and maybe tomorrow when we're having that family lunch I'll raise a quiet glass to those remarkable, unheralded, builders and their lost skills.
|The second of three summit cairns on Cairn Liath, (862m Corbett number 74 by height), and probably the highest|
|Lochnagar from Carn Liath|
|If you look carefully you can see this running away into the distance|
|A remarkable piece of building - and no mortar in sight|
|"Look just sit still for a second!"|
|I think this might be a different one, they all look the same to me!|