Glen Tarff, a cracking find; we lost half a day here playing with our cameras.
From our day of glue and whisky at Derry Lodge
A bit more Glen Tarff action.
Probably the poorest part of the walk (farms near the end excepted) heading to Invergarry.
And a slightly re-tweaked view from the top of Lochnagar.
Leaving Tarfside was quite difficult, partly as it was such an idyllic place to be, partly because there were more eggs on offer. If anyone sees me go near an egg before July 2017 please kick me.
We set off walking on the road and it was surprisingly pleasant, the sun shone birds sang and the air was full of beauty and cliches. We followed the river for many miles, buzzards, red squirrels, and lots of (sadly, post spawning, dead or dying) salmon. Such is life.
Before entering Edzell we were lucky enough to enjoy the delights of The Blue Door. We were greeted by a gyrating river, deep smooth gorges and gushing waters. Quite lovely.
And so to Edzell and beer. Shite beer. A 70 Shillings and a Guinness, both tasted as bad, infact identical. Abandon ship!
So we found the lovely Tuck Inn, full of walkers and a lot of chips and fine fried things, ice cream and cakes. Calories intake excellent. If you like that sort of thing.
The next four miles weren’t very nice. Firstly through chicken and cow factories where you grow and kill beasts in pretty vile conditions, stinking of shit and death for miles around them (depending on the wind direction) it’s easy to see why these hell holes are hidden away. I encounter a few when running in north York, the smell is unmistakeable. You don’t see what is inside but you know, if you even think about it, that’s its fucking vile.
The green fields around the death factories contained debris and the odd cow so ill, scrawny and scarred by the bars of their pens that you wonder more what goes on in there. Or you don’t think about it as it’s easier that way. The sign on the way out said this was a “Specially Selected Scottish Farm: Quality Meat”; I’d hate to go near a sub-quality farm.
Next the joys of armed forces camps and straight roads with fast cars and wagons, almost universally courteous, giving us a wide birth. Our camp site had the most stunningly soft grass to sleep on, level like a bowling green. Unfortunately the dual carriageway 100 metres away prevented any sleep.
Our friend the horse
Apologies for the Carling
We woke of sound mind… as ever, heading east to Water of Lee/River Lee/Glen Lee/Loch Lee and then on the track to Tarfside that runs north of Hill of Rowan and past an impressive memorial.
We were re-entering civilisation, the last of any wilderness gone, inevitable mixed feelings of a great walk and discovery coming to an end filling us. Yet this was somehow halted by tremendous hospitality and the warmest of welcomes at Tarfside where we had bacon butties, egg butties, cakes, tea and best of all a shower.
We also met a few characters including Kurvy Pev and the The Swimmer; I also need to confess that there were only two tins of beer left. Of course I snapped them up. Alas they were Carling.
Oh yes, Nick broke the disabled seat in the shower, built for substantial weights, but not Nick’s it appears.
It was a fantastic if not noisy camp. It had been a while since we shared a dawn chorus with lowland birds. My they can sing. A lovely place to camp though, and at any time – the estate maintains the fields and toilet block and allows free camping and free use of the facilities which is generous. There does seem to be a lot of community activity and pride in this remote part of Scotland, it was very noticeable, running from the free campsite to restoration appeals to activity groups. Long may it last!
We of course imbibed, but gently, and chatted with the good doctors as they talked about shin splints and blisters and took the piss out of our cuben fibre fetish. The night ended with me stuffing earplugs in my ears as once the birds stopped Nick started and his renditions of The Forest (a good song murdered) and Somewhere Over The Rainbow (an appalling song made worse, indeed massacred) were the last things I heard this night.
We found a (formerly) helium filled pink balloon just after having decided to get rid of our litre of whisky. We did a good job as the next day there was only 200ml left. Just after we’d started to imbibe we found our deflated pink friend and the night seemed to spiral into madness and I can’t remember going to bed but apparently it was around 8.25pm.
The highlight (or lowlight) was the total incineration of my sandals but I think the video reveals all along with this photo. I am repentant.
Sadly the highlight (or lowlight of the next day was soon to be upon us as Nick was crying out aloud for help. He was lost in the bothy in the dark, around 60cm from where he had fallen from his bench. It reminded me of George’s whisky fuelled cries for help after leaving his tent for a pee and being unable to find his way back released similar blood curdling screams.