Walk #672: Derry Lodge to Braemar
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
I had a reasonable night's sleep despite some fairly intense cold that caused me to put my balaclava and a long-sleeved shirt on early in the morning. I awoke at about fie thirty, shortly after dawn, and started to read the book, Angels and Demons, which I had been reading until ten last night. I got most of he way through he book before I heard others talking and getting up, and I unzipped my tent to be greeted with a white, frosty scene. It had been so cold that John Dodd's socks had frozen, and several people's water bottles had frozen. My insulated mug, which I kept full of water outside overnight, had frozen, but my Platypus inside he tent was cold but unfrozen. I continued reading as people cooked and started to pack up, until eventually I decided to stop reading and start getting ready for myself. I had waned to leave it as long as possible to allow the sun to help dry my tent out, but it was still damp as I dressed packed my rucksack and took the tent down.
Some people had already left by the time I set off along the long track that leads from Derry Lodge towards Claybokie beside Lui Water. It was a very enjoyable stroll, made all the more so by the fact that I knew that it was a short walk and I could take my time. Large herds of deer were visible down by the water, and a constant stream of people passed in the opposite direction, heading into the hills for the weekend. I had been advised not to cross the water by the first bridge that I came to, but to instead continue along the track as it became rougher and headed uphill, before dropping down through woodland to meet the road. Here I met up with Sue and Rick, although I soon dropped behind as I chatted to Sencan on the phone. Almost immediately we turned onto at rack that led through the grounds of Mar Lodge, which turned out to be a gorgeous building that has been converted into apartments. I really would not mind staying there sometime in the future.
I soon left the grounds of Mar Lodge via a road bridge that led onto the Lin of De road, and I started walking along this. It was not as busy as I had been led to expect it to be, and when a nature reserve was reached after a couple of miles instead of walking through it I decided to continue along the road. There were some superb views to be had over the river, and I enjoyed the stroll immensely. before I knew it I reached Braemar, and after chatting to a few of the other challengers who were milling around outside the cafe I went into the shop to buy some provisions. I then sat outside the tourist information office soaking up the sun before phoning up the B&B to see if it was okay to turn up early. It was, so before midday I turned up and, joy of joys! they had a bath that I cold use to soak off the last couple of day's sweat. A very enjoyable afternoon was then spent exploring Braemar, having superb fish and chips at a cafe and a couple of pints in the Fife Arms. I was surprised to see a few people turn up who I thought would be miles away by now, and I also bumped into Steve Smith once more. I turned up to the evening event at the Fife Arms, but I was quite fatigued by then, and once the disco music started I found that I could not hear anything over the music so I left early, leaving many older people behind. Us young 'uns obviously can't hack it ;-)
Tomorrow promises to be a long and gruelling day, and I must admit that I am not looking forward very much to the climb up Jock's road, or even the alternative via Carn an t-sgairt Mor. I will wait until I get to Callater Lodge in the morning to see which route I will choose to do, and perhaps ask the advice of the men there. I only have three days of this walk left and a fairly hectic schedule in them; however tomorrow is the last high-level route and so I think that I stand a fairly good chance of completing.
This walk starts by the footbridge over Derry Water at Derry Lodge. Cross over to the eastern side of the river, and then start heading up a slight hill towards the imposing stone building. Once there join a track that heads southeastwards, following the Lui Water downstream. After a couple of miles a bridge is reached to the right over the river; do not cross this but continue on along the track, which becomes rougher and heads steeply uphill before once again settling on a south-easterly course. The track slowly descends before ending at a road in Claybokie. Turn left and follow the road eastwards for a few hundred yards, before turning right down a track that leads into an estate.
The track skirts towards the river before heading towards Mar Lodge; ignore the first track off to the right from the lodge and continue on for another couple of hundred yards to another set of buildings. Turn right here, and follow a firm track southeastwards across the estate until Victoria Bridge over the River Dee is reached. Cross this bridge, and on the other side turn left to start walking eastwards along the road. The road climbs uphill for a kilometre to Linn of Corriemulzie, where it turns to the left, to head northeastwards for a few miles heading directly into the centre of Braemar. If you wish to avoid the road, than less than a kilometre from Linn of Corriemulzie there is a car park, and woodland paths lead through to the centre of the town, avoiding the road.
This makes a total distance of 8.9 miles, with 686 feet of ascent and 951 feet of descent.
I spent the night at Cranford Guest House, 15 Glenshee Road, Braemar AB35 5RQ, telephone 01339 741675. This B&B cost me £26.00 for the night, and I was made to feel very welcome by the proprietor, who had only just taken over the establishment.
Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
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