There were a total of 18 walkers on the bus taking advantage of one of the longest days of the year. The starting point for the walk was the Invercauld Estate as it offers many different types of walks for all levels of fitness and abilities to enjoy. The bus parked at Keiloch Carpark and people divided up depending on their choice of walk. 14 people started off together and 3 walkers broke away from the main group to tackle Beinn a’Bhurid from a different approach i.e. clockwise. The remainder headed past Invercauld house and carried on into Gleann an t-Slugain and past the ruin of the Lodge. We crossed Glas Allt Mor burn and walked on up to “the sneck”. “The sneck” was where walkers made the final decision on whether to either go up Beinn a’Bhurid or Ben Avon. 5 went up Beinn a’Bhurid and spotted a good number of Ptarmigan and a nest of chicks. A number of other birds , including a snow bunting, were also spotted by the group.
6 walkers went up to Ben Avon. The summit could be spotted from a long distance away on the plateau. We climbed up onto the crags but the wind began to pick up so we descended into a more sheltered area quickly. We descended into Glenn Gairn and crossed the river via a fairly sturdy wooden bridge and then had a real slog up Bealach Dearg. Significant forestry work has been recently done on the Invercauld Estate. Some of the paths marked on the map no longer exist or went in slightly different directions. This extended the walk slightly but was very straightforward to navigate.
4 people went for a walk through Ballochbuie Forest and had their lunch break at the Royal “Hokki Hut”. However there were no takers for the walk(s) involving the benches dedicated to Jimmy Bremner and Willie Rob. Both men were former members of AHWC and left money to the club in their will and Willie’s legacy is still subsidising the costs of the bus thus far.
The day started bright and sunny but by lunchtime black clouds loomed overhead. The rain luckily never appeared and it brightened again. It was cloudy and cooler making the final ascent to the summits a more comfortable affair. We had a speedy pub stop in Ballater and then made our way back to Aberdeen. We said goodbye to one half of the American couple who had been walking with us for the last 6 months and wished her a safe journey home. It was a long day (10 hours for those going to the tops) but fantastic conditions for walking. Lynne