Thursday, 13 June 2013

TGO Challenge 2013 Day 12: Pigging Out

A long but easy day, but with the hardship of lots of refreshment stops.   It involved 35km between the public camp sites at Ballater and Feughside, with a bit of a detour to sample the shopping delights of Aboyne.  The latter were somewhat limited, incidentally.  The Metro Centre it is not.  Thankfully.  The 35km was made all the more bearable by three refreshment stops, happily situated pubs and tea shops located equidistantly (no such word?) along my route at almost exactly the quarter way, half way and three quarter way points.

Deeside Way on the way to Dinnet
So off it was along the Deeside Way, which was well suited to my strategy as outlined in a previous post.  It went east. And it followed the line of a former railway.  Thankfully, trains are not good at going up hills so the gradients encountered were of the 1 in 150 variety which makes for very easy walking.  I had a shock at Dinnet as the nice waitress at the hotel there thought that they had run out of tea cakes to go with my morning coffee.  She explained that Challengers the previous day had scoffed the lot.  As I knew who was on this route the day before I was contemplating tracking them down and tearing their livers out with my teeth, which seemed to be to be a measured response to the desperate situation I found myself in.  Fortunately, the waitress then found there was one left and I polished it off in a posh lounge with a cappuccino whilst watching the cleaners hoover the carpet.  Well one has to get one’s entertainment somehow.  I thus felt especially guilty when I stood up to leave and saw that half of Scotland’s detritus (good word) had come off the Raptors on to the carpet around where had been.  I did go and apologise to them, so I think that the Challenge suffered no embarrassment.
Then it was on to Aboyne.  Why does that name sound like it should be in Ireland?  Aboyne looks jolly posh.  It is also very long and the shops are about one million miles further on than the shortest turn for Feughside, but hey ho, I needed more cake and another drink so I sought them out.  I then got chatted up by an over friendly cyclist as I was leaving the village, who wanted to know all my movements (not of the Andrew Walker variety, I should add), where I was spending the night and so on.  I started to worry I was in the company of some mad axe murderer, so I gave him a very severe look until he went on his way.
The Potarch Hotel: Serves Good Guinness

The next refreshment stop was at the Potarch Hotel which is very nice indeed and situated next to the Dee and a lovely village green which, I believe, has been used as an upmarket wild camping spot by Challengers.  I went up to the bar to order afternoon tea, but sat down with a pint of Guinness and a bag of crisps.  This shows that despite a week and a half of walking I had still had my mental faculties and had not completely lost my mind.  The bonus on leaving was to find that a new section of the Deeside Way had been completed, which reduced the expected road walking by a couple of miles, although the new track was just a few yards from the road.  And finally I reached Feughside.  The Inn there has closed but it was still a jolly nice place to stop for the night and that is just what I did.

Happy Bunny


  1. Cakes, cappuccinos, teacakes beer & crisps: A perfectly balanced diet. Perhaps you could do with a bit of protein in there?

    I suggest liver. The bastards!

  2. Yes I like meat. I was forced to eat a salad for tea tonight and may have to go and kill something later to satiate myself.

    Liver? I thought you preferred kidneys :)

  3. Jolly good! Looks like you hit most of the Deeside establishments on your way through. Aboyne is indeed very long but the pub down by the bridge is excellent if you are ever back in the area. Alas I came down to the Feughside Inn back in January on a bitterly, bitterly cold day to discover to my dismay that the pub had closed. It still looks like a nice camping spot though!

  4. You had to apologise for the detritus dropped from your shoes ... and in one establishment (on the first day, in our case) I had to go and ask for a mop because I couldn't bring myself to ignore the pools of water that had dripped from our stuff as we supped tea.

  5. I saw the pub in Aboyne you mentioned, Nick. As I went passed there, the axe carrying cyclist had just appeared. Perhaps I should have popped in. Gayle, we are Challengers are clearly the most thoughtful of people :)

  6. Movements.
    I would have sold my soul for a movement by day 5 I can tell you.
    No more Mars bars for me in 2014. I am taking ex-lax and I imodium. Obviously not at the same time.