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This was planned as my rest day – 4 miles from Mar Lodge then the rest of the day in the fleshpots of Braemar. The weather forecast was not great so I left quite early in the hope of missing the rain.  After walking through the grounds, you cross the Dee on the so-called Victoria Bridge. I’d always assumed it was called that because it was built in Queen Victoria’s time – I had never noticed the date on the bridge, which is 4 years after Victoria died. Perhaps it was intended as a memorial.

Victoria Bridge, Mar Lodge

Victoria Bridge, Mar Lodge

As I walked along the road, the weather was clearly deteriorating.  Black clouds over the Dee.

Foreboding clouds over the Dee

Foreboding clouds over the Dee

You can do the last couple of miles on forest roads – but they are a navigational nightmare as there are about twice as many roads in the forest than on the map. This was the first time on the walk where I used the GPS on my phone to check my position. Normally, I just make an estimate but this doesn’t work in forests. In the woods, there is a delightful lochan which looked a bit grey today.

Woodland lochan

Woodland lochan

I arrived at Braemar about 11.30 and dropped off my sack at the B & B where I was staying. I did a bit of shopping (excellent pork pies from the Braemar butcher),  bought a Guardian and headed for the Old Bakery where I had a second breakfast (bacon roll) followed immediately by their TGOC lunch special (Spaghetti and meatballs).

I decided to have a beer so went along to the Fife Arms, which was getting busier and busier with Challengers. After waiting about 10 minutes with no sign of service, I gave up. It was now raining heavily but I decided to try the Moorfield. I trudged up the hill in the rain in the hope of getting a decent pint but, when I arrived, I found that it was shut. So much for Braemar welcoming tourists!  So it was back to the Fife for a pint of very mediocre Guinness.  I remembered previous times there in the 1970s where it was full of climbers and locals – it was absolutely jumping – but that was before it was taken over by a tour company.

In the evening, I tried to get a meal in the Moorfield. I arrived and was told that they were fully booked. Luckily Trevor,  another Challenger took pity on me and invited me to join him and we had a reasonable although not a memorable meal. Chat and a few pints – I met Lindsay again on her trolley tour of Scotland. No Bingo Wings tonight so headed back into town – I was tempted by the Fife but resisted as I had planned a reasonably long day the next day.

It was still raining. Braemar has its faults and it could get its act together for visitors a bit better than it does but I was glad to be here on such a wet day.

2 Responses to “TGOC-13. Day 9. Mar Lodge to Braemar”

  1. alan.sloman says:

    I’m really enjoying this, Ian. I trudged into Braemar a few hours after you in the torrential rain…

    And the bar service at the Fife was absolutely dire.

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