Ascent. 96M Accum. Ascent. 5474M
It was only a short walk today so packing up was very leisurely. We had a look at the lodge and thought what a shame it was boarded up and looking so neglected. The information board provided details of its glory days, years ago.
A lovely pitch at Derry Lodge, if a tad windy.
Derry Lodge info boardAs we casualy strolled along the good track towards Mar Lodge many day walkers passed us going the opposite way. At this point I realised how my sense of smell had improved in only a week. I could clearly pick up the smell of soap and deodorant and wondered if they could pick up how badly we probably smelled.
Flowers and trees giving of their scent was wonderful and I could pick up the smell of the deer even though I couldn't see them.
Reaching Mar Lodge on such a sunny day made the beautiful building stand out even more. The doors to the Great Hall were open and so had to pop in for a look at the vast array of antlers which hang like great chandeliers from the ceiling.
The Grand HallThen it was into the quadrangle, to a side room where tea and coffee had been provided. (But no cakes or biscuits this year).
A few challengers were already enjoying a rest and included Keith, Charlie and Evan.
We had a couple of drinks and donated some cash to the box.
Thanks to Mar Estates for providing refreshments.
Round the front of the building we posed for photo's before heading off and crossing the river by the ornate Victoria Bridge.
Who lives in a house like this?
The Stunning Mar Lodge
Victoria BridgeThen it was just a short walk along the road into lovely Braemar. Quite a few rucksacks were already downed outside the fantastic Old Bakery Cafe and ours joined them. I'd heard the reputation of the cafe and it didn't disappoint. They put on a special Challengers menu and the food and the hospitality is just what we needed.
Many challengers lingered to greet others as they came and went. It was a good atmosphere. Keith had a small tick on his arm which was removed with my tick key. Charlie inspected the beast and professed that it contained no blood.
JJ, Keith (Grandad) and Charlie outside The Old Bakery, Braemar.
I had to nip to the campsite where Martin had dropped of my food parcel. No problems on the retrieval.
Chores done, scrubbed up, the Fife Arms called. This wonderful bar needs an injection of some decent cask ales but its still a magnet for challengers where tales are swopped, friendships re-aquainted, routes analysed and gear discussed. The food looked excellent too.
It was good to chat with Colin Ibbertson about his New Zealand trip and put a face to a fellow blogger.
We spent a pleasant afternoon/evening in good company but we still retired early, just as though we were camping.
Short route Day 8.