The last Marine Lab walk of 2018 was a stroll up Carnferg (the first hill I did with them back in 2016). I’d been up past here since in the summer on an epic bike trip. A perfect crisp autumn day boded well, and the forest looked great with the odd touch of orange larch still present.
Ants will be cosey in their wee hoosie
The very last flower of autumn hanging on into winter
Meandering through the forest we saw our first ice and snow as we ascended higher.
Once clear of trees the clear air allowed good views all round.
Arrived at the high point of the day, the very recognisable monument, and had a spot of lunch
Snow ghosts hiding from the daylight
A biting chill at the top was softened by my trusty Berghaus extrem belay jacket, glad I’d packed a heavier jacket.
The trail down was as equally treacherous on foot today with ice and snow as it was on the mountain bike in summer .
Unusual to see a biker out here, he was struggling with traction, but if you gotta be somewhere you gotta go, though I’m sure he’d have been better heading east along the valley rather than daring the fungle in these conditions
I split with the group at this point, choosing an extra loop rather than their out-and-back. Jacket off, time to get a march on, some running would also be needed to cover the extra distance.
First of the loop target sights, the hunting lodge below Carnferg
The Fungle road then follows high above the burn of Auldgarney past a crag called The Gwaves
Heading back down into the next glen where the Feugh resides, I split from the fungle towards Birse Castle.
There are a few signs to discourage walkers from passing Birse Castle but hey ho it’s the only way east. Somebody had said earlier the castle has a reputation as haunted, but couldn’t find any other evidence of this online
I should have paid a bit more attention to the map where it said ford. The burn was pretty full of snow melt
Fortunately the burn narrowed further downstream and I threw my pack over (committed now!) then with a fair run up managed the loup
Back up the hill heading towards Glencat
A few cowberries still on the go
Moon up and light beginning to fade
A look back down before cresting the hill
Over the other side and down again, the track icey under foot so not running as fast as would like (the hiking boots not helping the agility much either).
Heading back up after the farm to complete my loop and reenter the forest, passed a mountain biker surprised to see somebody running up through the charn. He’d recently moved back to the area and was loving the winter trails, been out all day and making his way back to Banchory
Slippey slidey back doon
Back in the forest noticed these tracks, fox? Fairly linear direction, rather than randomised dog meandering and no human footsteps of an owner nearby.
Once clear of ice gave it a bit more throttle downhill, and arrived back within seconds of the walkers.
Today’s post walk pub was the Lairhillock, a chance to have their most awesome lasagne again, perfect.