Slugain, Quoich, Birkstrail running

I’d intended re-treading last year’s Glen Quoich autumnal run, and the start of November it was on, perhaps a few weeks later than intended. Bus out to Keiloch, a quick look at The Bridge of Dee, then along to Invercauld.

bus-window blur of Deeside
A sweet blue mountain morning
Arch and Larch
Keiloch’s tree-splashed meadows
A sneak over the fence to have a look a the pool
Invercauld house
Scot Ways sign pointing ahead
Beinn a Bhuird with a thin cornice to the north west
Out into the sun at Slugain
Chilly in the shade in the fairy glen
Pas the lodge ruin
A brief pause before heading down to the river
Cairn Toul in the distance
Woods nestling along the Quoich
Beinn a Bhuird with a slight dusting of snow

At the ford I pondered whether to cross or explore down the same side. I thought to try something new; I’d heard there is a slight path along the south side.

Not crossing today

Well, there is a path for a bit but it soon fizzles out; I suspect it’s more “can I find another ford” than “travel onwards”. I quartered up and down the bank; higher up it’s very boggy, lower it’s steep and rank heather, there’s the odd scrape of a deer path. It’s tough going and would have undoubtably have been quicker crossing over.

Lump terrain. I’m in the shade too, a tactical error
Although lumpy it is very scenic
Anti-deer nibbling attachments: budcaps
Loads of them

Although Mar Lodge have culled a lot of deer to reduce browsing and encourage regeneration, I could see there were still fresh deer-paths here so I guess the proliferation of blue plastic is justified, and less intrusive and materials-intensive than using cylindrical tree guards. Study on use

Looking towards a foothill of Beinn a Bhuird above Bruach Mor
Chilly in the shade. Crunching and splunging through semi-frozen bog
Baby trees
Further along the river bank, signs of human activity; bonfire remnants and bits of trail
The ford to the north of Carn Elrig Mor

From the ford, I was back on landy track, and got running again after taking almost an hour to thrash a few km

larch-speckled plantation on the other side of the river
Into the sun
Heather, trees and hills in harmony
Looking back at the track contouring around Carn Elrig Mor
Beinn Bhreac

Across the other side of the Glen, the colours weren’t as vibrant as experienced last year, I think I’d left it a few weeks too late to get the best with the colours now bleaching out.

The refurbished track on the far side
The rocky track heading towards Creag Bhalg

Heading around a block of plantation an unmapped track headed downwards and I thought I’d take the opportunity to get riverside. The track fizzles out in a burn gully but it wasn’t then far from the river

Unknown trail
Down to the Quoich
Below some crags

The plus side of remaining this side of the river is the proximity to the various rapids and waterfalls, the track on the other side stays a lot more distant from the river so you don’t get to see a lot of this.

A break in trees provides some illumination
carefully to the edge of spray-soaked slabs
A snack break and a seat with a great ambience
Sparkly glen
The punch bowl
An old derelict house at the Linn of Quoich
The new bridge which was opened in December 2019 after the previous one was damaged in the 2015 floods
Through Mar lodge
Over the Dee
Arch and Larch (2)
Along the road
Quick look at waterfall on small burn

Near Alltachair, I left the road and climbed back into woods to get through to the Morrone Birkwoods

Upwards on a good trail
Past a small dammed pond
There’s another larger pond nearby
Across a small ford
Out into the open birkwoods
View across to Ben Avon
The birkwoods were a bit sodden and squishy underfoot having shed most of their leaves
Clunie Water with Creag Choinnich behind

I timed it nicely getting into Braemar at sunset, with plenty time to the next bus I went in to Farquarsons pub for a meal and pint. 28k done and dusted.

Venison sausages and mash, lovely

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