Thursday, 1 March 2012

Warmed three times at the Shieling of the Grey Water

Following the club meet at Roybridge, Dave and I travelled back over to the eastern side of Scotland for an overnight bothy trip.  Despite being close to where I live and having visited it many times, I'd not previously stayed in the bothy at Glas Allt Shiel (shieling of the grey stream) on the shore of Loch Muick.

The bothy is in an outbuilding of the grand shooting lodge built by Queen Victoria.  It's maintained by Dundee University Rucksack Club and is in a very good state of repair.  Although not a bothy administered by the Mountain Bothies Association, the same "Bothy Code" is expected.

This is the burn which gives the place its name.  Clear and cold, it rushes down from high on the slopes of Lochnagar and through a pine wood into Loch Muick.  A set of fine granite steps were placed at an offshoot of the burn for water collection.

We didn't intend to be cold on this February evening with all the available firewood surrounding the area!

The building and land are owned by Balmoral estate (i.e. by the Queen).  the estate request that dead standing wood is left alone as it is such an integral part of the wood and an important resource for wildlife.  Following the gales of late December there was more than enough fallen wood scattered within a half mile of the bothy.

It's well known that firewood warms a body three times - once when it's collected, again when it's cut and finally when it is burned.  We proved this saying completely!

Once we'd cleared the grate of an excess of ash in order to build a good base we got a geat fire burning.  Feeding it a little at a time our fire lasted all evening and we left plenty of dry wood for the next folk.  We were toasty warm when we retired to the upper floor to sleep.

The following morning dawned wet and windy.  We lingered in the bothy drinking coffee and chatting in our sleeping bags until mid-morning when a gradual improvement could be seen.

The walk out was very pleasant in a mixture of sunshine and showers, with a rainbow thrown in for good measure.

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