Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The second best way to enjoy Christmas turkey?

At last, the weather seems to have settled for a few days. Boxing Day dawned clear and fine; a good day to walk off the Christmas dinner.

We chose Geallaig, erroneously marked as "Geallaig Hill" on the map.  This fine wee hill would give a good walk with great views and the opportunity to extend the day by descending to meet an old drove road, following it to the River Gairn and making a 16 km (10 mile) circuit.

A good track heads up the hill from our starting point at Braenaloin.  It's a steady rather than a steep ascent and we stopped frequently to enjoy the view south west to Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird.

The temperature was near or just below freezing all day, but with no wind it was really very comfortable.  Even in the middle of the day the midwinter sun is very low at this latitude, we threw long shadows all day.

Less than an hour and a half's walk saw us at the 743 metre (2438 ft) summit, where a circular cairn encloses the trig point.  Despite the lack of height, Geallaig commands fine views, particularly southward over the Dee valley

Undoubtedly the best way to eat Christmas turkey is with family around the table.  But Alan and I agreed that this may well be the second best way to enjoy it, in winter sunshine with a view like this!

South across the valley of the River Dee, Lochnagar had been enveloped in a cloud bank but as we sat and ate lunch the cloud dissipated and the distinctive, graceful silhouette of this great mountain appeared through the frosty haze in the air.

We descended as the sun dropped below the cloudbank.  The temperature quickly dropped below freezing but we still had very pleasant walking along the track to the Gairn and back to our car.

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