At Cock Bridge, start of the "Cock Bridge to Tomintoul" section of the A939 road which features with regularity on the winter road closure reports, a track leads off past the Hanoverian barracks of Corgarff Castle. I had arranged to meet with a group undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh's Award venture at some point on their route; cycling in would be the best way for me to do this and to perhaps include a short walk too.
An estate road gives quick access westwards along the headwaters of the River Don, then descends steeply alongside a ravine.....
....to arrive at the impressive Inchrory Lodge, now only occupied during the shooting season. Inchrory sits near a bend in the River Avon (pronounced A'an and meaning "the bright one")
A little way upstream of Inchrory is the beautiful series of waterfalls forming the Linn of Avon. The water here was clear and the level quite low following the dry summer. It's one of my favourite spots......
The banks of the river below one of the falls had a tiny beach of warm brown sand formed by granite grains and had interesting patterns.
Early autumn is a fine time to visit; the colours of the vegetation just beginning to turn. The warm sun made it doubly pleasant. The volume of water was quite a contrast to my last post about the Linn.
With plenty of time in hand, I decided on climbing the nearby hill of Cnap Chaochan Aitinn (lump of the juniper stream). My intention of walking up the twisting Glen Loin before climbing the hill had to be changed as there was a grouse shoot underway in the glen and I had no desire to either get in the way or to spoil the shooters day. Instead, a steady climb up an access track reaches a broad ridge which leads easily to the 715 metre/2346 ft summit. The scene looking up Glen Loin is undeniably glacial, and the cloud which had closed in robbed the scene of colour.
Across Glen Avon, the impressive and massive Ben Avon dominates the skyline. The cloudy, cool conditions made it pretty chilly; I didn't linger long before returning back down to Glen Avon to meet the group.
Cycling back to Cock Bridge from Inchrory, the watershed between the rivers Avon and the Don is crossed. As I came over the rise, a warm wash of late sun lit the slopes to the east - the colours definitely those of autumn.