Camping short of Tarfside was a good decision. It was about an hour and a half walk; so just enough to build up enough appetite for a second breakfast of tea, egg roll, cake and a banana. Yes, fruit! The “Tarfside Ladies” (of whom half appeared to be chaps) were hard at work. They’d had to run 3 or 4 sittings at dinner due to the huge number of Challengers turning up and they were expecting another crowd in that night too (some of whom will, I hope, have appreciated eating the last cucumber in Edzell!)
Passing through Invermark I’d spotted a small green tent tucked out of the way. This turned out to be Nicole who arrived at Tarfside shortly after me and had passed my tent the previous night. We had both been unaware of the other’s presence whilst tucked up in our Laser Comps.
The weather had been fine whilst I’d been sitting in St Drostan’s sipping tea but, of course, it started to spit as soon as I left and it was hammering down by the time I passed the War Memorial so I stopped and put my waterproofs back on.
There were substantial tracks all the way over Stobie Hillock and along the Water of Dye. For much of the way I was on the wrong side of a fence and I was not looking forward to having to climb over it but I eventually found this crawl-through-able gap….
…… which is of absolutely no use to anyone planning to come this way next year as I can’t remember where it was – but if you’re going from Tarfside to Charr Bothy over Stobie Hillock then you’ll probably find it.
On the approach to Charr Bothy I briefly fell into step with a pair of Challengers. I can’t remember their names but I do recall that the woman was half my size and had a pack which was at least as big as a small bungalow. They were planning to camp near the bothy.
I had a feeling I’d have company in the bothy and I was right. Keith, Graham, Ngumo and Chris were already there and we were joined by Rob, Marianne, Thilou and Nicole later – although some chose to camp outside. Chris had set up his bed in one of the side rooms but soon found that he’d volunteered to move out to create a Girls’ Room. Thanks, Chris, you’re a gent!
I enjoyed my evening in the bothy. This was the second Tuesday and we all knew that, barring absolute catastrophes, we were all going to finish. All the tough parts of the crossing were behind us and we should be able to see the sea tomorrow. We all had the same plan for the morning – Clatterin Brig, for the Tea Room, and then Auchenblae … for another Tea Room. I decided that I would stick with the group until Auchenblae when we would go our separate ways again.