TGO Challenge 2014 Day 13- Potarch Bridge Park to Fetteresso Forest

We had a good nights sleep in the park and woke up reasonably early.  The Path today would lead us on the Deeside Way again for a while this morning and then we would have to make a decision. We found out from Ken and Nina that the Deeside Way would take us with very little exception on an easy path all the way to Aberdeen and the coast.  It would be a predictable and safe route. I expressed a desire to have a little more wilderness experience for our last full day and asked Vicky what she thought about going through the Fetteresso Forest which was our intended route. There would be some ups and downs and other unknowns.  I think apprehensively she agreed with the forest track and Stonehaven for our final destination.

 Walking in the morning on the Deeside way kept us thinking about this route and the easy path to Aberdeen.

 The path away from Potarch was very nice and looked newly done.
The morning was overcast and cool, perfect for walking again today.

The path led to the Slewdrum Forest and the Deeside way would continue over to Banchory and then east to Aberdeen. We needed to split off here and do a little more road walking toward Strachan to get to the Fetteresso Forest 

The B-Roads were quiet and there were several nice farms with horses, cattle, and sheep along the way.

We made it into Strachan and had a rest in the park. We were hoping for a Co-op or gas station to get some fresh lunch and a drink, but Strachan while being a fairly large little town, with a school and some shops did not have any groceries. (Banchory is only 4 miles by road away).

We slipped across the Water of Feugh (above) and it was just a short walk on a minor road to get to the entrance to the forrest. We came in heading for Glenskinnan (a hunting bothy)
 This had originally been a very small double track into the hills but the construction of the wind farms in the Fetteresso had turned this, like the Corrieyairack Pass into a major construction road.

 At the top of the road as we where to enter the forest proper we came across a locked gate and a disturbing sign.(above) High Powered rifles regularly in use

A small step had been provided to get over the fence and around the gate (above)
 This first climb to get into the forest had been about 600'. I think the picture above sums up the way Vicky was feeling at the moment. (We took a good rest here!)

A short distance up the path we came to Glenskinnin, clearly a bothy for hunters. It was all locked up, but the important part was the rain barrels outside the hut. We needed water and we had been careful not to use the water on the way up as it had been polluted by the cow pastures along  the way. The water in the rain barrels was just what we needed
 We sat at Glenskinnen for a bit and enjoyed the views

and rested!
After we rested we continued on the forest track.
 We came across a locked gate on the path with no visable way to climb over. We had to take off our packs and hand them over as we scaled the fence.

 The path then led into denser forest and more bogs! I wanted a "wilder" experience before the end and I certainly got it. Fortunately this section was very short

It actually looks as if mountain bikes have been through this section. That would be a tough ride!

 Back on firmer ground we started to go a little higher into the forest.

Just as we got to a sign post, we dipped down to a lovely creek, you looked up and got your first view of the wind turbines here in the forest. They immediately reminded me of some War Of The Worlds scene rising up out of the trees.

 We followed the forest track in the North Dennetys, the "D" stone marking a boundry

We didn't have to walk through the actual wind farm field, as some challengers did that came from the south. the wind farms we located in the Mid Hill area of the forest. 
 We popped out of the forest and were confronted with the reality that our little single track path had been made into a huge construction road.

We finally veered off the construction track and through another gate onto a smaller path toward Stonehouse. (Above-This is what the path in the entire forest used to look like before the wind farm construction) I had assumed that Stonehouse would be a bothy of some kind in the forest. It actually turned out to be someones new house! In rural Scotland all the houses have names not numbers and they are actually shown on maps. I had no idea that someone could actually live here. To me this seemed like someone living inside one of our National Forest.
 We had come to the end of our day and so we walked a little ways down from Stonehouse to where it was obvious that their property ended (fence) so we would be well out of site and found a fantastic stealth location for our tent next to a fast running stream called Cowie Water. We had a lovely evening tucked into the pine trees. This was Vicky's favorite campsite of the trip.

After the initial climb into the forest the walking flattened out and it was downhill the rest of the day, In fact I reminded Vicky that after we topped out our elevation near the wind farms it was all down hill to the sea!
She was noticeably cheered up. At the end of the day I was glad that we had come this way into the forest. It was harder yes, but it was more interesting and diverse and I think made for a better experience.
One more day!

Day 13
15.3 miles 9 hours.
119.3 miles walked of possible 175 miles planned.

elevation profile for Day 13


  1. You all have really had a great experience, haven't you. Each day has brought new challenges, but Vicky has really been the champion! Awesome pictures, as usual. Looking forward to the end game at the North Sea.

    1. We had a good time and we want to do it again.


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