Day 4. Meall Tionail
On day 4, we went fellrunning from Glen Feshie with Katy and Jamie. It was Jamie’s first ever fell run and the 2 hour run quadrupled the amount of time that Jamie had ever spent running! From Glen Feshie we ran up to Meall Tionail, affectionately renamed ‘Black Toenail’ by Richard.
At the top it was rather windy, so we hurriedly made our way through the col between Meall Buidhe and Geal-charn, and then around the back of Geal-charn. The footpath along this stretch was rather good fun as it was covered in snow of differing thicknesses. We then descended down Allt nan Cuileach and ran back to the car through the forest. A great time was had by all and we even spied a load of ptarmigans and a herd of deer from the top.
Day 5 Lochan a Choire
On day 5, we walked from Aberarder, near Laggan, up to Lochan a Choire. We were going to try and summit Creag Meagaidh, but the snow was deep and we were all feeling a bit knackered!
Day 6 On the farm
On day 6 we visited our friends, Tilly and Alan, who run the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre. We visited them at their farm where they keep red deer, fallow deer, wild boar, belted galloway cows, highland cattle, various sheep including soays and chickens, turkeys and ducks! We stayed over in their wonderful old farmhouse and so were ready to report for work on the farm at 8.30 sharp. First, we headed off on the quadbike to feed the deer, pigs and cows. The deer were amazing; they’re really tame and having a deer running next to the moving quadbike was fantastic. The pigs were less angelic, but once Alex (Tilly and Alan’s son) had got the big pig’s attention with food, we crept across the field to see the piglets :-).
Once the feeding at the farm was complete, we headed off to herd the sheep in nearby fields. The task of the day was to tag all the lambs. We soon learnt how high sheep can jump and the advice not to bend down was useful! Wrangling the sheep was energetic to say the least, but their horns were nice and warm :-).
Once the lamb tagging was complete, our next task was to chase some wild roe deer out of the newly planted plantation. This area was surrounded by deer fence, but somehow the deer had entered and not been able to escape. Meanwhile they were nibbling the tops off all the young trees. So, we traipsed through the rough plantation through bogs and streams and forced the deer to think about finding a way out. This didn’t work, so we opened a gate at one end of the enclosure and chased the deer in that direction. Unfortunately this only partially went to plan. Deer aren’t very bright and so when one was almost at the gate, it decided to change it’s mind and run back through the plantation. Everyone tried to scare it to turn around, but instead of turning around, it decided to jump in the pond and then swim to the other side to avoid us. Second time around, we managed to chase all the deer out of the enclosure.
After delicious wildboar sandwiches, Alan provided us with the treat of the day by taking us up to see the reindeer in the hills. This entailed another quadbike ride, which was considerably bumpier on the moorland, and rather steep at times. The front-wheels did come off the floor a couple of times, but Alan reassuringly said “things happen relatively slowly on the quadbike, so there will be time to jump off if anything happens”. Eventually we made it to the top of the hill and from there we spied the reindeer on the other side of the glen. Alan called them over and 10 minutes later we were surrounded by velvet noses, clicking back legs and big feet. They really are wonderful wonderful creatures and it was great to be re-acquainted with the fantastic summer I spent as a reindeer herder :-). Just before it got really dark, we set off back down the hill on the bike, although Richard decided that running in wellies would be faster, so he ran.
And that was the end of our Scottish adventure, but not the end of our holiday. There was one more day left and so we spent that running the Cannock Trigs fell race. Richard won a barley wine and I was fairly slow, but it was fun and a great way to end the Christmas break.