Outfitting The Boy for a night in "the wilderness" was never going to be hard; he's as tall as me and has the same "built for speed" physique. If nothing else, he would at least look the part.
Gear was selected for maximum comfort but the ruckies, although bulky, were re-assuringly light. A good thing as I wanted to make this as enjoyable as possible and he'd be carrying all his own gear in.
We arrived at The Linn of Dee car park at 5pm, after a mooch around Braemar Mountain Sports (energy gel shots for him and a Thermarest Ridgerest for me), where my usual fannying about was cut short by his desire to be off.
The walk out to Derry Lodge was a warm one, stopping every now and again to take in the views fore and aft. "Hiya's" and "Hello's" were exchanged with everyone we met along the way. Passing Derry Lodge, I tactfully ignored the wifie having a pee behind the rescue hut (The Boy never noticed). He liked the look of the pitch I'd used last week and had pre-selected it for occupation again. I'd warned him that it might be busy but, despite the weather, there were no tents on our side of the river and only three on the other.
He was keen to get a brew on so clearing the site of pine cones and sticks and getting the tents up took maybe half an hour, if that. A quick demo of how to set his stove up and he was away. In fact, he was sitting down to a cuppa before I was.
He'd previously poured scorn on the idea of eating dehydrated food but he set about his Chicken Korma and rice like a man possessed, declaring it "tasty" between mouthfuls.
The rest of the evening was passed wandering around looking at stuff, snacking and drinking hot chocolate. A couple of deer being weird was the only distraction. We turned in at around 11.
I had a pish night's sleep and, as I lay there for the umpteenth time, listening to the deep breathing of The Boy next door, I resolved to a) research bigger one-man tents, b) buy an inflatable pillow and c) invest in a warmer "summer" bag. 12 feathers wrapped in Quantum doth not a sleeping bag make. When the birds started singing at 3:30, I knew I was on a hiding to nothing. I finally declared the game a bogie at 6:00.
I spent the next couple of hours drinking coffee and watching the wildlife, finally rousing The Boy at 8:00. He immediately set to breakfast like an old hand; stove on, drink selected and muesli prepared in 5 minutes flat.
Another couple of hours mooching around, enjoying the morning and finally packing up at around 10:00.
The only plan for the day was head for the car and get to Braemar in time for lunch. The plan was a good one and went well. We bounced back along the track, stopping frequently to watch the herds of deer, exchange greetings with smiley people and generally having a great time.
I'd explained the concept of The Ignorant Bastard to The Boy beforehand and I feared we might not find one but then, only 10 minutes from the car park, there she was. The body language gave her away; shades on, head down and striding out with a purpose. Sure enough, our "Hiya" and "Hello" were ignored and much hee-hawing and sniggering followed. Her lugs must've been burning. Our grins outshone the sun.
No fannying about in the car park this time either and we were at the Hungry Highlander by 12:30. Food selection was easy; beefburger for him, Venison burger for me. All those deer had put ideas in my head.
On the way back, I asked him how many marks out of ten he'd give our trip. "10", he replied. Excellent :o)