My plan for Saturday was to paddle the Dee from Braemar down to Ballater, while Mhairi's was to give her new bike a good spin down the cycle track from Ballater to Aboyne, and return by the minor road on the south side of the river.
We went to the first parking place beyond the rapids at Invercauld Bridge, and Mhairi helped me get the boat down to the water. I set off paddling, and she set off in Argie with vague arrangements to meet up as near the river in Ballater as possible.
The trip was superb, with enchanting scenery, lots of negotiation of rapids and shallows, and interesting wildlife. Trout were rising freely, and around 1pm I witnessed the biggest hatch of fly I have ever seen.
After about four and a half hours I arrived, sodden, tired but happy at our rendezvous at Ballater. Mhairi arrived just ten minutes later after an excellent cycle trip.
Mhairi, meanwhile, was making excellent progress, and despite misgivings had gone over the crest at the Glen Shee ski centre and was heading for Bridge of Cally or Blairgowrie.
I used her superb progress as an excuse for cold feet in relation to the route Medium Cool and set off as soon as possible to intercept her on the road. There was a long diversion up Glen Gairn and back over the hill road to Crathie, as the main road was closed due to an accident. The road was very busy, but superb views of the hills, still holding lots of snow in norther coires, compensated for the delay
Eventually I caught up with Mhairi in the centre of Blairgowrie. She'd done 50 miles and 1200 metres of ascent. The girl done good!