Walks Blog – Aug 2019

Beer Money Barracks …
You can’t help but feel sorry for the poor English soldiers garrisoned here, in a hostile environment in more ways than one, after the Battle of Culloden in 1745. You might think that extra rations of ale at 2 pennies a pint would have been some compensation, but with wages at 12 pennies a day, maybe not so much … 🤔
John’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2Laxevj , 30th August, 2019









A New Favourite Castle …!
Checking out a future walk route from Corgarff Castle this afternoon. It’s not one of Aberdeenshire’s “fairytale” castles but, for me, it’s all the better for that. Looking forward to the return visit soon … 😊💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/1nlyA , 30th August, 2019










Walk (084) Torphins – “Netherlands” Circuit (Aberdeenshire)
This is a very pleasant rural walk in the scenic countryside around Torphins, an attractive Deeside village. The village essentially grew out of the arrival of the Deeside railway line in the 1850’s, in support of the huge changes in agriculture at the time. The old farmstead called “Netherlands”, sitting below the head of the Learney valley marks the return point on a route characterised by sweeping vistas over mid-Deeside … 😀
John’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2KZUs7f , 28th August, 2019





Fields of Golden Memories …!
We’re now well into the “hairst” and we were walking in golden countryside today. Machinery has moved on since this photo of my brother, Denis, and I was taken at Westside 40+ years ago but the race is still on to be done before the weather breaks. A special treat for me that day – wee me wasn’t usually allowed anywhere near the combine harvester …! 😀
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/60MpO , 27th August, 2019












Walk (083) Lumphanan-Tullochvenus Circular (Aberdeenshire)
This walk offers some fantastic views from Glenshalg Hill, overlooking the Deeside village of Lumphanan. On a good day you will pick out The Hill of Fare, Clachnaben, Mount Keen, Lochnagar and Morven, amongst others. The walk leaves Lumphanan, heading north on a section of the Old Military Road that ran from Fochabers to Fettercairn … 😀
John’s Facebook page: https://t.ly/vR9kx , 26th August, 2019












The Overgrown Old Military Road …!
Walking near Lumphanan, today, the first stretch was in a jungle of tall bracken and ferns. The views soon opened up, though, and, when they did, they sure were wow spectacular …! 😁💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/xjyEp , 24th August, 2019











Getting in Some Garden Time at Crathes …
The plan was a walk in the estate after a quick look around the gardens. Instead, we spent hours amongst the flowers and plants … and the walk will be another day …! 😁💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/1n8We , 23rd August, 2019











Crazy Cuts at Crathes …!
Visiting Crathes Castle today. History, gardens, dragonflies and crazy topiary – what’s not to love … 😁
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/z6d6Z , 23rd August, 2019










Walk (082) Cullen-Logie Head-Crannoch Wood Circular (Moray)
This very enjoyable walk provides an unusual and interesting mix of coastal walking, combined with rolling farmland, pine woodland, and scenic open countryside. Cullen is an attractive large village with a long history and there is now a clear distinction between picturesque and colourful Seatown of Cullen, the old fishing quarter, nestled into the broad bay, and the grander “New Cullen” rising uphill and inland … 












All’s Well at Cullen …
A great hike from Cullen today following a possible route we’d spotted on a previous visit. We were a little apprehensive-there was potential for overgrown and landslipped paths … but all was well … 😊💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/DnW3A , 21st August, 2019











Our Amazing Ancestors …!
On a bike run this afternoon, I stopped at a quiet spot on a minor road above the hamlet of Keig to check out a stone circle I knew was hidden in a belt of trees on the hillside below me. When I reached the circle I was taken aback by how big the recumbent stone was, with 9ft high flankers on either side. In fact, it was awe-inspiring. The circle looks south and has a commanding view over the Howe of Alford. Apparently, the recumbent stone is the largest ever found in such a circle, weighing in at an estimated 53 tons, and it is believed that it must have been dragged from a place in the Don valley about 10km away. The last 1km would have been uphill at a gradient of 1:14, requiring well over 100 people! A colossal undertaking by our Neolithic ancestors … 🤔
John’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2KKYn8d , 19th August, 2019







Walk (081) Suie Hill-Knock Saul Return [Gordon Way] (Aberdeenshire)
This is an enjoyable walk, mostly in conifer woodland, with some sections through heather moorland. The views from the return point at Knock Saul are wonderful, taking in the patchwork of Aberdeenshire farmland and forests below you, then on to extensive vistas of more distant hilltops … 😀
John’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2KFe4xr , 19th August, 2019











All Around Views from Knock Saul …
Mostly dark and moody skies as we climbed Suie Hill and on to Knock Saul today. The rain stayed off, though, and the 360 degrees views of rural Aberdeenshire make the wee ascents well worth the effort … 😊💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/LqyMV , 17th August, 2019











Colour Under the Clouds …!
Even on a cloudy day, the colours at Pitmedden Garden are vibrant and eye-catching … 😁💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2KEPsVJ , 16th August, 2019












Picturesque Pitmedden …
Our first visit of the summer to Pitmedden Garden today. One of our favourites … 😊
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31IZ9Ik , 16th August, 2019











Touching Base with Barrie …
It’s always fun checking out local haunts when Barrie comes to stay.  Haste ye back, amigo … 😁💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31DJU3d , 14th August, 2019












Hairstin Time …
Showing off west Aberdeenshire to a visiting friend yesterday, it’s clear we’re close to hairstin’ time (harvest!) … 😁💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31BQDLa , 14th August, 2019












Walk (080) Bin Forest-Ferny Knowe-Queen Tree Trail (Aberdeenshire)
This route offers a gentle walking excursion in a large area of pine forest with mixed woodland on the slopes of the Bin Hill just west of Huntly. The Bin Forest contains many of Aberdeenshire’s most impressive grand Douglas Firs. Some date back to the original planting of the forest in the 1840s …😀
John’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31uk41z , 11th August, 2019











Down Amongst the Douglas Firs …
We went down to the woods today, and what woods they were! The Bin Forest, near Huntly, contains many of Aberdeenshire’s most impressive grand firs. Some date back to the original planting of the forest in the 1840s, and are among the oldest in the country. The original “grandmother” fir trees planted here grew from seeds brought back from North America by the intrepid Scottish botanist David Douglas. Unfortunately David died a mysterious death, as a young man of 35, crushed by a wild bull in a pit-trap in Hawaii in 1834 … but that’s another story … 🤔
John’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31o5dWy , 10th August, 2019







Fall-back to Flora and Fauna …!
Walking in the Bin Forest earlier, open views were more limited than we like. But the countless butterflies and colourful ‘shrooms made up for that … 😁
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/2b9d , 10th August, 2019










A Bite to Eat at the Bin Forest …
A snack-stop with a view … 😊💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2KtiF5Y , 10th August, 2019










Walk (079) Bellabeg-Doune of Invernochty Circuit (Aberdeenshire)
This is a very pleasant ramble around and about the hamlet of Bellabeg in the remote area of Upper Donside known as Strathdon. There are fine open views to appreciate throughout most of the walk. Each year, in late August, the Lonach Highlanders gather here in highland dress to celebrate the history of their community. Along the way we pass the Poldullie Bridge, a rare and captivating example of a single arch stone bridge, constructed in 1715. Unlike many of its neighbours, the bridge survived the catastrophic “Muckle Spate” of August 1829. Near the end of the walk we pass the Doune of Invernochty, the massive earthwork “motte and bailey” remains of a 12thC Norman fortress … 😀
John’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/RNjb , 8th August, 2019







Braw Capercaillie …?
The bench in the photo here refers to the “braw Capercaillie”. We’re pretty sure we heard one of these rare and elusive birds yesterday, amongst the old pines high above us. Though, I guess it’s possible it was only a sheep with a sore throat … 😁
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2Km7Ylt , 7th August, 2019












Beautiful Bellabeg …!
Back in the Aberdeenshire countryside yesterday, exploring upper Donside … 😀💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31sBdsn , 7th August, 2019












Walk (078) Tarfside-Hill of Rowan Circuit (Angus)
This is a fairly gentle introduction to walking in the Angus Hills. The Hill of Rowan is a rounded, heather-clad low hill at the head of Glen Esk, with a large distinctive stone monument on top, which stands out for miles around. From the hilltop and elsewhere, there are marvellous views of this remote area, particularly down to the River North Esk, the entrance to Glen Mark, and the many surrounding hills at the eastern edge of the Cairngorms … 😀
John’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/675Y , 5th August, 2019






A Colourful Coastal Path …
Walking the Johnshaven to Benholm coast yesterday, no shortage of floral beauties along the way … 🙂
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/31juwsJ , 4th August, 2019











A Good Route-finding Recce …
We had a successful recce of a future walk at Johnshaven and Benholm today. We rooted around a bit and discovered how we could improve the planned route … and … we got an idea for another walk from Inverbervie. All for another day … when we make return visit to the Kincardineshire coast … 🙂
John’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/GN3r , 3rd August, 2019










Gourdon Sur La Mer …!
No, not the Med – it’s Gourdon on a sunny summer’s afternoon … 😊💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/vyPx , 4th August, 2019










Hill of Rowan in Tarfside …
A first visit to Glen Esk in the Angus hills today. About as remote as it comes in the eastern Cairngorms … 😁💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://bit.ly/2YHRA2K , 2nd August, 2019











Shine On Stonehive …
Stonehaven tonight. Shining in the summer evening light … 😊💙
Alison’s Facebook post: https://t.ly/pPXk , 1st August, 2019

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