.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Walks in the Ballochbuie Forest

I've been trying to increase my walking days out in an attempt to get a bit fitter for the TGO Challenge which is now not very many weeks away (eeeek!). There's been some gorgeous weather too, which is a bonus!

If I leave the house here I can be over on the Balmoral Estate in about 10 minutes where there are forest tracks, moorland paths and some spectacular walks to put together.

{Approaching the Gelder Burn}

I had never explored the forest towards Braemar except for using the track closest to the river and the Glen Gelder access to the bothy so I thought it was time to remedy that. A visit to the Garbh Allt Falls was the first project, it takes me across the moorland and into the Ballochbuie Forest.

{Looking into the water from the bridge over the Gelder Burn}

The track was a bit dusty and stony but I was soon at the hut where I had some soup and a humous pitta (yum!) before setting off on the little narrow path through the heather. It was a bit boggy in places and there were some accidental detours into rather deep peaty pools.

{The hut just before the Feith an Laoigh path}

Making sure I took the right track I soon found myself fairly high up in the Forest looking down on the big pine trees. The Ballochbuie Forest was bought in 1878 by Queen Victoria to save it from being felled for timber. There are some of the oldest Scots Pine trees in the country here.

{A fine new bridge to cross the Allt Lochan nan Eun}

Once over the bridge the landscape changed, becoming more managed looking. After another, but much older, bridge, the track became a forest road, wide enough for landrovers. I could hear the Falls before I reached them. There's a Victorian metal bridge over the top of them, but by now I was concerned to get back to the road as I had planned to catch the bus home. I took a photo but didn't venture any nearer.

{Garbh Allt Falls through the trees}

{The White Bridge}

I was pleased to reach the White Bridge crossing the Dee but then really disappointed to find the door at the other side of the bridge was firmly locked. With no chance of climbing over (rather high and spiky) I had to turn round and walk further on to the Invercauld Bridge. Fortunately there was still time to catch the bus home.

This walk was measured by Viewranger as 17.7 km.

{Invercauld Bridge}

I was back at the bridge a couple of days later, Him Indoors having dropped me off on his way to Edinburgh. The plan was to walk up through the Forest and then climb over An Slugan and drop down past Loch Phadruig.

This high part of the Ballochbuie was nothing short of spectacular. It was very calm and quiet among the trees and I caught sight of several roe deer feeding together. My attempt at a photo was not very successful - nice trees, but the deer swiftly ran away.

{The Ballochbuie Forest}

The track was easy walking but once I arrived at the fishing hut I knew I would have to strike out across the heather to climb up to the bealach. Although it was a bit wet in places there was a sort of path to follow some of the time.

{Fishing hut}

The ground was very wet around the Loch and took some careful walking so as not to fall into the peaty water. Once at the edge of the loch I had my sandwiches and enjoyed the peaceful setting. Unlike mountain lakes in the Alps there was no-one else around.

{Loch Phadruig}

After lunch it was more heather and bog hopping to drop down to the Loch Callater track and then back to Braemar. Fortunately it was a dry day, I think this would be a miserable descent in the rain!


Viewranger stats for this walk (including the slog back to Braemar on the tarmac) were 15 kms and 519 m of ascent.

{Beautiful, mature Scots Pine}


Louise said...

All rather lovely Laura and worth waiting for the report (this is the one from before Cromdale, I presume?).
See you soon!!!

Laura said...

One before and one after Cromdale - last week was quite a busy one! Weather not so good this week - very windy....