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

Saturday, 31 March 2012

A favourite walk....

Generally the first thing I do when we get back to Scotland, after the unpacking, washing and restocking the food cupboards, is stare out of the window at the wind, rain or low grey cloud and long to go for a walk. But NOT THIS YEAR - the weather was absolutely amazingly bright and sunny yesterday so, finding no suitable excuses, I set off to walk one of my favourite routes.

{Trees just beginning to bud}

Luckily, with the fuel crisis in mind, I can do this walk just by leaving the house, crossing the road, and going over the River Dee onto the Balmoral Estate. 

{The path ahead}

The first thing is to climb through the woodland to Prince Albert's cairn, which is clearly visible from the road at Crathie, but not so obvious when you're going up to it until the last moment when the sudden size of it always takes my breath away. I lingered a while looking at the view over the brown heathery hills and then set off down the other side of the hill.

{The inscription on the pyramid - Prince Albert's Cairn}

As May and the TGO Challenge approaches I find myself spotting places to wild camp, and there are plenty of these places in the forest here. The scent of warm pine trees was everywhere.

{Out into the sunshine..}

Leaving the forest behind I plodded on along a sun-baked landrover track to the bothy at Gelder Shiel. The heather had been burnt in patches and wasn't yet regrowing but there were plenty of tiger beetles rushing out in front of my feet and birds flying up ahead of me. There were also a good number of black and orange butterflies, possibly small tortoiseshells, but they didn't let me get close enough to identify them properly.

{The landrover track}

{The bothy}

Arriving at the bothy I had a look inside. All very spick and span. A bit dark though, so I decided to walk a few steps more and have lunch by the burn. Another walker came by and we chatted a bit, then he went on his way. He'd been up Lochnagar - definitely more energetic than me!  I ate my sandwich and drank some tea and then just out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark movement in the rocks. A smooth bottle green lizard appeared, looked straight at me then darted away again before I could get the camera out!

{Sitting beside the burn}

I decided to wander back the way I had come but then took a detour up another grassy path to have a look at the other cairns. The sun continued to shine so it was too pleasant to rush back to the house. Walking on these bouncy green tracks was such a joy after pounding on the hard sandy surface of the road from the bothy.

{The Purchase cairn - marking the buying of Balmoral by Queen Victoria}

 I finished my circuit by passing the statue of John Brown, now quietly standing in amongst the trees.

{John Brown's statue}


Louise said...

Welcome home! And want a beautiful walk.
Snow forecast for next week...

Laura said...

Snow? Glad I remembered my microspikes then......

Louise said...

That 'want' actually should read 'what'. It was early this morning...

Alan R said...

A lovely area to live in and do a local walk straight from the back door.
You have had some great weather. Pity it doesn’t last.
How can we go from 70 degrees one week to snow the next. Mad.