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

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Short walk from Ballater.....

Following a road out of Ballater towards the banks of the River Dee I was retracing a walk I once made frequently. Usually I was accompanied by at least 15 children and their clip boards. We were heading towards the river where we would study trees or lichen or mini-beasts or look for a picnic spot for teddy-bears.

{Our route towards the river}

The road is quiet now, with a distinctive curve.....

{Here's a clue...}

Although the trains didn't run this far, the way was prepared for an extension up to Braemar. That never happened as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert wouldn't agree to the railway passing through the Balmoral Estate as it would 'frighten the horses'........

I am soon at the edge of the Craigendarroch Wood, with its grand oak trees. The trunk of the largest tree would be eagerly measured by at least 3 children to find out how long it had been standing here.  Using a rough method we could find the age of this tree.  Assuming a broadleaf tree grows at least 2 cms larger annually, the circumference was measured at about 1.5 cms from the ground then we could divide the length of our out-stretched arms by 2 and find the number of years.  It worked out to somewhere around 250 - sometimes.......

{The oldest tree in the wood}

 A little bit further on and the fallen leaves reveal why this woodland was such a great place to study lichen.


{Lichen laden trees}

The path was muddy and slightly slippery now but I wandered on. Getting out and about this week has been difficult and I've been suffering from cabin fever.

The River Dee was bouncing along and very full after the recent snow and rain. Soon it was time to cross a small gorge by a small bridge. This is known as Postie's Leap. There are two local stories about this bridge. Either the postman coming this way before there was a bridge had to jump the small gorge or it refers to a love-lorn postie who threw himself into the river and was drowned at this spot. The bridge was replaced with the help of young people staying at the Ballater Field Centre one summer when I first worked there.

{The footbridge at Postie's Leap}

Just before the path arrived at the Bridge of Gairn cemetery I paused to look at St. Mungo's Well. This once refreshed the weary traveller but is now mostly overgrown. Years ago there was a metal cup attached by a chain for drinking and I was pleased to see that, although that was now missing, someone had left a green enamel mug there.


{St Mungo's Well}

Walking up to the main road took a couple of minutes and I then made my way back into the village as a weak sun went down behind the hills. There aren't many hours of daylight here at this time of the year.


{View to the hills at dusk}





5 comments:

John J said...

I think you had the better deal with your walk today - at least you had hills to look at!

Timperley has been grim this afternoon, a walk into Sale along the Bridgewater Canal towpath was cold and wet - but it was infinitely better than driving through the heavy pre-Christmas traffic.

JJ

Alan R said...

I second that JJ. Maybe short days but a lovely area. Cabin fever is spreading south at a rapid rate.

Louise said...

Hmm, I'm struggling to get any decent walking done, there's just not enough light or the weather is too grim!
Hope the specialist is nice to you xx

Because They're There said...

That's interesting about the well. St Mungo's real name was St Kentigern, the son of a 6th Century Celtic prince. Mungrisedale in Cumbria is named after him, the local church being St Kentigern's. He pops up in some strange places so he obviously got around a bit.
Cheers, Alen McF

Laura said...

Hi Alen - Thanks for the extra bit of info - actually, the Anglican church in Ballater is St. Kentigern's.....