Viewing entries tagged
Aberdeenshire

June in the Cairngorms - Highlights

Comment

June in the Cairngorms - Highlights

A selection of photos and highlights from June, my favourite moment watching my talented daughter Emma play fiddle at An Lochan Uaine, the green lochan. It's such a beautiful place and the slow waltz added to the special atmosphere.

Emma at An Lochan Uaine

Emma at An Lochan Uaine

I was fortunate to have a few trips to the hills in June with some lovely clients with a few wanders over the plateau, peering into the corries and lochs.

Loch A'an

Loch A'an

Loch Etchachan

Loch Etchachan

I also had a couple of visits to Ben Macdui, mixed weather on both occasions!

Ben Macdui Summit

Ben Macdui Summit

On our way up Derry Cairngorm

On our way up Derry Cairngorm

Derry Cairngorm

Derry Cairngorm

With a few trips to Lochnagar too....my favourite.

Lochnagar

Lochnagar

Walking down to Loch Muick

Walking down to Loch Muick

And some lovely woodland walks as well :)

My June outings were a mix of planned events and bespoke requests. If you'd like to join me on a walk get in touch, navigation tuition also available on my outings.

Comment

Lochnagar Sunset

Comment

Lochnagar Sunset

Lochnagar Sunset

With glorious weather all week I had an itching to get up high for a camp and take in the sunset over the Cairngorms. So after cutting the grass I headed out Thursday afternoon to Loch Muick, via a quick stop in Ballater to drop off some flyers at the library. As usual, Ballater was looking fantastic in the sunshine, a TV crew were out on the village green, probably for voting day, as were many of the locals, taking in the sunshine. The town is so vibrant and the reconstruction of the old railway station is well underway, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Spital of Glen Muick visitor centre

Spital of Glen Muick visitor centre

The car park at Loch Muick was quite full which was no surprise but folks were starting to return from their walks to head home. Some weary looking but mostly happy! I timed my departure to give me enough time to pitch my tent just down from the top of Lochnagar, over toward the Stuic.

Red Spout

Red Spout

There was a reasonable breeze giving a little wind chill but nothing a hat and warm layer wouldn't fix. On my way up I stopped at foxes for a drink, hearing the noises above, I looked up and watched an eagle and raven in overhead battle. The raven was trying her best to see of the eagle, which flew off calmly in the direction of Conachcraig and didn't seem to be fussed about the raven! After reaching the top, just before 8pm I put on my extra duvet coat and sat watching the clouds and views unfold, with the sun stretching the shadows over the glens, Lochnagar itself completely in shadow.

Campsite toward the Stuic

Campsite toward the Stuic

On my way to pitch my tent I passed a fit trail runner in shorts and t-shirt, a quick run up Lochnagar, a couple of selfies perhaps, then off over the Stuic! I pitched my tent out of the wind best I could, put the kettle on and took in the views until I was in need of my bed.

Stuic and Loch nan Eun

Stuic and Loch nan Eun

In the morning I went back up to Lochnagar, then headed back to Loch Muick via Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach and Dubh Loch. I took a break at Dubh Loch as it's such a beautiful place, I was tempted for a swim but resisted, so instead I sat on a rock and watched the swirls in the water and looked for trout rises. On my way down to the loch, I stopped to watch quite a few mountain hare, now in their summer coats, galloping around the hillside. I didn't see any deer or catch sight of a dropped antlers but I did see some interesting remains of what looked to be grouse and a couple raven feathers.

Grouse feathers

Grouse feathers

Mountain Hare

Mountain Hare

Dubh Loch

Dubh Loch

The heather down toward Loch Muick is starting to take colour too, with the odd sprig of yellow flowers which is really cheery. The sundews and butterworts, really shooting up as well, I've a feeling they will be busy this year!

I've uploaded a wee video to YouTube which you can view here, this will hopefully give you an idea of the views, although they never do it justice, you have to be there, breathe and feel it. Apologies it's a little shaky in places. I was getting fed up with the standard backing tracks offered by Apple so I asked my 15yo daughter Emma to lay down a track for me last night, Maggie West's Waltz by Mairearad Green, this could be a new feature on my videos!

If you'd like to join me on a walk get in touch. Our next planned event is 20th May but we welcome bespoke outings too.

Bridge over the Muick

Bridge over the Muick

Comment

Bennachie - A long history to be discovered

Comment

Bennachie - A long history to be discovered

Bennachie - A long history to be discovered

Each time I go out for a walk I like to learn something new. I've been using field study council publications for a while now, they produce great fold out study guides that fit easily into my rucksack, ranging from lichens to rocks. There's so much diverse flora, fauna and geology in our hills and it changes with the seasons. 

I also like to learn about the local history, so if you're ever out for a walk with me please share your knowledge! Prior to going somewhere I read up on the area, sources from books to Wikipedia but you can't cover all of the history or stories.

I've walked on Bennachie for many years knowing roughly the older history of the hill. Bennachie, possibly from the Gaelic, Beinn na Cìche (Hill of the Breast), resulting in Mither Tap, the lesser top of the hill, Oxen Craig stands 11m taller. It's also possible it comes from Hill of the Battle (Beinn a' Chath) as it's been suggested the battle of Mons Graupius, a Roman military victory took place there in AD83. Mither tap also has the remains of the Iron Age fort at the top, being the dominant hill in the area, you can only imagine the stronghold and the significance of the hill. Life must have been hard at the top of the hill! Aberdeenshire is notable for it's number of recumbent stone circles, possibly from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (c.2700 - 200bc) and I can imagine Bennachie being the epicentre of these circles, although there is a theory Dunnideer near Insch might have been the focal point.

On my navigation session on Monday I was made aware of the air crashes on the hill, somehow this had passed me by previously. We started the session inside the excellent visitor centre classroom, looking at maps and hill kit. Inside the classroom some of the plane remains hang from the ceiling. During the afternoon walk on the hill, two of the local gents were able to share their knowledge of the events. Sadly two young men were the first casualties of WW2 on Bennachie. The Bailies of Bennachie website tells more of the story, you can read it here.

Navigation practice with Mither Tap behind

Navigation practice with Mither Tap behind

I'll visit the memorial cairn next time I take a walk alone on the hill.

Comment