Saturday 31 December 2016

So, That Was 2016…

Well, there was some walking this year, totalling around 1,201.84 miles 88,478.12 feet ascent, but I didn’t walk with Laura until February. We also went to a family wedding in February, which was a lovely social for us in Glasgow.
March saw some walking with Laura and our three young athletes were competing in the Scottish Air Pistol Championships in Edinburgh.
April saw more Challenge preparation with Laura on the Fishwives Walk.
And then there was May, when I backpacked across Scotland with my world on my back to for two weeks, this time crossing from Oban to Stonehaven. I had a fabulous time.
More local strolling for me around Altyre Estate during June, with a little DofE thrown in for fun.
July saw us venture to York for a few days of leisure.
August was a bit busier, we took the athletes to Surrey to compete in the Junior International Championships, we did some more DofE, we had a wonderful time with visitors Mick and Gayle and Rhiannon and Ciara moved into the flat they’re sharing in Aberdeen whilst they are both at University there.
A fab walk with Mick and Gayle
In September, as well as finally seeing our Silver Group pass their Expedition, I also found ‘Harry Houdini, the Disappearing Hernia’, hopefully he should be sorted in the next couple of months…
October, November and December saw me enjoying lots of local walks and some with Laura too. Aedan was still competing and performing well at two competitions at Cardiff.
The Lovely Laura
All in all, we’ve had a busy year, all good fun and hopefully there’ll be more to come in the New Year, who knows!
SlĂ inte mhor!!
PS I apologise for the lack of photographs, I’ll come back and add some over the next few days!!

Thursday 24 November 2016

The Missing Walks

Updating my photograph folder, I realised I have not documented the last three walks I’ve enjoyed with Laura, silly me!

The first Missing Walk was back on the 19th of October.

It wasn’t an exciting walk, it should have been productive, had we not both forgotten to do what we’d intended! Still, we had a lovely stroll to Aberlour and back via the Speyside Way and might have squeezed in a coffee and a scone at a local cafe while we there. Rude not to.

It was a cool day, and a bit damp at time requiring a waterproof faff, but pleasant enough and we enjoyed ourselves.


Lots of berries


Lovely tree


Lots of weather


Bouncy bridge on the way there…


…and on the way back.

Roughly 8.14 miles and Viewranger is currently telling me a total of 1063 ft of ascent, but I would dispute this…

So, the second Missing Walk took place on 26th October and should have been one walk, but we chopped it in half. Ouch!

We started this and the next walk from Logie Steading, because then we could finish each walk with coffee and cake, or similar.

Done as a whole, the walk would see me on ground I know rather well, but put together with some vague and unfamiliar bits, including a path near the start of the walk that I’ve known about for a while but never found. Once on it, all became clear and I was quite chuffed to be using it at last! We wandered along some tracks eventually that I have been on before, but heading the other way, which makes things look very different, and in very wet weather. I admit to feeling quite uncomfortable around the Dunphail Estate, the people I met before did not seem overly pleased to see this group of damp, giggly girls, so this time with Laura I was a tad jumpy until we left the estate, crossed the Grantown Road and gained the Dava Way, much better, and the bit that I don’t mind walking.

*Harry the Hernia started to nag a bit before we got back to the Steading, but after we’d eaten our sandwiches in the car, I felt well enough to venture into the steading for coffee and a scone.


Not so hidden path once found


Gorgeous autumn colours




Novelty Gnomes at the estate work sheds


This and the surrounding estates are full of fabulous trees


Laura and I practiced our Latin translation…


Information board on the Dava Way, just after Dunphail

Roughly 6.16 miles and 707 ft total ascent.

Third of the Missing Walks was on 3rd November and was the northern half of the circuit, again, we set out from Logie Steading, retracing our steps to Peathillock before setting off along the Dava Way. I’d planned an interesting route to shorten the circuit slightly, firstly because otherwise we’d be tired and secondly, to avoid the shoot, I don’t like bumping into them if I can avoid it. So, we left the Way and headed for Drumine, with the attention of taking another track. However, there was a bit of a livestock issue in the shape of a herd of cattle and a flock of stupid sheep. The gate that lead in to the field was open, but we decided to follow the fence line instead in the hope we’d be able to cross the fence further down and get straight in to the woodland, then regain the track. Easier said than down. We found a gate in a handy place, but it had to be climbed as we couldn’t open it. As we followed the fence across the bottom of the field, the cows started to show little too much interest in us and we decided to cross the fence sooner rather than later to allow a controlled exit rather than a hurried one. But this happened.



After a bit of rough ground through the trees, we regained the main track, but only for a short while as I’d planned to take another little track. It soon appeared and looked good. It got a big vague after a while, then disappeared, but we didn’t have far to go to meet the road, so plunged on through the woods over somewhat interesting ground until we eventually popped out onto the road, almost exactly as planned. Another unknown track was then taken, but it didn’t lead us too far astray and we soon crossed the Grantown Road, again.

At,Sluie we had a little fumble to find our way, it is a long time since I walked these paths and I was entering from a different point, which is a bit off putting, but eventually we were on the ‘interesting’ path by the side of the River Findhorn. Fabulous river, but much underestimated and one of Britain’s most dangerous rivers. The banks on both sides are overlooked by some amazing trees looking absolutely wonderful in their autumn colour.

At one point, just as I remembered, we skipped around a barrier that looks like a fence and I failed to point this out to Laura, who was a little perturbed when the path somewhat disappeared down the precipitously sloping bank. Sorry Laura! I’m so used to the little scrambly bit I’d forgotten it was there.

Still, we survived the slippery, slidey mud and the interesting set of steps and made it back to the steading in time for a delicious bowl of soup, a pot of tea and a scone (…the seems to be a theme developing…)


On the other side of the fence




Nice looking track


Laura popping out onto the road, all innocent like


River Findhorn, through the trees










Logie House

Roughly 7.06 miles and 744 ft total ascent.

A fab three walks in excellent company, has to be said!

*Harry the Hernia is the Femoral Hernia I am currently waiting for surgery for. Keeps disappearing…

Saturday 10 September 2016

Playing Catch Up

During Mick and Gayle’s visit the other week, Gayle had ticked off a couple of Marilyns that actually feature on mine and Laura’s Trigpointing list that we have been putting off for a while, so, they had to be done, tout suite.

We were both a little short of free time, but an opportunity arose on Thursday morning and arrangements were made to meet at a suitable place to abandon a car and a van at the Hill of the Wangie. It was perfect walking weather to start, slightly cloudy, cool but not cold. We had some great views on the way up.


The tracks always head uphill


Ben Rinnes, through the trees


Ben Rinnes to the left, the Cromdale Hills right of centre


And without the trees in the way

Having abandoned the vehicles, we set off round the gate and uphill at rather a pace. We soon settled down to a much better speed and made our way steadily up, up and yet further up. We were able to take a mix of forestry tracks and mountain bike routes, then we took a suitable looking firebreak with one or two blow-downs to negotiate before we had to take the plunge and weave our way through the trees in the general direction of the trig (using GPS at this point). It was not difficult to locate and we soon had this one ticked off.



Following mountain bike tracks uphill


In the middle of nowhere, an abandoned wheel barrow!




Weaving through the trees


The elusive trig

We decided to continue on along the firebreak we were now in until we met the forestry track further along than where we’d left it and made our way down from there.

We managed to stretch this one out to 2.57 miles and 478 ft roughly and it was really good fun to boot!

Having returned to the vehicles, we decided to move them to the next parking spot before having lunch, so off we went to Burgiehill, parked up and then I joined Laura in the van for a sandwich and a spot of Fly Flapping.


Another view of Ben Rinnes and the Cromdale Hills


Fighting through the bushes


The trig is hidden in the trees and bushes on the left, with the large pylon behind…

We eventually set off to follow forestry tracks virtually all the way to the trig, with me recognising the tracks and realising, I’ve been here before, although several years ago and before I’d started ticking them off. Having found and found the trig, hidden in bushes next to a pylon, we initially decided on a more direct route out to meet the original track. After a short time, stumbling over heather, tussocks and the odd vicious fallen tree, we decided to cut down the next fire break instead, as we are lazy trigpointers and this was becoming less fun. And it started to rain.

There was no hanging about when we got back to the vehicles as I had washing on the line that needed to be rescued, so I shot off PDQ.

We stretched this one to 2.3 miles and 224 ft. We had quite a giggle, has to be said! Great fun Laura, thanks for the company and the laugh, on to the next!

Thursday 8 September 2016

A Trigpoint and an Accidental Marilyn

With the imminent arrival of visitors Mick and Gayle, I had to get the maps out (…opened Viewranger on my mobile…) and decide where I was going to take them. I quickly decided Carn na Loine was a good idea, as I had failed to walk it a couple of weeks previously after having sat and looked at it for a few minutes.

So, that was the plan and after a bit of morning faff, off we went to abandon the car near Auchnagallin and set off to take the track  to Auchnahannet. The weather was good, a beautiful sky with a few clouds and fabulous views, all part of the planning, of course. The track took us steadily, but gently, uphill till the point at which we had to leave it to strike out over open ground. It was a little heathery, a little tussocky and a little wet, but nowhere near as wet as I might normally expect for the area. I toiled somewhat up this little pimple of a hill, more than I had hoped for even if I had lost a little fitness since May. I regularly stopped to admire the view. A lot.






Looking back along the track towards the Cairngorms

After some time, the ground flattened out and the trig came in to view. Photographs were taken, distant mountains were identified, then the chill began to set in and Gayle and I strode off confidently in the correct direction. It wasn’t hard.


Towards the Black Isle, Ben Wyvis just right of centre


The Knock of Braemoray, just left of centre


Ben Rinnes


The Cairngorms


The going, however, was a bit testing. There was plenty more heather and tussocks with lots of deep, damp holes hidden amongst it all. There was some impressive arm waving accompanied by the obligatory “Woo hoo!!” It took quite some time to meet the track by Sgor Gaoithe that we were looking for and by the time we got there, it was declared to be time for lunch and a suitable picnic rock was found.

After lunch we went on a little adventure to find Huntly’s Cave, of which there are two in the area. This one was up a mini glen to the side of our track and a pleasant few minutes was spent scrambling around the rocks before we found what was just big enough to be called a cave. We soon went on our way as we were now but a short distance from the car.


View from the lunch rock


Heading along the mini glen


Determined to find the cave




Following Mick back to the path


Our hill, Carn na Loine, on the left, Tom Mor onthe right with the mast

It was a fabulous day! And a lovely walk with great company, made all the better when, once Gayle knew the hill I’d taken them to was actually on her list of Marilyns to be ticked. Bonus!

Thank you, and please come again!!

Approximately 5.83 miles and 1,092 ft