On Saturday 8th June 20 members of our Aberlour Church walking group, accompanied by three dogs, met in the car park in Tomintoul for our monthly walk. We walked up the main street then along a minor road towards Delnabo and Inchrory estates. We were thrilled to see along the way some curlews and lapwings, a rare treat these days. Turning towards Inchrory, we visited the Queen’s View viewpoint, which offers lovely vistas up the valley of the river Avon, which is the largest tributary of the River Spey and an important salmon spawning ground. Queen Victoria visited Tomintoul in the 1860’s, although she was less than complimentary about the village and its inhabitants. We were lucky in this very wet spell to get a dry day for our walk, although it has to be said we generally get good days. Continuing up the track towards Inchrory, our picnic lunch was taken by a wee burn with only the sound of the water and the birdsong as accompaniment. Bliss.
After lunch our route took us over a bridge and through a farmyard. We were delighted to see so many swallows making full use of the mud to build their nests under the eaves of the farmhouse. I have never seen so many nests in one place, a veritable sheltered housing complex. Rising up above the river we reached Delnabo, a typical baronial house with well maintained grounds and rhododendrons in full bloom. Reaching the river again we crossed the bridge and retraced our steps to the village, this time seeing some roe deer in the fields. It’s always a treat to find a cup of tea and some cake at the end of our walks, and this we found at the Old Fire Station Cafe. The weather was even good enough to sit outside.
This walk for me brought back many happy memories of childhood holidays spent with my grandparents who lived in Tomintoul. We must have been what would probably be called feral these days, since we explored everywhere, the quarry with its lovely wildflowers, the Conglass Burn where I tore my new dress on barbed wire, (oops!) and of course the river Avon itself. A favourite pastime was to search near the clay pigeon shooting ground for unbroken clays, and always a thrill to actually find one.
Our walks are never a route march, with the walking never too strenuous. It’s mainly about getting out in the fresh air and enjoying a good catch up. We are lucky to have on our doorstep both hills and coast, so have very varied walks. If you are a bit apprehensive about joining us on your own, rest assured that we are a very friendly bunch, and a stranger is after all only a friend you haven’t yet met.