Aviemore to Boat of Garten Walk – 10th August 2019:

Starting Point: Take A95 Grantown road. Less than a mile before Gran-town turn left on B970 signposted Coylumbridge/Nethybridge. Go through Nethybridge, and in about 4 miles turn right at signpost for Boat of Garten. The main road through the village turns at right angles to the left, and then to the right. After this look out for Andersons Restaurant on left and bus stop nearby, and park where you can. Bus: from Boat of Garten we take bus to Aviemore. Get off bus at Burnside South bus stop. Route: from outskirts of Aviemore by Spey-side Way to Boat of Garten. Distance: 5½ miles. Walk is mainly level, and paths are good. Wear boots or strong footwear. 

THE WALK:

After three days of persistent and at times torrential rain, it was perhaps no surprise that only five of us pitched up for the monthly walk on August 10th.  Meeting at Boat of Garten, we took the bus to Aviemore and walked back.  The sun was out, and we had a delightful moorland walk.  Along the way we picked beautifully sweet geans, the last of the raspberries, and the mushroom lovers were thrilled to find a bounty of chanterelles. We saw many butterflies and moths among the heather as well as some impressive ants’ nests.  While we had our piece, the steam train went past, a special treat.  Yes, we did get damp on the final stretch into Boat of Garten, but all in all a lovely day with stunning views of the Cairngorms.  Do join us next time, we need you.

Lorna

Portsoy to Sandend Walk 13th July 2019

After parking at the harbour, we set off by heading back into the village and
climbed some steps to join the footpath leading to Barbank Street, which
gave us a fine view of the harbour and the many buildings surrounding it.
There were a few drops of rain and a chilly breeze, so it was jackets on, but
after leaving the village the sun came out and the waterproofs were promptly
put back into our bags.

We hugged the dramatic and rugged coastline from Portsoy to Sandend, passing
an outdoor swimming pool; a disused rifle range; nesting seabirds; pill
boxes and various other war time defences. We walked on roads, grassed
footpaths, farm tracks, gorse-lined paths and along the sandy seashore at
Sandend.

There are lots of walking paths around Portsoy and in several places on our
walk we came across empty milk cartons which had been tied to fences.   These empty milk cartons had a hole cut in the side and were filled with dog poo bags – a very useful reminder for those with dogs to pick up their doggie
mess.

After a picnic lunch at Sandend, it was back along the beach to the steps,
through the gorse and on to join the farmland tracks back into Portsoy.

The 3 dogs who joined us, also loved their run around on the beach too. 

Brenda Cooper

Tomintoul Walk 8th June 2019

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.

Lorna S