Monday, December 3, 2012

Backup Plan

Last Thursday I was planning on going on the AWA Explorers hike in Strathdon but because of potential icy roads to get there, it was cancelled. The weather was still projected to be gorgeous so we couldn't let it get away. Tanvi, Laine, Debbie and I messaged back and forth with each other and decided we would head west on Deeside Road to Ballatar to do the Seven Bridges Walk. Deeside Road is a main road that takes you from Aberdeen to Balmoral Castle so, I knew that the grit (mixture of sand and salt) trucks would make their way down that morning to minimize the black ice. We decided to leave once the sun was up and at 'em (which means about 10 o'clock these days) to assure that the temps would be above freezing and the chances for ice minimal.

We loaded up the doggies, bundled ourselves up and enjoyed an absolutely beautiful 7.5 mile walk through the beautiful Scottish countryside. It was cold (probably around freezing or a degree or two above all day) but the sun was in full force (for winter) and there was no wind. Perfection for a late fall/early winter Scottish day!

Angus and Bailey are BFFs
One of Seven Bridges

We stopped for lunch in this beautiful evergreen forest. Are you asking yourself, is this for real? Yes, it is and I have to pinch myself daily. I get to walk through enchanted forests and enjoy a picnic lunch with my best girls on an almost regular basis. It is surreal.
Enchanted Forest

The walk had an optional out and back detour to Knock Castle. Of course we took it because we never pass up a chance to see a random castle ruin in someones back yard :-) Knock Castle is a tower-house which was  typical home for Laird (owner of an estate). This one was built in the late 16th century and like many others built during that time it was small in scale and simply planned but had four floors that were connected by a spiral staircase. This one was owned by the Gordons.

Knock Castle
Angus loves castles
We then walked through an estate complete with Highland coos, a river, a cottage, rolling hills, and snow capped mountains in the distance. I'm starting to wonder if this was all a dream myself but then I have the pictures to prove I was actually there :-)  


A baby coo
Snow in the distance

We then finished up along the beautiful River Dee and through the town of Ballater. It was truly a wonderful day and I'm glad we had a backup plan and took advantage of the perfect (late fall/winter) day!

And the true sign of a successful hike/day is two very tired puppies.

1 comment:

  1. The picture of Angus in front of the castle is so handsome. No wonder Bailey loves him so:)