You know the feeling: you go out in the car with very young children and you’re hardly a mile down the road when they start asking, Are we nearly there yet?
I think our latest walk was a bit like that. It had been described in our programme as a circular walk round Loch Shandra. 6 miles. After 6 miles, we still hadn’t even SEEN Loch Shandra.
Starting point was the car-park at Freuchies in Glenisla, and we were to do the route in an anti-clockwise direction. So far, so good.
We set off uphill on a tarred road. After about a mile and a half, the road surface changed and the track divided.
We took the right hand fork and soon we could see Glenmarkie Lodge in the distance. Since leaving Freuchies, this was the only habitation we had seen.
Painted white, it is an impressive building set against a backdrop of hills and trees.
Our route took us past the side of this and then left. Now we had forested hills on either side of us and a path that seemed to go up and up...... But where was the loch?
You’ll have to go round this hill first,we were told. Eventually we came to a sort of crossroads of paths, where we went straight ahead, following a sign that indicated we were 3 miles from Freuchies.
From this point on we started to go downhill and could appreciate the views more.
To our left, Crock Hill had been almost completely cleared of trees and there were huge track marks everywhere.
Eventually a cheer went up from the front of our group: Loch Shandra was in sight! It is a very small loch, possibly man-made; certainly adapted.
A wee cottage, with its own turbine, overlooks the loch. That day, the trees in the garden were just beginning to change colour and it was a lovely sight.
We had a brief stop at the end of the loch, to enjoy the view back over the water, then made our way back to the cars. Distance covered was 8 miles.
The group that did the shorter walk also followed a circular route which took them past the boathouse on the loch.
They had more luck than us in that they saw a fox and a buzzard.
On the journey up the glen those in the minibus saw a red squirrel, as did some of us on our journey home.
The next walk will be on Tuesday October 14 , from Inverbervie to Benholm and return. Starting point will be the car park at the beach in Bervie.
As usual, the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10am.