This was our first walk of the year, as the previous walk had to be cancelled due to the dreadful weather.
Although the temperature was low, it was actually a very nice day for the time of year: there was no wind so we didn’t really feel cold.
Twenty of us did the longer walk, setting off from the car park beside the football ground. The road from there down to the Den was treacherous: lots of ice on the road and very slippy. Two walkers slipped and fell on that bit of road, but both declared themselves unhurt. Also, part of the road had broken up and had a traffic cone stuck in the middle of it! From the Den onwards, conditions underfoot were much better.
From the Den, we walked up the steps to the main street of the village where we continued uphill then turned left on to Drumtochty Road. Just opposite Galloquhine road-end, there is a road off to the right and from it another road goes left. It was this last one that we followed and had great views over to Mains of Glenfarquhar. Our route eventually brought us past Mains of Drumtochty Farm, where there were some unusual sheep in pens. A little further along we saw three bison in a field, and some deer in the distance.
We were able to see Drumtochty Castle from the side then made our way down to the Forest Walk car-park where we had lunch. Unfortunately, there is no longer a toilet there; nor are there picnic tables and benches.
From the car-park, we turned left, crossed the road and moved into the wooded area on our right. Here, the path was slippy and muddy in places and we really had to watch where we were going. We had an exciting moment when we saw five deer in a field and we all tried to be so quiet so as not to scare them; however, I swear they actually posed for us!
We left the wood through a gate and walked down through a stubble field. The farmer was nearby, spreading dung, but he came over to greet us and informed us that the deer are tame and he feeds them every morning. Soon we were back at our starting place, having covered 5 – 6 miles. Somewhere along the way we passed quite close to a badger’s sett, although we didn’t actually see it.
The smaller group of walkers followed us down into the Den then walked up, by road, to the Square in Auchenblae where they saw the phone box with the village Defibrillator in it. They also continued up the street, but took the Drumlithie road and went past the Golf Course. They returned to the bottom of the village opposite where the old Clydesdale Bank was, then made their way up past the school and turned right on to the road which brought them back to the car-park. A walk round the Cemetery finished off their day.
Our next walk will be in Montrose on Tuesday, February 2 starting at the Curlie car-park. As usual, the minibus will leave the Burgh Buildings in Laurencekirk at 10 am.