It was a beautiful day when almost three dozen of us met at Milton of Crathes near Banchory for our fortnightly walk.
The main group took the path under the road into the grounds of Crathes Castle where we walked on paths on the left of the drive and roughly parallel to it. As we neared the castle, we were stunned by the display of rhododendron and azalea. They were magnificent.
A sharp left turn took us on paths which eventually led to the outskirts of Banchory; there we turned right, past the entrance to the Tesco car-park; a few twists and turns and crossing roads found us passing Hill of Banchory Primary School then on to a paved path between rows of houses.
Our lunch stop was in a small play-park nearby. There were two tables with benches but not enough to seat everyone, so we made use of what was there: one on the end of the chute, some on the bouncy toys etc. It was quite a sight!
Continuing onwards, we eventually reached Raemoir Road and turned left, down towards the traffic lights on the A93, where we crossed and went down some steps to a path alongside the River Dee. Then it was a case of keep going until you get back to Milton of Crathes!
That doesn’t sound very interesting but it was. There is a lot to see along the way. We were lucky enough to see a heron again; it was on the other side of the river but was easy to see and kept so still that we began to wonder if it was real!
Another item of interest was a large patch of violas on our right. There seemed too many to just be growing wild. Did someone sow seeds there? Is there a story behind them? We will probably never know.
Distance covered was fully 7 miles, but it was relatively flat walking and very pleasant.
A group of about 10 chose to do a shorter walk. They started, like us, by going under the road to get into the Castle grounds, but they walked on the right side of the drive to the lake, then on wooden walkways erected and built about 10 years ago by apprentices from BP in Aberdeen.
Across the burn, they went through woods and past a field with an unknown crop which may have been for silage. Lunch was eaten near the tea-room beside the castle, then it was down through the woods on the other side of the drive.
They came across a cemetery for the Burnetts of Leys and among the many regular graves, they found one for a horse, and one for a dog. They emerged from the woods just beside the lake again and headed back to the car-park.
Paths followed were all sign-posted. I have not included a map for this walk because there are so many different ways to go and it is possibly more interesting to just explore.
The next walk will be on Tuesday June 10 2014, walking from Crieff to Comrie. The walk will be led by Chris Milne’s sister Margaret McVicar and other members of the Comrie Walking group. PLEASE NOTE: A contract bus will leave the Masonic Hall at 8.30am, so no long lies that day!