Showing posts from January, 2013

Ski: Glenshee Ski Centre

Aberdeenshire | Braemar | Ski centre | ★★★★★

Glenshee boasts the largest ski area and biggest lift system in the UK, at the head of the Cairnwell Pass linking Blairgowrie to Braemar in the southern Cairngorms. Two new chairlifts in the last decade (and another coming soon) have transformed The Cairnwell side of the mountain west of the road; eyes will soon turn to the terrain further east where further upgrades are planned. With a top height below 1000 metres runs are generally short and the season can be too, but in good snow conditions this is a brilliant destination for all levels of skier and snowboarder.

Scroll down for a more in depth guide.

📌Glenshee Ski Centre★★★★★
Location: Summit of A93 Cairnwell Pass, G.R.: NO 139781 ///smuggled.downhill.wiggling
Day lift pass (2018/19): £32 (adults), £21 (children)
Equipment hire (2018/19): £23 (adults), £16 (children)
Average season (snowsports): Mid-December to March, conditions permitting

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Walk: Drowned by dunes at Forvie NNR

Aberdeenshire | Collieston | Half day walk | ★★★

The barren sands between the coastal villages of Newburgh and Collieston have a starkly otherworldly feel. Colossal dunes dominate the landscape here, reducing you to an insignificant speck as you traverse the sands. Spare a thought for the 15th century inhabitants of the abandoned village of Forvie. The haunting, half-submerged shell of the Forvie Church is all that remains of the settlement, following a terrible storm in 1413 which drowned the houses in sand. The dunes are still moving, and this ever-changing environment is an important habitat for nesting terns. Exploring the length of the inland dunes along with the varied coastline helps you get a sense of the area's sheer scale.

📌 Walk: Drowned by dunes at Forvie NNR ★★★
▶ 13 km / 8 miles | ▲ 110 metres
Features: Forvie NNR & visitor centre; Sand Loch; Hackley Bay; Forvie Church; Ythan Estuary
Start / finish: Car park at Forvie Sands visitor centre, off B9003 just west of Co…

Walk: Hill 99 - squirrel's-eye view

Moray | Kintessack | Short walk | ★★

Culbin Forest stretches for several miles along the southern shore of the Moray Firth between Findhorn and Nairn. A maze of tracks and paths criss-cross this vast forest overlying sand dunes, intersections marked by junction numbers which often serve only to make you feel even more lost. Luckily the Forestry Commission have devised a number of circular walks (print off a map: link below), with the Hill 99 Viewpoint Trail probably the best introduction to the area. Hill 99 (named after its height in feet) is topped with a "squirrel's-eye" wooden tower: steps access this excellent viewpoint above the tree tops. Man-made ponds elsewhere on the walk are a good place to spot dragonflies in summer, attracted by the fresh water that's otherwise scarce amongst these coastal dunes.

📌 Walk: Hill 99 - squirrel's-eye view ★★
▶ 6 km / 4 miles | ▲ 40 metres
Summits: Hill 99 (29 metres) | Features: Gravel-pit Ponds; Dragonfly Pool
Start / fini…

Walk: Darnaway hideaway - Findhorn west bank

Moray | Conicavel | Short walk | ★★★

This side of the wild Findhorn gorge seems to be more frequented by fisherman than walkers, with various deep pools marked out by wooden signboards and often accessed by steps descending the main path. Nevertheless this is a short and scenic circuit in a region unfairly neglected by tourists. Like much of the Darnaway Forest, there are good autumn colours and opportunities to spot red squirrels. Thick forest canopies ensures the ground stays shaded and damp year-round... but a little mud never hurt anyone, right?

📌 Walk: Darnaway hideaway - Findhorn west bank ★★★
▶ 4 km / 2 miles | ▲ 130 metres
Features: Findhorn gorge
Start / finish: Car park off minor road 2 miles south of Conicavel, G.R.: NH 996514 ///bench.pine.craftsmen

Route: Car park - Dunearn Burn - Findhorn gorge, passing Pool Anchor, Mill Pool & Scuddach Pool - car park via forest tracks. Route waymarked in red.
Terrain: Narrow paths along the gorge edge, quite muddy at times, then tracks…

Findhorn gorge

Highland / Moray | Ferness | Bell tower & bridge | ★★

The Findhorn is one of Scotland's mighty rivers. It's one of the country's longest water courses and its massive catchment area (covering both the Monadhliath Mountains and the massive Dava moor) is responsible for huge - and occasionally devastating - changes in water levels after storms. But it's a difficult river to become familiar with: long sections are miles from the nearest road while other parts flow through deep gorges with thick undergrowth and no paths. A few locations offer good access though, mostly receiving few visitors but revealing a couple of intensely beautiful scenes, seemingly untouched by modern life.

📌Ardclach Bell Tower★★
Description: Miniature slice of the Mediterranean in the Scottish Highlands: a tiny, yellow bell tower housing the bell for the parish church below, although probably originally serving as a prison! Two rooms to explore inside.
Location: Minor road immediately north of / b…