My Favouite Walks

Clashmach Hill Huntly

The Clashmach hill is a great short hill walk from the centre of the town of Huntly which has a beautiful glow of yellow in the Spring from the gorse that covers it. At the summit you will be treated to amazing views of Huntly and beyond. Although it is a relatively short walk it is a vigorous climb. There is a annual race up and down the hill in July and I believe the fastest time was under 24 mins in 2021.

Distance: 4.5 miles Time : 1.5 to 2 hrs Terrain: Mix of pavement, road and rougher path, sometimes slightly over ground in the summer but well-trodden. Level: Easy with some elevation and a little steep on some parts. Access: Arrive by car or public transport. There are good train and bus links between Aberdeen and Inverness. Car parking is available at the Market Muir car park AB54 8JY.

Route: The walk starts at the Market Muir car park. As you leave the car park take a right heading towards the roundabout. When you get to the roundabout keep to the right and carefully cross the A96 and head for the opening for the minor road. Pass by The Mart & Market cafe on your right and AM Philips on your left.

Head straight up passing the bungalow on your left. The road narrows and becomes a path and after a short time takes a sharp left. Continue along the path where it will take another left turn and head up the hill. You will pass a wind turbine along the way.

Keep heading straight on and go through the gate. You will will come to a second gate once through it walk up the path that heads to the left.

Soon you will see the trig point and cairn. You can admire the 360 degree views of Huntly and the hills around including Ben Rinnes.

Don’t forget to take a selfie at the summit before retracing your steps and enjoying the views on the way back down.

On a calm day the summit is a great spot for a picnic or you could stop off at The Market Cafe for coffee and cake.

My Favouite Walks

Meikle Balloch Hill Circuit, Near Keith

The Meikle Balloch Hill overlooks Keith and on a clear day you can see the hill path from my house in Keith. It is a beautiful and peaceful walk through the forest and among the heather, the views of Moray and Aberdeenshire are incredible.

Start: Balloch forestry car park near Keith Distance: 4 miles Time: Allow one and a half to two hours Terrain: Mainly forestry roads. Downhill section is uneven in parts Access: Arrive by car. To reach the car park , turn up Bridge street from Keith and follow the road until you come to a parking area after approx two miles. The postcode is AB55 5NT

Route: At the car park you will see a information board. To the right of the board there is a blue-marked post at the start of the a narrow path into the trees. Follow this path for about 200 yards. You come to a forestry road, take a right here and then keep on this road. There are some nice views of the countryside through the trees as you pass along this section. After about three-quarters of a mile, there is a fork to the right; ignore this and continue on. The road does gently climb here but nothing too taxing.

You will pass a Scottish Water reservoir and the Balloch Quarry. Not long after passing the quarry there is a signpost for Coachford; ignore this if you wish to proceed directly on the planned route. But, for those with the time time and inclination, it is well worth a brief detour. About 20 yards along the Coachford turn off, there is a small pond to the left where dragonflies can be spotted in the summer.

Back on the main track, about 80 yards further on from the Coachford signpost, there is a turn to the left. Take this road and head further up the hill where it will begin to get steeper. Keep on this road. There are plenty of great views on the way up where the trees have been felled. Less than a mile along the stretch, the road will narrow as you come out the trees and reach a fork with two paths. Take the path to the right. This will take you up to the summit and trig point where 360-degree views of Moray and Aberdeenshire await.

After enjoying the views, it is time to descend. Take the path to the right. Once you are back in the woods the path will zigzag before coming to a straight downhill section that can be quite uneven. You will reach a crossroads, take a left here and this will bring you back to the forestry road. After a short stretch, you will come to the last fork in the road. Take a right which will take you back to the gate at the car park.

Walking essentials

Who knew there was a sock manufacturer in Moray?

When you do lots of walking there is 2 vital pieces of equipment you need. Good boots and comfy socks. The perfect pair of both will enable you to walk further and longer.

Last week Heather at Scottish Womans walking group posted some monogramed SWWG merino wool socks that were made in North East Scotland. So I was very interested to find out where. After a wee search I found Caledonia Hosiery on social media.

After wee chat online with the owner Steve he invited me along to his socks factory. I jumped at the chance. The inner geek came out as I am very interested in how things are made.

The company is situated in Forres Moray. It was started in October 2019 and started producing in April 2020. The owner Steve has actually spent half his working life making socks and is very passionate about it. This has now rubbed off on his wife Sue too.

Onsite the couple are producing 1000 pairs of socks a week each pair of socks taking around 8 mins to make. They produce various styles made from wool and cotton. They are all hand finished onsite. That includes washing and air drying before pressing on a shiny sock shaped hot press!

Although the company mainly design and produce socks for brands just recently they have set up a online shop at The Country Side store (link will be posted below). In the shop they have a selection of styles including their signature outdoor socks that I have been gifted to try.

I am super excited to try as not only are they locally produced. Compared to some socks I have purchased over the year they are very reasonabled priced.

My initial review they fit and feel very comfortable. I will be putting the them to some hike tests before I fully review but I do plan to purchase other styles.

I would like to thank Steve for inviting me along and giving a wee insite to how socks are made!

Thank you for reading Tracy x

https://caledoniahosiery.com/

https://www.thecountrysidestore.co.uk/seller/caledonia-hosiery/