My Favouite Walks

Ben Aigan and Knockmore Circuit

This fantastic hike not only takes along a walk in the woods you will also experience some amazing views right out to the coast and the River Spey. Passing by the Knockmore tv mast before coming to the summit of Ben Aigan with 360 degree views of Moray.

Distance: 7 1/2 miles Time: 3 1/2-4hrs Level: Easy long walk with elevation. Terrain: Forrest track and paths some can be uneven Access: Arrive by car, from Keith at Mulben cross road take a and head towards Craigellachie about 1 1/4miles along the road there is a opening on the right. Turn into the opening and head up the track ignore the turn to the right. After a short time you will come to a carpark for about 6 cars at the left.

Route: Leaving the car park head to the forestry road to the left after about 3/4 a miles the road bends to the left and you will head further into the woods. The road will climb steadily. Don’t forget to look back and admire the views.

The Knockmore mast will come into view on your left before finally reaching it around 2 miles in to your walk.

Once you are past the mast carry on along the forestry track you will go down hill for a short time before it starts to climb again. You will come to a large cleared area and shortly after there is a track to the left ignore it and keep on the track.

About 3/4 mile along this section you will find a fantastic view of the River Spey and if you look hard enough you will see the Boat a Brig.

Shortly after there is a junction with a narrow path to the uphill to the left and downhill to the right. Take the path to the left. This is a short but steep section but you will soon come out the trees as you head to the summit.

You will come to a fork, take the fork to the right which will take you right up to the summit where you will find the square trig point.

After you have enjoyed the views head back down the path you came. When you come to the junction take the turn to the right. You will come to another junction take the track to the left here.

Head down the track and you will return to the cleared area. You will see a firebreak in the trees to the right. Head down the path in the firebreak. You will need to climb over a fallen tree. At the bottom of the track turn to the right and return to the carpark.

My Favouite Walks

Portsoy and Sandend circular

This beautiful walk takes in the old harbour that dates back to 1693 that has been recently used for a film set for Peaky Blinders and Whisky Galore. You will explore the coastal path that runs along past the cliffs between Portsoy and Sandend with many paths that branch to do yuor own exploring before arriving at the stunning Sandend beach and returning along a quiet country lane with coastal views.

Distance: 5 miles Time: 2hrs Level: Easy with some elevation Terrain: Tarred road, pavements, coastal trail paths and beach Access: Arrive by car, there is plenty of parking avalible in the The Square, Portsoy, AB45 2NX The No35 service bus runs between Elgin and Aberdeen and drops off on Seafield Street only a short walk along South High Street to the start of the walk.

Route: At the square head down North High Street past the Boyne Hotel till you come to the Old Harbour. This is a great chance to have a look around with some fabulous photo opportunities. Head over to the left of the harbour where you will find the stunning bottlenose dolphin statue that was made by local artist Carn Standing.

Next to the statue you will find the ruined remains of a cottage that has a lovely view out the window.

To the left of the ruin there is a narrow path where you can skirt round the wee hill or go up the top to get a great view of Portsoy.

Carry down the narrow path which will take you to a small yard, follow the path towards the houses where you will find a waymarker post for the coastal trail.

The path will skirt past the houses till you finally leave Portsoy and into the countryside.

Not long after you leave the town, Portsoy Lido the disused outdoor pool will come into view. The lido was opened in 1936 and was in use until it closed in 2001.

Just after the Lido there is a short stretch on a narrow country lane so be careful there maybe cars here.

The very well-marked path carries on along the coastline with plenty of paths off to the side if you are keen to look for seabirds along the cliffs. You will reach Redhythe Point where there are remains of a building which would have been part of a WW2 rifle range that was once there.

After Redhythe Point the coastal path winds along the edge of the cliffs you can choose to stick to the main path or explore the narrower paths closer to the shoreline. You will come to a grassy track with heather at each side on the left in the not too far distance you will see a vehicle barrier (that is your return route).

Turn right to pass the bay with the ruined house.

Once past the small bay you will come to a gate. go through it and down the steep path and on to the steps to Sandend beach.

At the end of the beach you will find a WW2 pillbox along with other remains from the war which can be found in several areas around Aberdeenshire and Moray.

You could stop for a picnic here and walk along the beautiful sandy beach or even explore Sandend more before returning back up the steps and the steep path and through the gate. Once past the small bay head to the right towards the vehicle barrier. Once past the barrier head straight on past the big house on your right.

Continue straight along the country lane. You will have some great views of the coast and Portsoy as you are walking back. Once you arrive in Portsoy you will go along the street named Park Crescent which then goes on Cullen Street before heading straight back to the square where you began. There are some lovely wee shops and cafes in Portsoy if you have plenty of time they are worth a look.

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

Linn Falls Circular, Aberlour, Moray

This circular route is based around Aberlour in the heart of Speyside, an area famed for its whisky distilleries and shortbread factory. The walk takes you out of the town and into the woods. Following the woodland path, you will come to the stunning Linn Falls (Linn of Ruthrie waterfalls). On your return to the town you will pass by the Aberlour Distillery before finding the hidden packhorse bridge.

Start: The Square Aberlour Distance: 2 miles Time: 1 hour Terrain: Sections of pavements and road, along with a section of forest path and track. Some steps and rough ground. Access: Arrive by car or public transport. Stagecoach No 36 bus runs between Elgin and Aberlour at regular intervals throughout the day. Car parking available at Alice Littler Memorial park (postcode AB38 9QP). The walk starts from The Square (postcode AB38 9PX).

Route: Starting from The Square, pass the Co-op on your left-hand side and head up Queen’s Road. Once past the Fleming Hospital on your right, you will see a sign for Glenallachie and Fairy Knowe. Follow the narrow path up on to the road turning right. Just past the street of houses, take the narrower road to the back of sheds. It is signposted to the falls.

At the end of the tarred , narrow road, you will come to a gate, pass through the gate and on to a woodland path.

Stay on the main path, ignoring any paths that branch off. The main path will curve to the right, and you will descend steps with a handrail and soon see the beautiful double-cascading waterfall.

Make sure you take plenty of photographs.

You can stop for a picnic here and perhaps even a paddle.

Once you have explored the falls, Follow the Burn of Aberlour round to the right and after a short walk you will pass the Aberlour Distillery on your left. This is another great photo opportunity.

When you arrive at the bridge at the main road cross over. Be careful of traffic as this road can be busy. Once safely across, look over the bridge and nestled in the undergrowth there is a small, old packhorse bridge that was built around 1624.

Take the path to the right-hand side of the packhorse bridge which will lead you back to the car park if you parked at the Alice Littler Memorial Park. Or take a right to take you along the High Street and back to The Square.

My Favouite Walks

Cullen Bay and Portknockie Circular, Moray

The Cullen and Portknockie circular takes in some of the Moray coast’s most amazing places, including Cullen and Portknockie harbour, the famed Bow fiddle rock, Cullen Beach as well as caves and a viaduct, There is an opprtunity to have a wee paddle along the way on Cullen beach. Towards the end, you walk along the disused railway line and top of the viaduct.

Start: The Square, Cullen Distance: 5 miles Terrain: Sections along a beach, rough cliff path, tar and flat smooth path. A small section may not be accessible at very high tide. Level: Easy with some elevation Access: Arrive by car or public transport. Stagecoach No 35 bus runs between Aberdeen and Elgin at regular intervals. Car parking is available in The Square in Cullen AB56 4RR

Route: Leaving from The Square in Cullen, start by walking down towards the viaduct. Once under the viaduct, keep going straight on down towards the harbour. The road veers to the right and be careful as there is no pavement on this section. Once you arrive at the harbour, take a left.

You will head towards the beach going over the Burn of Cullen by footbridge.

This is where you start walking along the sands of Cullen beach, passing “The Three Kings” as the three distinctive quartzite sea stacks are known.

The beach is approximately one mile long. When you come to the rocks and cliffs at the end, you will see a rough path between the golf course and rocks. The path is a little rough here. As you go between the rocks and round the corner there is a large cave that is worth exploring.

Further along you come to Jenny’s Well to the left and Whale Mouth Rock to the right.

There is then an uphill section with some steps. Keep following the path, admiring the views and keep an eye out for some of the many seabirds. There are plenty of benches on this stretch if you want to take a seat and rest your legs.

When you come come to a yellow and grey bench, this is where you get the best view of Bow Fiddle Rock. There are several paths if you want to get down closer for a better look and a great opportunity to take photographs.

Returning to the main path, walk along to a workshop area with a garage. Take a right here walking past the residential area. Continue on look out for the views of more rock formations to your right.

The road will bend to the left above the harbour. Keep going until you come to a dead-end sign. Turn left here heading for the main road. Passing the war memorial, branch left and head towards the bus shelter. Once past the bus shelter you will see the disused railway line path to the left. This is a relaxing stroll along a great, well-maintained path with views of the golf course on your return to Cullen.

Once back in Cullen, you will leave the railway line just after you pass the Castle Hill. To the right there is a blue sign. Head along North Deskford street, then take a left along Grant street and return to The Square.

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.

My Favouite Walks

Whiteash hill woods Duchess of Richmond Cairn, Moray

Whiteash hill woods are between Keith and Fochabers. They are home to a maze of many paths and forestry tracks. With a short uphill climb you find one of Scotland’s pyramids, the huge cairn erected in memory of Frances Harriet, Duchess of Richmond by the 1st Duke of Gordon in 1887.

As well as the cairn there are great views of the Moray coastline and, on the really clear days, the hills in the Black Isle can be seen in the distance. Just before the end of the walk, there is also a lovely view of Ben Rinnes in the distance.

Start: Whiteash Hill woods near Keith, Moray Distance: 4 miles Time: 1.5 hours Terrain: Forestry track and a section of rough track. Access: Arrive by car. Situated about 3.5 miles north-west of Keith on the A96. Turn up the road on the right that is sign posted Braes of Enzie and drive about three-quarters of a mile along the road where there is a opening on the left with two gates. There is space for at least six cars. The OS map grid reference is NJ38803 56383

Route: Leaving the car park, go past the forestry gate on the left and head up the forestry track for about 1.2 miles until you come to the crossroads.

Take the road to the right and you will see a wooden post with a No 14 on it. Just ahead the pyramid-shaped monument dedicated to the Duchess of Richmond – also known as the Whiteash Cairn – can be seen.

Once you come to the cairn, go straight ahead and admire the coastal views.

Head down the narrow rougher track. Keep going until you come to a crossroads with a forestry track. Take a right here. The track will veer to the right, keep going until you come to a junction and take a right.

Stay on this track for just over a miles, where you will come back to the car park.

Don’t miss: Taking a photo of yourself with one of Scotland’s pyramids.

Far have I been!

Christmas in Skye

In October we made the decision to take off on Christmas day and head to Skye. I booked our favourite campsite so we was all set. Due to the current situation we wasn’t even sure if it would go ahead but we took our chances and kept everything crossed.

By Christmas eve was pretty much organised just had a few bits and pieces to pack. We had our festive dinner with the family opened presents so we was ready to get up the next day and head off.

On Christmas morning it was lovely weather so we took off up the road. The van was loaded with food from the leftover dinner from the night before and I had picked up a large cheese board from the Ugie house hotel.

The road was pretty quiet just a few cars on the go so it turned out to be a rather enjoyable drive up the road. I did get a bit car sick but that was my own fault for not eating in the morning before leaving. We did make a fresh air stop that sorted me out. When we got to Dornie we couldn’t resist a wee stop at Eilean Douan Castle for a quick photo.

Eilean Douan Castle

We didn’t far to go after that once we was over the bridge Camping Skye at Broadford is only few miles along the road.

We arrived just after lunch time the campsite was quite full with a few campers with their Christmas lights on.

This is our van at night!

So we got all set up then got our cheeseboard out I was starving by then.

Ugie House cheese board!

Then it was feet up put on a film and chill out for a while. Just as the sun was setting we took a wee walk up the woods so the dogs could get a run about. The weather was lovely all though it was pretty chilly.

Sunset on Christmas day

Back at the van we watched more films and enjoyed the peace of a alternate Christmas day.

We spent Boxing day the way Boxing day was ment to be spent! Being lazy watching tv and eating snacks. We did make some plans for the next day though!

Twixmas began so thought we would motivate ourselves and go for a walk with the dogs. We took a wander along to the old pier and Irishmans point the weather was great and the dogs love that wee walk.

Broadford

The 28th of December was my day cause well it was my 44th birthday I had it planned for ages that I wanted to go to the fairy pools. I got up in the morning opened all my presents realised that everyone thinks I smell cause I got a load of smelling stuff from Dove shower gel, perfume and a Boots voucher.

Thank you to my amazing husband who got me a pair of dream Fjaraven leggings that are totally lush and super comfy. Once we were dressed we headed off moving the van for the first time since we arrived.

The weather was amazing although a little frosty we couldn’t have asked for a better day. We was about 30 miles from Glenbrittle so it didnt take too long to get there although we did take our time as the road was a little icy but least it was quiet. The carpark wasnt too busy so knew we had picked a good time to come.

It still as spectacular as I remember and the dogs just loved it we had a great time exploring. It isnt a massively long walk but enough to feel like you have done something.

Fairy Pools

We took a run in the van to Glenbrittle bay for a wee look after the Fairy pools it is stunning and we will definitely go back in the summer.

Glenbrittle

We was hungry after all that but wasnt sure if anything would be open. At the turn off we thought we had a wee look along at Carbost see if anything was open there and found a wee pub called the Old Inn. They didnt have a huge menu but the food was good and the view was excellent think this is one my favourite photos of the year.

Carbost

The rest of my birthday was spent chilling out watching films and ended it with a couple gins which I regretted the next day now I know why I dont drink more than 2 gins!

On the 29th we woke up and the weather was pretty horrible so we binged watched all the soaps in bed till late morning. We got up, ate brunch and watched more soaps. Once the weather improved I took a walk into the wee market square for a look around the shops. There were plenty of lovely items in the shops but I didn’t purchase anything.

Broadford

We finally motivated ourselves at tea time to go out for something to eat at Cafesia which was lovely as usual. We have been there many times and never been disapointed.

It rained most of the night and into the next day so it was just a chill out day for us just watching films on Netflix and just enjoying chilling out. We woke up on the 31st with yet more rain but we decided we needed to get out today. Once the rain went off a bit we took a walk up the woodland trail up the back of the campsite.

There is a lovely spot with a bench about a mile or so into the walk which usually has great views. Unfortunately there was nothing to see! The dogs had fun though and it was nice to get out for a wee bit! Later on we took in New Year watching the fireworks that were being set off down in the village and listening to the loan piper on the tv it was perfect!

Before we knew it, it was the 2nd and it was time to head home or was it! Well I hate going home so another night away maybe. So we headed back to Aviemore and got lunch at Ballavoulin which was lush before going up to the Cairngorm centre.

We came back down to the Coire na ciste carpark for the night. They have a great facility there for campervans there was a few parked up but it was very windy which did not bother me but at about 2am my husband got up and moved the position of the van so it wasnt getting such a battering. I was delighted to waken up in the morning so a lovely covering of snow! Which was the perfect end to the perfect holiday we had!

Cairngorms

https://campingskye.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Ugie-House-Hotel-Restaurant-383515521828245/

https://www.theoldinnskye.co.uk/

https://www.cafesia.co.uk/

https://thebalavoulin.co.uk/

https://www.cairngormmountain.co.uk/

Far have I been!

All Snug in Fife

After we got a wee invitation from the lovely folks at The Snug at Logie farm to come and review one of their lovely new luxury camping pods we couldn’t wait to go and explore. I didn’t really make much of a plan but I did put a wee post on Facebook looking for recommendations and I certainly got plenty! So after a trip to the Deli to stock up on snacks and pack a case I waited patiently for Mr C to finish work and get away. It was only a couple hours down the road for us so we made it down just after sunset. When we arrived at the bottom of the road I was intrigued to where the pods where. We headed up the track and got the first taste of the amazing location as we passed a herd of deer just hanging around in the park. A little bit along we reached the pods.

Wow we made it in time for the amazing view and a lovely we plaque with our names on it. Cause well its the little things its it.

Inside the pod we was greeted by a stunning modern interior and every gadget you could ask for.

The snug

We stocked up our fridge, Mr C played with all the buttons then we got our feet up and set too a Squid Games binge watch on Netflix. Well I think we managed to stay wakened till about 10 o’clock. The bed was so comfy.

The snug

Next morning we was wakened early but we had a long lie had a lovely Nepresso coffee in bed then got up and organised. After a wee chat with Jo the owner we headed to the Buttercup Cafe in Newbrough for brunch. Jo had recomnened it to us and we could see why it was lovely.

Brunch at the Buttercup cafe

We hadnt made any kind of concrete plans just go for a run and see. First stop was a quick one at the round tower at Abernethy which is thought to date back to 1100. We couldn’t get parked as we had the van so it was just a snap of the camera before heading off.

The round tower

Not far along the road was Auchtermuchty are next planned stop to see Jimmy Shands memorial. If you know the Bluebell poker you know who Jimmy is! This was Mr C’s highlight of the day! That set him up for the day and we had to listen to his music the rest of it! Even through the blue tooth speaker in the pod at night!

Jimmy Shands Memorial

We headed for Falkland next but after we circled a couples time we ended up on a different road. It was actually the way to the Lomond hills. We took the opportunity to give the dogs a run about. The views from even the car park are great. There is a lovely picnic area and a well maintained toilet.

Lommomd Hills

Back on the road again for the second try to get parked at Falkland. We eventually found the car park. I grabbed my camera and National trust card and went for a wander. Falkland is a lovely wee village with lots of quirky shops and nice looking cafes/pubs.

Falkland

After a walk about I went along to Falkland Palace and gardens.

I decided to just have a look around the gardens.

The inside was very busy so I decided to look round the gardens. They were lovely and extensive. There is lots of wee hidden area and even a tennis court.

Falkland Palace and Gardens

Back on the road again. We hadn’t really planned anything so we thought we would go to Scotlands Hidden Bunker. On the way there we went past the Hill of Tarvit mansion so we did stop for a wee look. Another place well worth a visit and there was a view point walk.

Hill of Tarvit Mansion

We couldn’t do everything in one day so next stop was Scotlands secret bunker.

This is a amazing fascinating place to visit for Adults and kids.

It’s a underground cold war bunker museum and its huge. With lots of interesting rooms and artefacts.

Scotland Secret Bunker

Our last stop of the day was Arstruther for tea for some of their famous fish and chips! We had to queue for a little while but it’s was lovely and well worth the wait.

Anstrurther Fish and Chips

We headed home before it got dark thinking we could sit outside with a gin! But the rain came on and oh my it’s rained a lot! So we snuggled up watched tv had snacks and enjoyed our last night in the snug before heading home the next morning.

Thank you for reading I have posted all the links below! The Snug was amazing and totally recommend if your looking for somewhere to stay in Fife!

Please note the stay at The Snug was part gifted!

The fur babies loved it too!

https://m.facebook.com/eastportgarageandcoffeeshop/

https://www.logiefarmsnug.co.uk/

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/abernethy-round-tower/

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/jimmy-shand-statue

https://fifecoastandcountrysidetrust.co.uk/walks/lomond-hills/

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/falkland-palace

https://www.nts.org.uk/venue-hire/hill-of-tarvit-mansionhttps://secretbunker.co.uk/

https://www.anstrutherfishbar.co.uk/

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/