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Walk to the Duke of Gordon Monument near Aviemore

This is a stunning walk with epic views of the Cairngorm’s. Great walk if you want just a wee hill to climb rather than a munro!

Distance: Around 3.75 miles Time: 1 1/2-2hrs Level: Easy with some steep sections Terrain: Well maintained path, tar, grass track and woodland track. Access: Arrive by car parking at the entrance to Dalraddy campsite PH22 1QB.

Route: Starting in the carpark go to your left through the quad bike area and head under the railway bridge. Take a left after the bridge and head through the gate. Keep going till you reach the junction take a right here and head along the tarred road.

You will reach a fork in the road take the left hand track. Go up the track till you reach the gate and the grass park. Follow the path to the left edge of the park till you reach the opening on your left and the track that takes you in to the woods.

Looking back at the opening

Follow the track till you reach the fork. Take the left fork here and continue straight on. Keep a look out for the Waterloo cairn to your right that is worth stopping at. The cairn was erected by Marquis of Huntly, August 11, 1815 in memory of Robert Macara of 42nd Royal Highlanders, also Of Col. John Cameron of 92nd or Gordon Highlanders and their brave countrymen who glorious fell at the battle of Waterloo June 1815.

The Waterloo Cairn

Not long after the Waterloo cairn the monument will come in to view. The track does go down hill a little before climbing back up.

The Duke of Gordon Monument

The track winds its way through the trees till you come to the Duke of Gordon Monument that commemorates the last Duke of Gordon who died in 1836. Once you have explored the area you return the way you came taking in the beautiful views.

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Walk to the Kingston beach hut

Kingston drift wood hut was built by the locals and is an amazing place to visit. There is something added to it every time I visit!

Distance: 1 1/2 miles Time: 1hr Level: Easy Terrain: Grass track and pebble beach Access: Arrive by car, parking is available at corner Kingston road and Beach road. There is a no 34 Stagecoach bus from Elgin.

Route: This is a fantastic short walk leaving from the car park take the track to the left that runs past the back of the houses. Follow the track right along and it will narrow down to a path.

Keep a look out for the ducks paddling in the water to your right.

When you get to the play park turn left and head back towards the beach hut. It is pebbles all the way so not the easiest to walk on so wear good footwear.

When you get to the beach hut make sure you explore it inside and outside and see if you find the visitor book. Please be respectful while you are there the locals after spent a lot of time and effort to build the hut,

After exploring the area return the same way as you came.

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Crannoch Circuit, Cullen

I headed to Cullen for this walk but rather than going to the beach I headed up to the woods for a stroll round Crannoch wood and loch. With some beautiful views of the sea and the Bin Hill. This is quite a short walk and perfect in any season. Wear suitable footwear as maybe a little muddy.

Distance: 2.75 miles Time: 1hr Level: Easy with some elevation. Terrain: Grass track, woodland trail and pavement Access: Arrive by car parking is available in the square. There is a regular number 35 bus running from Elgin to Aberdeen.

Cullen and The Bin Hill

Route: The walk starts off in the square in Cullen head up Seafield Road past the Antiques Centre and then take a left along Seafield Place. When you reach the corner before heading along Logie Drive take a right up the grass track. There is a waymarker here. At the junction at the top take a right going away from Cullen.

A little ahead you will come to a gate go through the gate and turn left and go towards the ruined Logie House that you can see in the distance.

Logie House Ruin

Just before you come to the ruin take a right at the waymarker, then take another right as you head towards the woods. When you reach the woods take a left when you see the path into the woods, then follow the track it will turn to the right Go past the small Loch I did explore a little here. Get back on the track and keep going straight ahead.

Crannoch Loch

You will pass the Den!

At the next junction take a right to return to Cullen. You will go over the bridge of the old railway line then skirt past a small carpark before reaching the outskirts of Cullen.

Careful walk along the track next to the road till you return back into Cullen and back to the square.

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Loch Insh, Uath Lochan’s and River Feshie circuit

I headed to the beautiful Cairngorms for this walk which takes in Loch Insh, the stunning Uath Lochan’s and the River Feshie. This is a very peaceful walk in the wilderness with plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting. I had several sightings of birds of prey along the way.

Distance: 7 ¾ miles Time: 3 ½ – 4hrs Level: Easy long walk with some elevation. Terrain: Mix of forestry track and paths with a small amount of quiet road walking. Access: Arrive by car following the signposts for Kincraig/Loch Insh outdoor adventure centre PH21 1NU. I did ask permission to park at the centre. There is a regular Stagecoach No 35 bus from Aviemore which is about a 20min walk from the Outdoor centre.

Loch Insh

Route: The walk starts off at the Loch Insh Outdoor Centre which is a fantastic facility offering a large array of activities as well as accommodation.

In the car park head down to the shore and you will see a sign for the Loch side trail which is part of the Badenoch way. This is a very well waymarked and easy to follow section with great views across the Loch and the first opportunity for wildlife spotting.

On the trail

Leaving the waterside carry on following the waymarkers through the woods till you come to a road with a house opposite. Cross the road here and turn right just after the house you will find an opening to re-join the path. The path is rather narrow here but only for a short time.

Keep on the waymarked trail and you will come to a fork and take the path to the left here. There is a long straight section, the Badenoch way turns off here to the right this is where you leave the way as you will carry straight on. About 250 yards after the Badenoch way turns off , you will take a left turn where you will find red trail markers.

View of Loch Insh

Here you will head up in to Farleeitter Crag where you will find a fantastic view of Loch Insh before you are looking down on the Uath Lochan’s once you have enjoyed the views the trail will start going downhill till you come to a junction take a left here after a short walk you will come to another junction where you will take a right to take you to the Lochan’s. This is a fantastic place to stop for a picnic with stunning views.

Uath Lochan’s

Carry on the trail before taking the next left, you come to a road. Take a right and walk along the road for a short stretch till you come to an opening to a house road end. Go into the opening and turn to your left you will find a right of way sign. Follow the sign passing by the houses. You will come to a U-shaped house, take the path to the right here. Carry on till you come to the side of the River Feshie. As you walk along the path and you will feel like you are in total wilderness with only the wildlife for company. There are plenty of opportunities if you want to dip your feet in the beautiful clear waters.

River Feshie

Keep following the path right along the riverside till you come to some houses then Feshie bridge on your right. You will find a path just along from the bridge to the right of the road.

Frank Bruce Sculpture Trail

Follow the path along till you reach a small car park which then leads you to the Frank Bruce Sculpture Trail which is starting to be reclaimed by nature as it was meant. The trail is worth the detour or take the path to the right which you will find is waymarked for the East Highland way. Follow the waymarkers you will come to a farm, the path will take a left before reaching a junction.

Loch Insh

At the junction take a right joining the Badenoch way again which you will follow till you return to the Loch Insh Outdoor Centre. Which is now a perfect time for coffee and cake at the Boathouse Bar and a well-earned rest!

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What is in my bucket for 2023…..

This is definitely not a list of New years resolutions that are usually totally unrealistic and you end up feeling even worse cause you have failed to achieve anything. So I have decided that a 2023 bucket list would be a great idea to motivate me and what ever I don’t manage I can roll over 2024 or just simply write off.

This may sound totally selfish but I am starting with myself. Precovid I looked after my skin, I ate sensibly, I went to the gym a few times a week. Covid hit and it all turned into a disaster although I did walk I took more photos then started blogging everything else took a backseat. We are heading to Iceland at the end of March which gives me the perfect target to get myself into a routine and get me fitter again. I have compiled a list of realistic looking after me tasks! Some of it is loosely based on the soft 75 challenge that some of you have maybe seen on social media.

  • Look after my skin by using the tonics, creams and serums that I own and not just treat them like ornaments by dusting them. This takes like 2 mins a day so no excuse.
  • Walk at least 10k steps a day, this used to be so easy but due to changing jobs the only walking that happens is walking the dogs or doing housework. So I just need to make more of an effort if it’s walking to the shop rather than taking the car and staying out longer when I do go out.
  • Use my 2 gym memberships at least 4 times a week so it is worth having both. At least one of the sessions should be swimming.
  • Try to eat healthier by cutting back on sugary snacks and cakes. I don’t want to start calorie counting so I will trial a few weeks so see how much progress I get purely by cutting back.
  • Drink 2 Litres of water or squash a day. This is easy to achieve once I get into the habit.

Where do I want to go in 2023?? We have already booked to go to Iceland but there are plenty of places in Scotland I want to visit too. Some of these places will depend if I achieve some of the first list, some are really easy just places I have not got round to and some I need to speak nicely to Mr C see if he will take me!

Blue Lagoon, Iceland 2016
  • Since I bought my ebike I have always wanted to do the Burma Road trail in Aviemore but just never got round to it so I plan to do this in the Spring. The Burma Road loop is a 42km trail that rises high above Aveimore with views of the Cairngorm national park.
  • I don’t often visit Aberdeen but for so long I have wanted to visit the Winter gardens at Duthie park I thought it was too far to walk from the train station but it turns out it is less than a 3 mile round trip so no excuse really.
  • I would really like to return to Harris and Lewis this year hopefully in the summer holidays but I would like to do some research before hand so we make most of our trip.
  • Not sure if I can achieve this one but I will try – Get closer to completing all the sub 2000 hills in Aberdeenshire, Cairngorms and Moray. I have 21 left of 43 that there are so if I get to 30 I will be doing pretty good.

How do I want to use my brain??? Not only do I want to sort out my fitness I want to use my brain more rather than mindless scrolling I’m wasting so much time on things that have little or no stimulation to my brain or my mental health.

  • I would like to read more which I have already started, I don’t expect miracles as I don’t always have but if I can read a book a month I will be happy. That is only around 15/20 pages a day so can be easily achieved. I will definitely share my reads on my social media and will be looking for recommendations.
  • I would like to write more and expand my website, at least 1 post a month sounds like a good plan but i would like more but best not to put too much pressure on myself.
My first book in long time!

Lastly money which we can’t do much without it. Like most of us I try my best to keep my eyes on my pennies and spend sensibly but sometimes I go rogue and splurge on things I don’t need.

  • How much clothes do I actually need??? Not as much as I have anyway, my plan is to only buy items I need, if I do try my best to shop small businesses online or local. Failing that shop second hand on Vinted, Marketplace, Ebay or charity shops.
  • Make the effort to use the items I have spent my hard earned money on like my Ebike, Camera, 360 Camera and Paddleboard.
  • Be more mindful when food shopping so food items don’t go to waste.
  • Don’t be tempted to buy random stuff on Amazon just cause it looked good on a Tiktok does not mean to say it is good!!!
  • Lastly make sure I am using all my subscriptions like gym memberships, Netflix etc
The Balloch at Sunrise

This is all going to be a work in progress and I add to it as the year goes on, my plan is to update quarterly so my next bucket list instalment will be before I go to Iceland at the end of March. I really hope I have achieved something. I hope this may inspire others to do the same or even give you some ideas or motivation.

By the way I still have not bought a diary and no one gave me one for Christmas but I did get some rather nice notes books that I am sure help along the way!

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2022 is almost over……

I had great expectations for 2022. I bought a fancy new diary and I had great plans to get myself into a better routine,write regular blog posts, lose some weight and just be the best version of myself. Little did I know what was ahead of me!!!!

We started 2022 coming home from an amazing relaxing holiday in our favourite campsite in Skye and was all set to go back to work I was all prepared to get back to the gym and get myself sorted out.

But my life was turned upside down when my mum was taken to hospital the day I was going back to work. The next couple months were spent juggling work and hospital visits she did get home for a little while but sadly at the start of March my mum passed away.

After she passed I went back to work quite soon after I did not want to stay at home and overthink. But then if things could not get any worse after 2 years avoiding it I got covid!!! So that was the first quarter of the year gone and not a single thing had been written in my diary.

Cullen from Castle hill

Spring came and the fuel costs were rising so I spent my days off exploring my local area being careful not to go too far. Moray and Aberdeenshire has some amazing picturestic places to visit many with fantastic well marked paths. So I don’t need to travel far to find some great places.

Roseisle
Ullapool

We did manage a few weekends away to Ullapool, Nairn and the bike racing at Knockhill. We were truly blessed with some amazing weather which definitely helped my mood. I kind of failed to make any contact with my friends and avoided all social events in fear of people asking if I am ok. I must admit my husband has been a complete rock through the tough times.

Knockhill

Almost half way through the year had I written in my diary, stuck to a diet or went to the gym??? The simple answer was no. I did try to get motivated but my head was not in it. Instead I decided to try something new. One day we were sitting in Cullen beach carpark watching folk out paddleboarding I thought I would like to do that! By the time we were home I had ordered a board and a wetsuit. Which was one of my better ideas. Why? Because when you’re on that board all you think about is not falling off nothing else matters.

In June we went to Glencoe and we had some amazing weather so much so I did some wild swimming at the natural pool at Red Squirrel campsite which I loved.

We had such a great weekend soaking up the much needed vitamin D. I think it was the first weekend I had really enjoyed myself but I felt guilty afterwards. Looking back I should not ever have felt like that but grief does funny things to you.

Glencoe

Summer was spent exploring, we had several weekends in Nairn so I could paddleboard on the pond and went along to Paddlebliss for a lesson which was totally out my comfort zone and I had a amazing time. I also ventured further afield to Loch Inch one day to explore parts I had never been.

Cairngorms

I even managed to drag my friend Gem up Ben Aigan even though she hated me when I said we were nearly at the top several times we made it eventually!

Ben Aigan with Gem

Our Summer Holidays could not come quick enough I organised them like a military operation between campsites and ferries. Visiting some of our favourite places as well as exploring some new ones. Paddleboarding and wild swimming at Arisaig was one of my highlights.

Paddleboarding at Arisaig

Portavadie was our little bit of luxury.

Infinity pool at Portavadie

Mull and Iona were just simply amazing.

Iona
Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Summer sadly came to an end and we went back to work but no sooner we were back to than we ended up in Aberfeldy for a weekend with a bunch of folk we mostly only ever spoke to on Facebook. We went kayaking down the Tay which was bloody amazing. We were so proud of ourselves that day.

Kayaking on the Tay

Autumn fast approached and finally after so long we decided for our wedding anniversary we would head to Falkirk and Stirling. We wanted to go to the Kelpies and the Falkirk wheel for ages but just never quite got there. They did not disappoint the Kelpies were amazing.

The Kelpies

No one ever actually told me what the Falkirk wheel was. I actually thought it was some kind of hydro electric making type contraption, so when I got on the wee boat for the tour I was totally amazed. I would put it in my top 10 places to visit in Scotland.

Falkirk Wheel

Through most of the summer and autumn I had been suffering from regular sore heads which I had actually thought I just needed new glasses but that did not help. I did finally go to the doctors in October but I actually started back at the gym and pool at the same time, wow the headaches just disappeared. So removing some screen time and destressing at the gym was the best medicine, which I kind of already knew but putting things into practice is not always that easy.

Cullen at Sunrise

I caught a couple of amazing sunrises in November. We also managed to get away a few times spending a night in Findhorn and took to run to Edinburgh one day so we stopped in past the Hermitage,Dunkeld on the way down and spent a night in Aviemore on the way home.

Findhorn
The Hermitage
Loch an Eilein

December finally arrived which filled me with dread so we decided we would go away for Christmas and just chill out, watch Netflix and enjoy our time off. So no plans have been made to visit anywhere or do anything. This will be my first Christmas without my mum and honestly I still can’t quite believe she is no longer here and this is just a bad dream.

With only 11 days of 2022 left have I written in my posh diary???? Have I hell!!! Have I lost any weight???? Not a single pound!!! But I have not wasted the year we have had lots of good times, I have tried some new things. It certainly has not turned out the way I thought but life is too short and it is time to write my 2023 bucket list!

Am I buying a 2023 diary??? No I don’t think I will bother!!!!

2023 Bucket list coming soon…………..