Past Walks in 2014
Enjoy having a look through a few of our walks this year
The first walk of the year was to Tyrebagger Hill and the Dyce Stone Circle.
The forecast had been poor and we were rather concerned that this walk (which had already been planned but cancelled in December) might have to be cancelled again. However the weather improved and the four who walked enjoyed a very pleasant day out.
The ascent of Tyrebagger Hill did us all good after the over-indulgence of the festive season and the Tappie Tower is an interesting and unusual viewpoint. From there we were led along small paths to reach the Stone Circle where we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine. There were already some daisies showing in the grass and a feeling "Can Spring be far behind?"
The view from the Stone Circle with its ancient recumbent and upright stones is a contrast indeed. There, almost a stone's throw away, is Aberdeen Airport and the large industrial estate.
After the cancellation of the February walk due to bad weather forecasts for the day, the first day of March was spectacularly beautiful!
Peter led a group of eight walkers from the Bennachie Centre around the Colony Trail. This is a fascinating walk which allows walkers
to explore the history of the area as well as
enjoy the beauty and nature along the paths. The area was settled in the early
nineteenth century by crofters (sometimes described as 'squatters'. They kept various animals on the small strips of land and grew crops. In 1859 eight landowners took possession of the lands under a law known as The Division of the Commonty. This made the crofting, never an easy way
of life anyway, even more precarious and many of the colonists left. The last of the colonists, George Esson, continued to live in his croft until 1939.
We saw several examples of foundations of crofts and dividing dykes. There are some sites which are currently being investigated by archaeologists as the Forestry Commission have carried out felling in several places. Also we had a look at Esson's Croft.
Bennachie is actually a range of hills covering a large area. It is managed by a number of bodies. A voluntary group called The Baillies of Bennachie does a great job working with statutory
groups to provide signposted, safe, attractive, informative and accessible paths around the area.
After our Colony walk we returned to the car park where we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine and a
short rest. Then we set off again, this time along the old turnpike road. This was previously part
of the original Aberdeen to Inverness road. From this track we went on a rather steep narrow path to reach the Bede House. This small but rather fine building was used as a picnic
area for the family from nearby Pittodrie House. It is now ruined but a lovely spot
to visit, completely enclosed by the forest. It has a glorious view from the arched window of a waterfall.
Returning to our transport, several of us then went for refreshments at the café in Chapel of Garioch.
The April walk was the one which had been scheduled for February but postponed due to weather. This time the weather was pleasant and with spring arriving so early there was plenty of greenery everywhere. The walk started at Dobbie's Garden Centre. A good track leads uphill to Sheddocksley to join the Bucksburn Valley core-paths network. We walked to Northfield and then down the Howes Road where there were a few ducks on the pond.
The walk continued along the Bucksburn Valley to Kingswells where the consumption dykes created a great
deal of interest. These are dry stone walls built to 'use up' the stones cleared from agricultural land. Often in N.E. Scotland these are double walls and the space between is also filled in with stones, a testaments to the very rocky nature of the ground, perhaps. The examples in Kingswells are very impressive and the one where lunch was enjoyed was extremely high as well as broad. Some of the street names in Kingswells reflect the presence of these dykes-for
example Broaddykes View.
Continuing via a different route past Gillahill Farm (probable origin Gallows Hill) the walk terminated
at Dobbie's where a cup of tea was much enjoyed. We failed to discover the purpose of the chimney at the farm. Does anyone know?