After losing all of the April weekends to dog sitting at Cruden Bay and family visits back home we finally manged to get back into some sort of walking routine this weekend. Not that we had been idle at Cruden Bay - the dogs were well walked every day - but our outings were confined to the nature reserve at Forvie or the Slains Castle / Goat's Hillock circuit and, apart from sighting a couple of owls that seem to have taken up residence around the hill, there wasn't much to blog about. We did also manage a trip up Millstone Hill by Bennachie but since I'd also written that one up I wasn't inclined to repeat myself. I was tempted to write a post based on our successful search for the trig point at Forvie marked on the O&S map, but I decided that sounded a little bit too sad and desperate and that I wasn't quite at the stage of going through life ticking off trig points!
We had intended to walk on Friday but were put off by the strong northerly wind and driving sleet! I know we were being a bit namby pamby, but we're supposed to be doing this for pleasure after all! Saturday however dawned crisp and clear and although there was still a stiffish breeze it was much more inviting when we set off. The goal for today was to find Balnamoon's cave located somewhere at the north end of Glen Mark, something we had half heartedly tried to do last year when we only got as far as Queens Well. The walk starts at the Glen Esk car park that, being a Saturday rather than our normal Friday and being the easiest kicking off point for Munro baggers heading up Mount Keen, was relatively busy. Our route follows that of the baggers along an easy path for an hour or so until we reached Queens Well and since I'd already written a bit about this part of the route I thought I'd stick in some photos rather than more words!
|Heading up Glen Mark|
|Our only view of a snow capped Mount Keen (right)|
|First sight of Queens Well with the Mount Keen path heading around Couternach|
|Built in memory of Queen Victoria who stopped off for a drink with Prince Albert in 1861.|
|Glenmark holiday cottage|
|Craig of Doune|
|Looking back downriver - our route through the heather is on the left.|
As it turned out there was a faint path that followed the very edge of the river and we reached the meadow at the foot of Craig of Doune without getting our feet wet. The Water of Doune waterfall looked a lot more spectacular from a distance than it did close up so, a little bit disappointed, we made our way on upstream. The theory being that if we could get far enough we might be able to see the cave from the north bank - disappointing but not a disaster!
|Water of Doune waterfall|
|Can you spot it? - It's right in the centre of the picture|
|You wouldn't want to be a fat fugitive!!|
|Not the most comfortable spot, (yes that is a flask but it wasn't ours and I'm pretty sure it didn't belong to Balnamoon!!).|
|But look at the view from the front door!|
|Our last waterfall of the day|
|Towards the head of the glen|
|The Ring Ouzel, (photo curtesy of the Shropshire Birder)|
We had left the car at 09.30 and wandered back to the car park just before 4 o'clock. All in all a fine day.