We’ve made a couple of trips now to hike in an area called Bennachie that is only about a 30 minute drive from Aberdeen. The countryside around our city is referred to as Aberdeenshire, so we are quite fond of saying,
Let’s head out to the shire today!
Come on y’all, we’re going to the shire!
Seriously, it never gets old. At least not for this American.
Also, somewhat funny is how we tend to mispronounce the names of places. On our first trip to this particular area, we stopped to ask for directions and we got blank faces until I showed them the name in my guidebook.
Because apparently Bennachie = Ben-uh-Hee
Just so you know.
But now that we’ve got the pronunciation sorted, we are beginning to learn our way around this very well-kept set of hiking trails.
There are multiple ways to go, so you can always add a bit more on or take a little off your walk if the weather turns. Some of the routes are for mountain bikes as well, and then also there are some hard core mountain bikers on the walking routes.
From where you park, you hike through an old growth forest that is almost eerily dark. The kids found climbing tress and wild mushrooms along this part of the walk.
Then the trees end and you ascend quickly through fields of heather to hilltops with beautiful views of the area.
There are several tall points, and our first weekend out, after getting up out of the trees, we did a loop where you hit three of the highest hills before heading back down again.
This past weekend, we just had Ben and Simon with us, so we did a shorter loop called Millstone.
The temperatures were right at freezing, so there was frost on the fields and even a little ice on some of the rocks.
After our hike, we stopped into a little butcher shop in the village of Kemnay for pies to warm us up. Steak pie is Simon’s favorite. There was a bakery around the corner, so we had sweets as well.
We still have not nearly explored all of Bennachie, and I can tell that it will be fun to watch it change through the seasons. The pictures from these two hikes are about a month apart and you can already see a lot of difference in the landscape. Also, our October hike was in the afternoon sun, while our November trip out was in the morning rain.
I know we will be sharing these hilltops with friends when they visit next summer, and I cannot wait to see this heather in full bloom!
Mary Polly snapped this picture of Taido and me on top of one of the hills (Oxen Crag). I can’t even remember what the boys were doing to make us laugh so hard.