Category Archive Wildlife and Nature

Video of the Day

July 1st 2019


Creag Choinnich

View from Creag Choinnich
“Creag Choinnich

“Creag Choinnich is a beautiful hill in Braemar. It is home to the oldest recorded hill race dating back to 1064 and is still an annual tradition which Queen Victoria attended in 1850 as part of the Braemar Highland Games.
To reach the start of the Creag Choinnich trail from the centre of the village go towards Hillside Drive. Keep following the road and you will pass St Margaret’s Church. On the left you will see a large gate at the entrance to the woods. The trail is signposted with child-friendly information on flip-out posts.
The trail is 3.8km long and takes roughly an hour and a half (depending on speed) following existing paths. The trail is well signposted and a gradual ascent with a steeper section between post six and seven. The terrain is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs unless they are designed to manage off-roading.
Red squirrels, small woodland birds and buzzards are easily seen year round. Other species covered on the trail are wild flowers, minibeasts, pine martens, bees, dragonflies and damselflies, red deer, other birds of prey and creatures of the night.
At the summit a spectacular panoramic view of Royal Deeside awaits. Sit back and enjoy the scenery. Nearby you will see the mountains Morrone, Carn nan Sgliat and Carn na Droichaide, further in the distance you can see Beinn a’ Bhuird and Ben Avon. Overlooking the village you will be able to see Braemar Castle and Invercauld House as well as other local landmarks.
Trail maps are available in the Visitor Information Centre, Speciality Shop, Cranford Guest House, and Braemar Gallery.”


Tripadvisor Review

The Deeside Way

“The Deeside Way is a 41 mile path running from Aberdeen to Ballater. The route follows the line of the Old Royal Deeside Railway.
The path is suitable for walkers and cyclists throughout the duration of the route. Many sections of the route are also suitable for horses.
The rewarding journey is frequently broken down into 4 sections Aberdeen to DrumoakDrumoak to BanchoryBanchory to Aboyne and Aboyne to Ballater.

Aberdeen to Drumoak: 10.6 miles / 17 km.
Beginning at the Polmuir Road entrance to Duthie Park, you will journey through the suburbs of Aberdeen to Peterculter. The path takes you past Coalford towards Dalmaik and into Drumoak. This section of the Deeside Way takes roughly 3 – 4 hours to walk.

Drumoak to Banchory: 7 miles / 11 km.
Heading west out of Drumoak towards Crathes you will venture through Park Estate which is an ancient hunting estate of Robert the Bruce. You will enjoy gorgeous views of the River Dee and rolling hills en-route to Banchory. This section of the Deeside Way takes roughly 2 – 2.5 hours to walk.

Banchory to Aboyne: 13 miles / 21 km.
The longest section of the route takes you out of Banchory heading towards Potarch and onwards to Kincardine O’Neil (the oldest village on Deeside) before reaching Aboyne. Most of this section is not on the old railway line, it takes you through the hills providing great views over the Aberdeenshire landscape. This section takes roughly 4 – 5 hours to walk.

Aboyne to Ballater: 11 miles / 17.7 km.
This final section picks up on the old railway line once again. After leaving Aboyne the route will pass Deeside Gliding Club airfield and on to Dinnet. You will then get to Cambus O’May where you will see the impressive suspension bridge which was damaged following flooding in December 2015. For any Cheese connoisseurs a trip to Cambus O’May Creamery is a must do for a much needed refuel. Shortly after you will arrive in Ballater, winding through the houses transporting you back to Queen Victoria’s time. This final section takes roughly 3 – 4 hours to walk.”


The Deeside Way

Wikipedia Page

Glen Tanar

An hour’s drive from Aberdeen along the Deeside Road, Glen Tanar, with its breathtaking Highland scenery, is situated on the eastern edge of the Cairngorms National Park.

“Glen Tanar

From rugged heather moorland to towering Caledonian pine forests to the majestic River Dee. Glen Tanar is a destination for exploring the best of natural Scotland.

Estate Safaris
Glen Tanar offer driven guided tours taking you into the heart of the estate where you might spot a golden eagle soaring high above, herons fishing over the secluded trout loch, or red squirrels darting between the ancient Scots pines. The trip includes binoculars and refreshments but don’t forget your camera! Depending on the season and choice of route you may spot red deer, roe deer, red squirrels, adders, golden eagles, osprey, black grouse, merlins, hen harriers and crossbills.

Salmon Fishing
Where better to fish than amidst the breathtaking backdrop of Glen Tanar in Royal Deeside? One of the world’s best spring salmon rivers, the magnificent River Dee has been fished for centuries, and many of the beats within Glen Tanar have been used by anglers since the 1600s. Today, the fast flowing, crystal clear waters host a series of salmon pools that provide anglers with some of the best fly-fishing in Europe.
Fishing on the Dee also includes Sea Trout which start to arrive around May. A lot of people fish for them at night because the trout tend to be more active and it is quite an exciting way of fishing. They are smaller than salmon averaging a couple of pounds but can get up to 3-4lbs.

All fishing on Glen Tanar’s four beats is fly-based and can be booked by week, part week or day, subject to availability, from 1 March until 30 September inclusive. Fishing with a ghillie is included during the Spring season (from 1 March – 30 June), and available on some beats during the Summer season (1 July – 30 September).

Trout Fishing

Trout fishing on Glen Tanar’s private loch guarantees a tranquillity fix in peaceful, secluded surroundings. They offer fly fishing by boat for rainbow trout and brown trout. Lifejackets for adults and children are available but please bring your own fishing equipment. Day and evening sessions are available from March to December. Please visit their website for more details.

Walk, Ride, Cycle
Get off the beaten track and explore Glen Tanar by foot, by bike, or on horseback. There are miles of tracks throughout Glen Tanar making it an ideal location for exploration. Whether it is walking you enjoy or mountain biking, you can experience the wilderness of Scotland by venturing deep into the Estate. Glen Tanar also plays host to Scotland’s most easterly munro, Mount Keen, so if you are feeling adventurous why not bag a munro too!

Wildlife Photography
Glen Tanar is a wildlife photographer’s paradise. To help visitors watch and photograph some of the species that can be found here, there are several hides at various locations throughout the estate. These are positioned to make the most of available light and surrounding views. Visitors should be prepared to spend several hours inside a hide. The prevalence of individual bird species changes each year, and the chance of seeing them depends on breeding success and nest locations. Depending on the time of year you could could be lucky to spot osprey, merlin, black grouse, peregrines, hen harrier and the majestic golden eagle. Full information and booking details can be found on their website.

The Deeside Geotour runs along the Deeside Way from Drumoak to Ballater, continuing up to Braemar and some of the caches will take you into Glen Tanar Estate. All the caches are freely available and you can find out more information at the Glen Tanar Visitor Centre.”


From the Wikipedia Page for Glen Tanar:

“Glen Tanar (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Tanar) is a glen in Aberdeenshire, eastern Scotland, through which the Water of Tanar flows. Near the mouth of the glen, at Tower o’ Ess, the Water of Tanar flows into the River Dee. This flows through Deeside into the North Sea at Aberdeen.

Glen Tanar contains the third largest area of Caledonian Forest in Scotland, and is of national and European importance.

Forty-two square km of the glen is designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as a national nature reserve. Most of the area remains under private ownership as part of the Glen Tanar Estate, however 182 ha is owned by Scottish Natural Heritage, being designated as the “Strict Reserve Zone” of the national nature reserve. Glen Tanar lies within the Cairngorms National Park, and is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area, and a Special Area of Conservation. The national nature reserve is designated a Category IV protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Glen Tanar provides the eastern walking route to Mount Keen, Scotland’s most easterly Munro. Starting at the car park at the end of the public road, walkers follow the glen through the native Caledonian Forest into open moorland before crossing the river to begin the ascent.”

Wikipedia Entry for Glen Tanar

Tripadvisor Review

Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve

“Just at the edge of Dinnet village, there’s a place where you can walk through some of Deeside’s prettiest woodlands and picnic beside a loch clothed in water lilies. And if you fancy scrambling into a granite cauldron, following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, you can do that too!
Muir of Dinnet blends woodland, heath, open water and an impressive example of nature’s sculptural work, all on one site. Visit the Burn O’Vat and feel the rock walls swallow you up in their damp embrace, cutting you off from the outside world. Elsewhere, wander through birch woodlands, watch for the flash of a damselfly’s wings or savour the peace and tranquillity of a summer reflection in the clear water of the lochs.
Lying within the Cairngorms National Park, Muir of Dinnet has a range of enchanting walks through the woodland and around the water-filled kettle hole that forms Loch Kinord. There are four waymarked paths starting from the visitor centre. They range from just under a mile to the Burn O’Vat and up to nearly four miles on the Loch Kinord circular path. Take time to stroll through the woodland looking out for birds, animals and delicate woodland wildflowers
There is a visitor centre, which tells the story of how the different elements of the reserve evolved and what you are likely to see if you go out to enjoy the reserve. You can find out how glaciers carved up the landscape, how the lochs and bogs formed, how well the woodland is doing and why the reserve is so special. The visitor centre is rated Gold as part of the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
The best time to visit is in spring and winter for birds, and all year round for visits to the Burn O’Vat.
There are toilets a short distance beyond the visitor centre, which are open all year. One of these toilets is wheelchair accessible and also has baby changing facilities.The main car park is located at the Burn O’ Vat Visitor Centre. Paths are available to the Burn `o Vat, onto Parkin’s Moss, around Loch Kinord, from Dinnet village and between Lochs Kinord and Davan.”


Muir of Dinnet Wikipedia page

Muir of Dinnet National Reserve at Tripadvisor

Muir of Dinnet National Reserve at

The North Coast Route 500

27th May 2019

This video is from the Storytellers YouTube channel


Published on 25 Apr 2017

The route that circles around Scotland’s top north highlands has always been there, but never got a name, until not so long ago. Now, known as the North Coast Route 500, this natural itinerary moved in the limelight, and was nicknamed Scotland’s Route 66. This may sound daunting, but we have just been on a trip that strikes the perfect balance between planning and spontaneity, and is not to mention one of the most beautiful places we have ever encountered. If you want to take it easy and spend time at every attraction, you’ll need 7 days and a cheap car rental, and that’s all it will take to experience a whole new world  Some great spot you’ll find along the road:

Day 1 Some spectacular sights, starting in the northernmost city in the UK, called Inverness. Bordered by rolling hills and castle ruins at Loch Ness, it’s as beautiful as it is mysterious. Stop at the Dunrobin Castle is just as beautiful. Everything about it, the gardens, spires and turrets makes it look like a castle that comes straight out of a fairy-tale, while Disney looks dismal in comparison. Just a short drive away is the Carn Liath, a prehistoric structure that takes you back to the iron age when it was originally built. Only 19 metres in diameter, it’s easy to get a real sense of the place and admire it in its entirety.

DAY 2: Brora to Thurso Wake up early and do a little bit of exploring in Brora, known for its golden sandy beaches and array of sea life. Dolphins, Minke whales and seals are regular visitors. Grey Cairns of Camster. These rare Neolithic stone tombs are definitely worth a visit. They hold immense historical value that were built over 5000 years ago, unveiling many secrets of that time. Characterized by immense cliff stacks, this impressive path leads to the remote Duncansby Head lighthouse. Perched on the corner of a sheer drop. Port Lybster is a fun stop over for who lover lighthouses.

DAY 3: Thurso to Durness Scotland is scattered with hundreds of these historical ruins, of both enchanting castles and landhouses. Another one to look out for is Castle Varig, which is well worth a short hike up a neighbouring hill that offers the best viewpoint of the castle, and a nearby loch.  Secondly, an assortment of wildlife tours that take you to the perfect vantage points, where you can view the stunning local Puffins up close. Durness: the best artisan chocolate in all of Scotland, at the Cocoa Mountain Café and Chocolatier, and when paired with one of their famous coffee blends, you may just want to stay here all day. Smoo cave is truly exceptional, making it onto our list of top 5 experiences along the NC 500. It’s unique in that it’s formed by two caves, one fresh-water cave and one sea-water cave, linking together as one. The entrance has been formed by the action of the sea, whereas the inner chambers are freshwater passages, and if you dare enter the cave, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a spectacular waterfall.

DAY 4: Durness to Ullapool Achmelvich beach is by far the best place to chill, with its soft white sand and pristine clear blue waters that could easily match those of the Maldives (except for the temperature).

DAY 5: Ullapool to Torridon Ullapool is a popular holiday destination for the Scots, and although it’s relatively big and touristy, it has its own unique charm that’s worth experiencing. When the crowds get too much, jump back into nature to see one of the natural wonders of the Highlands – Corrieshalloch Gorge.

DAY 6: Torridon to Strathpeffer Torridon boasts some of the most picturesque landscapes we’ve had the pleasure of seeing with our own eyes, and the perfect finale to a memorable trip. Wake up early and let the sunlight reveal it to you. Once you’ve had a chance to take it all in, head over to a peninsula called Applecross, made up of small-scale food producers. It’s relatively unknown to tourists and is home to a number of gems if you take the time to explore the community. Then to end the roadtrip off on a high, take a turn onto the Bealach na Ba road, meaning “The Pass of the Cattle”.

This is by far one of the most impressive roads in the UK, with remarkable views of , the whole of Skye, and the Islands of Rum and the Outer Hebrides while the road wind towards Strathpeffer.    

DAY 7: Strathpeffer to Inverness Waking up in Strathpeffer, knowing it’s your final day, can’t help but make one feel slightly heart sore. However, there’s nothing quite like a spa day to make you feel better, and it just so happens that that town is known for its Spas.

by: Roxanne Boyes

Film and edit: Caspar Daniël Diederik

Protagonist: Enza di Lecce

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