With 32 walkers aboard, almost a full bus, we set off from Aberdeen heading on the North Deeside Road to Dinnet, our starting point for this relatively easy low level walk. We had a number of new walkers on this our first outing of the new hillwalking season.
Almost all of the group choose the main route from Dinnet along the Deeside Way though the Muir of Dinnet and passing Cambus o’ May and the iconic white bridge recently restored following major storm damage. We then passed “Cutaway Cottage” where the gable end of the building was modified to allow the passage of steam trains on the main Aberdeen-Ballater rail line in bygone days. This old rail track bed now forms the Deeside Way route from Aberdeen to Ballater.
A number of walkers headed for the Deeside Cheese Factory and cafe for a coffee/lunch break before crossing the road to Turnerhall Forest trails where our route led us upwards to a signpost junction and through the woods to the Burn o’ Vat Visitor Centre. A short trail then led to the open cavern of the Vat burn and storyboards in the Visitor Centre explained the formation of this circular open cavern many years ago during the ice age.
We then followed a signed route around Loch Kinord with its many historical features, including the Celtic stone cross, Castle Island and the Crannog on the loch. Again new storyboards explained these historic features as well as flora and fauna of the area.
We soon reached our bus parked at Dinnet and after a short pub stop at Aboyne our driver had us safely home in Aberdeen at around 5.30pm.

Frank Kelly

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