A Walk Up Bennachie

Chances are that if you live in Aberdeen or the surrounding Aberdeenshire, then you've walked up Bennachie at least once in your life, whether it be on a school trip, with friends or family, or on a Sunday afternoon when you're trying to rid your hangover from Saturday night.
Bennachie is essentially a range of hills in Aberdeenshire, with several peaks, the highest being Oxen Craig which stands at a height of 1733ft, however, Mither Tap is the most popular due to it being the most visible, and stands at a height of 1699ft. The peaks of Bennachie are not relatively high compared to other peaks within Scotland, but the mountain is very prominent due to it's isolation and relative flatness of the surrounding areas. It can be seen from miles and miles around, even from my living room window!
Anyway, starting at the Bennachie Centre Car Park, we made our way through the lower forest section of the Mither Tap trail, until we reached around the half way point where the trees clear, and the steep stone steps begin. Whether you're going up or down this trail, it's a certain ankle killer, and even worse on a wet day. I certainly didn't remember it being as steep as it was, but maybe I just wasn't as fit as I was when I last walked the trail.
Mither Tap has an Iron Age fort on it's summit, which is a nice treat upon reaching the top. We had just enough time to grab some lunch, take in the surrounding views, and be back on our way down before the rain came in.

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Crathes Castle

Everyone loves castles, right? Well Scotland has a good few of them. Crathes Castle, just south of Aberdeen, near Banchory in Aberdeenshire is a 16th century castle,  and was built by the Burnetts of Leys and then held in their family for almost 400 years. It is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is of course, open to the public. For more history about the castle and the grounds that it sits on, be sure to head here.

Unfortunately, we never went inside the castle this time, so there's no shots of the interior or anything, but next time I'll be sure to check it out.

However, the castle estate itself has 530 acres of woodlands and fields, so we took a little wander through some of the trails there. Then, adjacent to the castle is near 4 acres of walled garden, which is a pretty special place, probably one of the nicest gardens I've been in.

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