Sometimes Staying Low Is Best: Clais Fhearnaig

Having reviewed the weather last night, we decided on a lower level walk as it looked likely to be blustery on the high tops. We discussed options: lie in and go out for an afternoon start, or go early to beat the crowds and virtually guarantee a parking space.

Having opted for an early start (I’ve taken to the odd 5:30 am run of late, so 6:40 am was almost a lie in, the reality of such an early Saturday morning did not appeal in the event. Were it not for Bruce having a little more enthusiasm, it would have been an afternoon walk after all!

Linn of Quoich

I drove so it took us slightly longer to get out the road to Braemar. We were fortunate in getting one of the last spaces in the small parking area on arrival at Linn of Quoich; celebrating small wins!

Visiting Glen Quoich was a first for us, never having walked here. It truly is a beautiful glen and worth a look if you’ve never experienced it.

The Punch Bowl

We took the detour recommended by Walk Highlands and found ourselves at the Punch Bowl:

This was a great spot with some lovely fast flowing water, unlike the rest of the streams (and the River Dee) that are all remarkably low after this hot, dry spell.

Caledonian Pinewoods and Beinn a’Bhuird

Retracing our steps from the Punch Bowl, we followed a good track up Glen Quoich, past the old Caledonian Pines. I love these trees – they’re so beautiful and must have so many stories to tell. There was one in particular that intrigued me – it had a hole a good way up it, reminding me of the Enid Blyton stories of my childhood and Moonface that lived in The Magic Faraway Tree! I must read it again someday to see if it’s as good as I remember.

The walking was easy on a very good path, the sun was out with lovely, clear skies, and the scenery was amazing. Views of the surrounding hills abounded and the munros were clear as the day. Beinn a’Bhuird was particularly impressive, although without my personal mapping tool (Bruce) and the walk guide I’ve have been none the wiser which hill it was, such is the way my brain works.

We walked quite a few miles before finally turning off and heading gently upwards.

Clais Fhearnaig

The path narrowed significantly and we headed up towards the lochan, again low in water. We didn’t see any trout – who knows if they’re still there?

The gusting wind picked up as we headed towards Glen Lui and we were glad to drop down, out of the wind, towards the main track to Linn of Dee again.

Returning Via Glen Lui

The path towards Linn of Dee was quiet and we followed it to Black Bridge before veering off rather than going to Linn of Dee. Again, the woodlands were beautiful with lots of young trees sprouting and more of the aged pines.

Mar Lodge

The final part of the walk took us towards Mar Lodge where we followed the river and skirted the grounds of the lodge. I was quite happy here; however, my walking companion thought we’d have been better going along the road. Either way, we found ourselves hitting the road with about a kilometre to go before reaching the car.

Coffee at The Bothy

As with all good walks, we found ourselves at The Bothy in Braemar for a coffee to complete our day. A beautiful walk, proving you don’t need to go high every time!

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