Burn O’Vat (Muir of Dinnet)

Here I am again bearadventurers!

Today I will show you a gorgeous walk to the Burn O’Vat we took way back in July, Mum is so busy that our posts are piling up a bit… But don’t panic, they are coming sooner or later!

The impressive Burn O’Vat is located near Dinnet, Aberdeenshire, in the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve.

IMG_0244-001.JPG

This is a super easy and affa bonnie walk, suitable for children. You don’t need any map given that the path and signs are perfectly clear, though in case you want to explore the area a bit more as we did and walk a circular and longer route here I leave the link to the track we followed.

The only advice we have for you is to wear waterproof shoes, mountain boots are good enough but if you don’t have any just bring some shoes to change afterwards. Just a quick tip, any time you read any nature name containing ‘burn‘, remember that it’s for sure a water-related place.

There’s a big car park just beside the visitor centre where we started walking in a beautifully overcast and warm day. We were very lucky indeed.

IMG_0245-001.JPG

As soon as we walked into the fresh and lush pine forest we encounter the first surprise. One of those art forms mum calls ‘literatart’, what means some kind of words artisticaly integrated with the environment. There are loads of examples as this one all around Scotland and we are loving it!

In this particular case we’ve found the poem ‘A Single Quaver’ by Gael Turnbull:

A single quaver
Of loosening ice
Extends across the silence,
Revives the air
With the almost forgotten song
Of snow melting to water
And of water flowing
To reaffirm
As winter’s claw
Holds a little longer,
Although what was
Is strong,
What will be’s
Stronger.

I know we don’t leave much to the imagination with our pics but anyway I’m not going to reveal the location so you can have some fun looking for it! A piece of cake 🙂

As you continue walking the path suddenly reaches a point where it vanishes. There you find a river and a huge wall of mossy boulders with what looks like a narrow passage in the middle. Go on. Be brave, step into the water and walk carefuly through that rocky alley.

There it goes daddy first, through the magical door to the Burn O’Vat, that literally takes you to an otherworldly place.

Here you have the Vat, a mammoth water-carved bowl formed after the last ice-age. No wonder it has been a popular attraction since Victorian times.

img_0283-001

After exploring this natural marvel you can return to the car following the same way back or continue through the forest as we did. You’re not going to find anything else as impressive as the Vat, though during the summer you are going to find loads of blueberries for sure, so worth it!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this new bearadventure! Join me in the next one which I will be posting really really really soon, I promise.

img_0246-001

See you soon!

Best wishes,

MrBear The Mountaineer

Advertisements

The Gates of Negapatam or Fyrish Monument

No, we are not going to India this time but almost… The story of this bearadventure is far better!

After a quick visit to Inverness, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle we are heading up north for climbing Fyrish Hill, located near Alness following the road to Thurso.

Here I leave the link for the gps track, which could be useful because even though the path to the summit is easy and clear, finding the car park can be a bit tricky.

img_0175-001

I think the story of the monument is really sweet. These arches were built back in 1782, at that moment in time the local Highlanders were dealing with great unemployment rates due to land and farming issues so Sir Hector Munro ordered the monument to be built trying to employ some of those suffering men. The story even says that Munro himself helped to roll the rocks back down the hill so that to lengthen the construction time.

The monument mimics The Gates of Negapatam, one of many British conquest in India during the colonisation period. Read more about the Fyrish Monument here.

Leaving historical facts behind, I’m sure this is one of the most spectacular sites any teddy bear has ever visited!

Quite a steep path all the way up, but I didn’t even notice it because I went all the way munching on loads of blueberries, my favourite food as you already know!

The beautiful pine forest we crossed had a fluffy blanket of moss and blueberry bushes.

Half way up, when the forest starts to disappear, you can find a kind of pond. Dangerous place in Scotland at this time of the year but we very lucky not having any encounter with the midges.

IMG_0144-001.JPG

And here starts the real deal. As soon as we leave the forest behind… we get THOSE views!

img_0165-001

There you can see the North Sea and the whole sweep of the Cromarty firth, and minutes after admiring the breathtaking scenery then you reach the stunning monument to complete the shock.

img_0160-001

Dad had to hold me tight for the pic due to the crazy Scottish wind!

 

Hope you have enjoyed this new bearadventure ❤

Join me in the next one!

Best wishes,

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

 

 

Clachnaben

Back in town, bearadventurers!!!
Sorry for being absent but Mum was dead busy.

In this bearadventure we walked up Clachnaben, a little but charming hill in Glen Dye, Aberdeenshire.

IMGP4197-001

It is a short and simple hike, around 9km and 500m ascent which you can easily walk in two hours, but we really enjoyed it given the good weather and the awesome view. There is no need of gps track, the path from the Quarry car park to the top is very clear but just in case, you can download it here.

IMGP4199-001

We started by crossing through a refreshing and lush pine forest, always lovely being surrounded by those everlastingly green spiky giants!

 

IMGP4217-001

We start to distinguish our summit in the background.

IMGP4228-001

Some comfortable trees in our way.

From now on, the path is going to be more and more steep so hold your breath!

Almost there…

IMGP4242-001

We did it!

We spent a while up there enjoying the landscape and having lunch before heading back to reality following the same path. I do hope you enjoyed this bearadventure as much as I did.

IMGP4256-001

See you in the next one!!!

Best wishes,

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

Mum’s new project: Lady Thornfield

Today’s post is not a hike but it’s indeed related with nature.

Have I ever told you my Mum is an artist?

She has always kept her hobby privately but recently started a new project, taking this hobby a bit more seriously. In case you’re interested the facebook page is called Lady Thornfield, same as the Instagram: @ladythornfield.

IMGP4133-001

Every drawing is going to deal with a particular word, a quote, or a literary fragment, as they are her main source of inspiration apart from nature. You do know that already.

IMGP4135-001

But don’t panic! She is not quitting the bearadventures. Wandering and exploring are not a choice but essencial ingredients so don’t worry: Bearadventures are to be continued 😀

See you soon.

Best wishes!

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

In the footsteps of Bram Stoker

New exciting bearadventure!
A dramatic and beautiful coastal walk from Cruden Bay to the Bullers of Buchan and the same way back (aprox. 9km and 3h). Here you can download the track.

slains castle

And now I can imagine yourself wondering about what on earth does Bram Stoker here…
Well, easy! It seems that Cruden Bay was his favourite Summer retreat. He stayed in the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel (you can read more about his experience there in their website) and it is said as well that the nearby castle served as an inspiration for his well-known novel Dracula.
Our adventure starts from a parking beside the church, where at first we have to cross a creepy little forest. The ideal beginning for the gloomy day ahead.

IMGP3962-001

11 am but the light was a bit crepuscular, great!

After ten minutes walking or so the castle appeared in the distance. So stop for a moment… We actually are in the footsteps of Bram Stoker! That’s exciting, isn’t it? 😀

IMGP3965-001

New Slains Castle

It’s easy to guess the castle is not very old, and more of a palace than a castle. The remnant ruins are in bad shape and it’s obvious that nobody is looking after it. Even the legal owners intentionally destroyed the roof just for avoiding taxes so the poor thing clearly needs urgent care. Here you can read more about its history.

Thanks to the University of Aberdeen Special Libraries and Archives you can see a photograph of the castle after its last refurbishment in 1836. That’s how Bram Stoker would have known it.

Despite being horribly damaged, the vision of those walls quietly standing on the edge of the cliffs is still impressive. I can’t help but think about the stunning Dunnottar Castle.

IMGP3986-001

Leaving the fortress behind, we continue our way pleasantly surprised by the fluffy grass that softens our steps along the path. Just like walking on pillows!

IMGP3991-001

Then we passed by a birds crime scene, there was some dens and loads of feathers lost in some fierce battle. Life must be harsh up there!

And on the edge of finishing our route, Mum spotted something unusual inside what seemed to be a nest: A little bird skull!!! We took it with us and cleaned it carefully, we don’t know much about birds anatomy but given the size and the shape of the beak it could be a seagull skull. So fragile, creepy and interesting at the same time…

The perfect final touch for our Gothic motif bearadventure. Hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did. Join me in the next one!

Best wishes,

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

Of fire and ice: Arthur’s Seat

As my book of books comes to its end, so it slowly does my hibernation time. What means I will be back in track shortly, yeeeha!

IMGP3952-001

Who says hibernation sucks, bears?

That’s why we have made the most of our family visit to Edinburgh by training a bit and climbing Arthur’s Seat. Here you can take a look at every possible way to climb this hill, we made it to the top through the Purple way but I must confess that Mum didn’t even know there were more options… shhhhh.

IMGP3879-001

View from Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat to the left, Salisbury Crags to the right.

Arthur’s Seat is the perfect balcony for admiring Edinburgh city in all its extent but it seems that the name has nothing to do with King Arthur or any Arthurian myth. However, it’s thought to be a corruption of Ard-na-Said, a Gaelic phrase meaning ‘Height of the Arrows’.

The most interesting fact about this little mountain is it’s formation because we are talking about an extinct volcano. In Calton Hill you can find an interesting sign where everything is clearly explained.

IMGP3876-001

Cool, uh?

Even though that link I posted says the Purple way is the most difficult one, it isn’t difficult at all. We reached the peak in half an hour or so from Holyrood Park. It’s steep, right, but walking at your own pace there’s no problem at all.

When you are at the basement looking at that vertical wall in front of you, it appears almost an imposible task but once reached, the path is cobbled with big stones, maybe slippery if wet, but very confortable otherwise. Just like going up stairs anywhere 🙂

IMGP3773-001

Stunning, isn’t it? We are just halfway there!

I’m surprised I wasn’t stiff after all this time al home, even afterwards I thought I would be shattered but not! Probably the view helped, just a bit 😛

IMGP3777-001

Well-deserved break at the top ❤

Hope you have liked this short and easy bearadventure, the wild ones are coming. And for finishing this post up, I leave you with the wise man’s words, talking from Edinburgh streets:

IMGP3849-002

 

Best wishes!

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

Crathes Castle: Gardens and Trails

Now that we are almost starting the sleeping-beauty season and nature is calmly resting and saving energy to the springtime (just as we bears do, cosily hibernating), I am going to show you the most colourful place I’ve ever visited some weeks ago: Crathes Castle Gardens.

DSC_0003Such majestic castle was built in the 16th century as a gift from King Robert the Bruce to a high-ranking family. We are yet to see the interiors, we keep the mystery so that to pay it a wintry visit later on.

20150926_115834-001

Firstly we visited the walled garden. A marvelous mixture of lush plants and amazing gardening skills.

Not only home to strikingly beautiful flowers but also to loads of happy insects, like bees and butterflies ❤

20150926_120936-001

Peacock butterfly

The mammoth and impressively carved bushes looked like surreal figures in a labrynth, so I was gradually falling into the realms of fantasy.

 

20150926_121846-001

Resting among the autumn crocus

Then the gently path leaded us into the Victorian greenhouses, what a warm and wet delight! I was a bit afraid of so many bees in all their hustle and bustle (you know bears and bees… well, we are not best friends) but they were too busy to notice us…

20150926_122132-001.jpg

20150926_124432-001

I could have stayed there forever but we had to leave because there was a trail awaiting us. Though we are surely going back!

20150926_124606-001

The lands of the castle are extended to so many acres that we can enjoy up to 5 signposted trails, from 1 to 7km, approx. We took the longest one, called Ley Way.

20150926_125422-001

What a beautiful and moist pine forest, full of mushrooms here and there. We only heard some birds this time, but if you are lucky enough and early riser you could even see some cute otters.

20150926_113952-001

Hope you’ve enjoyed my second Scottish bearadventure; if so, fell free to join me in the next one!

20150926_132414-001

See you soon!

 

Best wishes,

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

 

 

The fort on the shelving slope

After ages of abscence… Here I am again with new bearadventures!

As it couldn’t have been otherwise, I have started my Scottish journey visiting a castle which ruins are one of the most popular historic landmarks here: Dunnottar Castle, or Dùn Fhoithear in Gaelic, which means “fort on the shelving slope.”

The best way to access the castle is a narrow coastal path from Stonehaven, approx. 5km, and there is no use explaining how to reach the path from the village because of the significant amount of signs you are going to find.

IMGP3448-001 IMGP3454-001

I had never seen a castle before… so excited!

IMGP3460-001 IMGP3464-001

The picturesque Stonehaven would be worth a visit even without the casttle. What a lovely little town!

IMGP3560-001

Lovely, indeed ❤

Following the path under the gentle Scottish sun we passed by a monument but, as I was so keen on reaching the castle, we left it for the way back. You have to pay attention and watch your steps carefully because at some points the path is very exposed going along those steep cliffs. Especially once you get to the point where you start seeing the castle, that magical moment when you forget everything else and only are able to stare at that breathtaking view:

IMGP3468-001

THE CASTLE!

IMGP3484-001 IMGP3476-001

While approaching to the mammoth ruined fortress on that stunning setting I couldn’t help imagining myself as a fierce bear-dane invading the castle causing the fall of King Donald II during the 9th century, as a bear-rebel under William Wallace’s command defeating the “Hammer of the Scots” during the War of Scottish Independence or saving the “Honours of Scotland” from destruction holding out against Cromwell’s army. So many stories between those smashed walls… I was so entranced that words can not fill the cup of experience.

IMGP3487-001

Tickets are fairly priced, you are not going to be dissapointed. Specially because there is no time restriction whatsoever so you can stay there all day long until the castle is closing.

IMGP3500-001 IMGP3511-001

IMGP3495-001 IMGP3504-001

IMGP3510-001 IMGP3539-001

IMGP3543-001 IMGP3515-001

IMGP3546-001

Just mindblowing!

No idea how much time we spent there but sadly we had to return so in our way back we stopped to see the monument mentioned before. It happened to be a First and Second World War Memorial.

IMGP3555-001 IMGP3559-001

IMGP3557-001 IMGP3558-001

What an awesome day! My first bearadventure and I am already in love with Scotland… and very happy as well because as Mum and Dad promised me Scottish scenery is very similar to the Asturian one (except for the castles).

I can not wait to hillwalk this amazing fairyland!!!

Best wishes!

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

Happy to meet. Sorry to part. Happy to meet again!

This time we are going to a different mountain, a very different kind of outdoor activity. We are going to Mount Naranco, a hill which plays the role of Oviedo‘s most famous viewpoint (you can quickly understand why).

IMGP3387-001

In fact, we are bidding Oviedo farewell because we are moving to Scotland. Daddy got hired in a hospital up there so I am going back to my homeland!
As I only know London, I am really excited about getting to know the rest of the UK. Mum just told me that I’m going to love it, they say it is really similar to Asturias so then I have no doubt I would be in love with it within a second or two. 🙂

IMGP3383-001 IMGP3384-001

IMGP3388-001 IMGP3391-001

IMGP3397-001 IMGP3402-001

So, there we were enjoying the sunset and the best view of the city for the last time in a while. And we had another important mission: Planting a tiny cute oak Mum and Dad had at home.
Mum found it when it was just a baby oak and took care of it at home but, as we can not carry it with us to Scotland, we decided to plant it in Mount Naranco, where is going to grow happily ever surrounded by other oaks.

one-of-the-plot-oak-trees-001

Starting a new life abroad and planting a tree are two activities so related we wanted to complete them with a paralell planting there in Scotland. That’s why Mum chose Trees for Life, Scotland’s leading conservation charity. We wanted to create a kind of symbolic link before going there so we also planted a tree in Scotland at the same time to help restoring the Caledonian forest. So nice! I’ve planted my first tree in Oviedo and another in Scotland as well ❤ I hope we can go volunteering someday and help to plant them ourselves!

IMGP3440-001

And the message I included there is the beginning of Lord Byron’s charming poem ‘The Highlands swelling blue’:

He who first met the Highlands swelling blue
Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue,
Hail in each crag a friend’s familiar face,
And clasp the mountain in his mind’s embrace.
Long have I roamed through lands which are not mine.
Adored the Alp and loved the Apennine,
Revered Parnassus and beheld the steep
Jove’s Ida and Olympus crown the deep.
But t’was not all long ages’ lore, nor all
Their nature held me in their thrilling thrall;
The infant rapture still survived the boy,
And Loch-na-gar with Ida look’d o’er Troy.
Mix’d Celtic memories with Phrygian mount,
And Highland linns with Castalie’s clear fount.
Forgive me, Homer’s universal shade,
Forgive me, Phoebus, that my fancy stray’d;
The north and nature taught me to adore
Your scenes sublime, from those beloved before.

I was quite sad because I had not enough time for exploring Asturian mountains properly, but Dad told me not to worry and swore to me we are coming back on vacations to carry on with the planned hikes. Therefore, in the meantime, I can show you my Scottish bearadventures.

Tic, tac, tic, tac, tic, tac…

20150819_212528

So see you soon, lovely Oviedo!

Best wishes

Mr Bear The Mountaineer

Mr Bear grills

What’s the best way for charging your batteries after a tough hike?
Right, you got it…
Barbecue!!!IMGP3190-001

And having the opportunity to enjoy it in such a beautiful place as El Carbayu Park in Lugones makes the whole experience even better. The park is located in Lugones outskirts, only around 10min by car from Oviedo and it has a bunch of fixed public barbecues. A very nice spot, even though it could be cleaner.

IMGP3199-001 IMGP3200-001 IMGP3201-001 IMGP3203-001 IMGP3204-001 IMGP3207-001

It was so funny! Specially because I could grill the food!
Well… I’m a bit economical with the truth…
I could HELP Daddy to grill.
But look at the apron that Mum customized for me.
So lovely! ❤ Isn’t it?

IMGP3187-001

Seldom do you see something so cool, uh?

IMGP3194-001

See you soon!

Best whishes.

Mr Bear The Mountaineer