14-05-2011 Tartan Trek in Association with CLAN [ Cancer Link Aberdeen and North

Meeting in a field behind the visitors centre at Crathie in front of Balmoral Castle it made a great setting for the start of this charity walk. After registering at the CLAN tent we the walkers approximately 80 in total were lead by members of the Ballater and District Pipe Band off the field and along the path for the first � mile of the walk, an old white Victorian suspension bridge crossing the River Dee into the grounds of the Balmoral Estate marked the break off point.

Once over the river the ground started to incline up past the Lochnagar Distillery through woodland and out into open muir land. Once in the open views of Lochnagar became apparent even though mist covered the summit at times and even ?dark? looking, a name often given to the fabulous Munro. Crossing the heather muir land and its state of desolation there is an unexplained beauty in it?s remoteness something that can be related to in numerous places across Scotland.

As there was a varied age group taking part in the walk the charity gave the option of doing a 6k or a 15k walk where the shorter one branched off to a shorter trail. Proceeding along the 15k track we were met by a volunteer who made us aware of an optional short detour where we could have a wee refreshment by way of a dram and a bit of shortbread at the Queens Bothy. Deciding to take up the offer James and myself made our way to the bothy where on arrival were met by a piper playing some well kent tunes, a great wee touch.

Having spent a short time in the bothy decided we should continue on our way before we got to relax. Crossing the muir land again we make our way down into forestry leaving the shadow of Lochnagar behind us. It was not long before we came back into a bit of civilisation and passing the well maintained tenant houses of the estate, places that are normally hidden from public view. As the walk neared its end we passed the back of Balmoral Castle with elevated views over its immediate gardens. Passing through the gardens, the last mile took us past the Castle and up the main drive to the main entrance over the bridge crossing the River Dee and back to the field where the CLAN tent was.

Being my first walk of the year I must say I was glad of the hospitality on offer by the charity at the end.

As this is an annual event I would encourage anyone who likes walking to take part in next years event, not only as it is an enjoyable walk which takes you through country side not normally open to the public, but it raises funds for a very worthy cause.

The event was well organised with a numerous amount of people and businesses donating their time and products to the day, the only thing I would say was missing from the day was the lack of Tartan which was the theme of the event, so in a bid to promote of our culture, history and heritage I urge those taking part in future to don or at least carry a wee bit.

As Crann Tara were doing the walk in aid of charity, if anyone would still like to make a donation there is still time as we will not be handing a cheque over to CLAN until May 26th.

For donations contact : via email or via our paypal account.

Verification of the cheque being handed over will appear here in pics after the May 26th.

Unfortunately due to only 3 people offering to make a donation of sponsorship, which amounted to no more than �30, it was felt that donations were not worth collecting then passing on to the charity CLAN on this occasion. It is with great regret that such a worthy cause will not get the benefit from our efforts.

However there will always be another chance to sponsor worthy causes through Crann Tara again as we always endeavour to raise funds for good causes - See Events Page for more details.

James Singer

Crossing the River Dee near Balmoral
Crossing the White Shakkin Brig
Path over the grouse moor on the Balmoral Estate with Lochnagar in the background
Path over the grouse moor on the Balmoral Estate with Lochnagar in the background
Piped in at the Queens Bothy
half way at the Queens Bothy
A wee half way refreshment
Leaving the Queens Bothy behind
A view over the Balmoral Estate
Balmoral Castle from the back
Walk completed and back at the CLAN tent
Photo opportunity with event organisers

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� Crann Tara 2006