11 of us stalwarts turned up at 454215 on Sunday morning at 9.00. The sky was blue and the most of the snow had gone.... or so we thought. But here on the hills to the north of Deeside the snow had remained and indeed it seemed as though more had fallen .... as some of us fell thigh deep in some places! (It might have been just me).
Ali, Graham N, Gordon, Alan, Anna, Tony, Susan, Moira, Jane, Bob and I set off for a walk up the Buck of Cabrach. We'd parked at the gates of Clova House and the weather forecast was for a great day - clouding in the afternoon. Paddy had provided a route marked on a map (cheers Paddy) and it proved to be perfect. We headed off and were soon in crunchy snow and slippery ice, which turned into deeper crunchy snow as we headed uphill.
A short coffee/early lunch stop was made at the first top (just behind some wind turbines) and we went on to make good headway up to The Buck.
En route the views were stunning - wonderful clarity and Lochnagar was looking particularly impressive in the distance. We even saw the carving of the fish at the top!
Nothing ancient but we all thought they were cleverly done. There was good shelter on one side of The Buck where we had lunch, before setting off for the second half of the circular route. We saw quite a selection of wildlife - a fox, several hares, some Roe deer, buzzards, a red squirrel and a flock of ducks (possibly tufted - Graham R where were you when we needed you!) almost at the end of the walk. As well as the inevitable grouse of course.
In all we walked approximately 13.5km with a height gain of 526m. We were back at the cars by 2.45ish and repaired to The Bistro in Alford for tea and scones. Recommended.