Sponsored Walk 2003

6 July ~ Scolty Hill ~ Banchory. 


Final figure: £964 Raised, which is a record!

Thanks to all who participated.

These campaigns will benefit from the proceeds.


It has become something of a tradition that each year, the Tibet Support Group organise a sponsored walk. The first of these walks, ten years ago, was at Scolty Hill near Banchory. It seemed fitting that we should celebrate the anniversary by retracing that route. Also, the date of walk happens to be doubly auspicious, coinciding as it does with World Tibet Day, and the birthday of H.H. the Dalai Lama. You can read the Dalai Lama's personal message to the organisers of World Tibet Day here.

With a none-too-encouraging met forecast the previous day, the morning started off misty, dull and drizzling in Aberdeen. I for one decided to expect the worst, and put on heavier hill-walking gear despite the relatively warm conditions, expecting continuous rain throughout. However, driving to the starting-point along the South Deeside Road, a miraculous change occurred: Just south of Banchory, a blue patch of sky opened, and the rain stopped. Then the sun poked its head through. We became cautiously optimistic that, against all the met-office forecasts for increasing rain as the day went on, conditions might stay fair. As it turned out, they did. (I have a theory that someone had a cellphone with them, and called Dharamsala for a "weather fix" prayer. If so, it worked, and we offer our thanks, Kundun ;-)

By 11am a sizeable contingent had arrived at Shooting Greens, the start point for the walk, whose theme was to to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the founding of the Aberdeen group. Following the traditional group-photo against the Tibetan flag and the TSG logo, David read-out the personal message which the Dalai Lama had sent to all those taking part in World Tibet Day events.

We set off Northeast through Blackhall Forest, on what has now become a popular walking and cycle-route.Arriving on the south bank of the Dee, we then turned eastward toward Banchory, and allowing fro a brief refreshment-stop, skirted the forest as far as Blackhall. At this point we turned south, through the forest once more, to emerge on its south side, within sight of Scolty Hill. This part of the journey was accomplished at very good pace, as most of the route had been over prepared footpaths.

The approach to Scolty proved a little more difficult, the terrain being boggy, and the only path being a very narrow swathe through tall grass. Therefore this part of the journey was accomplished much more slowly, and perforce in single-file.

Lunch was had on a level area just below Scolty. A moderate wind had picked-up by this time, and we were all glad of its cooling effect.

Lunch completed, a team set-out to climb Scolty Tower and attach the Tibetan flag, as had been done on the first visit a decade ago. This proved somewhat more difficult than had been expected, owing to the presence of a massive safety-railing on the tower's summit, and the boisterous wind, which made it almost impossible to unfurl the flag completely.

Once more the team assembled for a photo at the base of the tower, and those who had the energy to spare climbed the tower for a look at the magnificent view of Banchory and the Dee valley.


Next, the route took us back to our lunch-spot, where we met-up with those who preferred not to make the journey to Scolty tower. Heading Westwards, we took a route along the south edge of the forest. This was initially over stony ground with many hidden potholes, and called for careful going. Conditions underfoot rapidly improved, however, and the rest of our return-path was along good tracks with excellent views to the South.

All in all, a somewhat longer trek than is our normal, however the lack of any real hills enroute made for fairly straightforward progress, and the lack of any real heights was more than made-up by the excellent scenery along the route.

As per tradition, the walkers visited a local tearoom to sample the cakes... This time it was in "The Sheiling" Banchory, and I would definitely recommend this teashop to any passing walker or visitor. The quality is good, and the price very reasonable.


More pictures of this walk.

Other Walks:  Forvie  Pressendye ~Baudy Meg ~Scolty Hill ~ Pannanich Hill ~ Linn of Dee ~ Glenbuchat

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" I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I'm not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs or gambling (though I'm not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks." H.H. The Dalai Lama