Each year we organise a sponsored walk to support aid-projects for Tibetans. The proceeds typically are split 50/50 between a campaigning group, and a group offering support to Tibetans in need.
This year we held the walk on Sunday 28 June, on a route including Pannanich Hill near Banchory.
We set off from Aberdeen in pouring rain. However, the forecast indicated that further west this would clear around 10.00 am – it was correct! For most of the day we had blue skies and warm sunshine, with only a short period of drizzle just after lunch. Although several people put on waterproofs at this point, expecting the worst, one hardy walker remained in shirt sleeves throughout!
Unfortunately, several regulars of our annual walks were unable to come this year – some due to other commitments, and perhaps others discouraged by the prospect of bad weather. Just six of us (plus one dog) set off from Ballater, with another member (plus another dog) meeting us on the way down.
The views throughout the walk were superb. After an initial stretch along the road, the route led steadily upwards with views of Lochnagar and the Cairngorms opening up. After about 1½ hours, we reached a bothy at almost the highest point of the route. Although the clouds were then gathering, we were still able to have our lunch outside. The bothy was clean and pleasant inside, with table and benches (even coat hooks!) and would have been a good retreat in bad weather. The next hour of the route was gently undulating as we crossed the plateau. Here the views were at their best: Lochnagar and the Cairngorms now behind us, Mount Keen to our right and a 'birds-eye' view down over Ballater to our left, then Bennachie opening up ahead. After reaching the summit trig point of Panannich, there followed a steep descent, then through a gate into woodland. One final point of interest, just before getting back to the road, was a large and impressive memorial to Sir Allan Russell MacKenzie, the 2nd Baronet of Glen Muick, who died in 1906.
We finished the day in the courtyard of the Brown Sugar cafe at Ballater, enjoying tea and the most delicious cakes.