Tuesday, May 26

Round and about Loch Muick.

Loch Muick

Loch Muick is situated just outside Ballater in the Cairngorms, a loverly place for a walk around but also as a starting point for an ascent of Lochnagar or Meikle Pap. Ever since we moved up here people have been telling me how we must visit the area, this weekend we had the chance.
The walk was a wet one, lots of rain, we had waterproofs but never put them on as it always looked as if it was about to stop, but never did. These was of course a geocache on route but I did want to see the lay of the land for a possible Munro visit sometime, soon.
Sunday was a better day, working our way back to Aberdeen we visited Burn 'O' Vat, Sloss of Dess and Crathes Castle, five caches on the way.

Been looking at free software that will geotagg my photos, saving time with Flickr as I do like to show where I shot the image and seeing as I am always using the technologies anyway. GPiSync looks good but on testing didn't show the correct positions on Google Earth, couldn't figure out why. Copics Photomapper is very simple to use, has a big image preview but no map, I couldn't get it to show the tags on Google E, will work with it a little more. Microsoft Pro Photo Tools works with virtual earth and seems to have a lot to offer. My favorite so far seems to be Geosetter lots of features detailed Google maps, will continue to try them all.

Springwatch started this week, a sign the holidays are not too far away.

Monday, May 4

A long Mayday weekend

Originally uploaded by FoC Friends of Carlotta

It was great to get away for a nice long weekend. Took ourselves off to Cullen situated on the Moray coast, northeast Scotland. Its a quaint little place, offering such culinary delights as fish & chips, Cullen skink and the local ice cream.
The biggish hill overlooking the area is called Bin Hill or Bin of Cullen (1053ft), once climbed for a geocache as well as the exercise, we continued along the coast to Findochty and then Buckie,  not staying in ether place too long, both rather unremarkable. We were heading for Spey Bay with its wildlife centre and were privileged to spot an Osprey circling above, giving us a wonderful flying display.
On the way back to Cullen we decided to do just one last cache of the day. As we went through Fochabers ( love that name ) we stopped of at the Whiteash Winding Walks, a maze of paths which wind through magnificent firs and spruces in a steep-sided gully. The original paths and bridges were built in the 19th century by the Duke of Gordon, cache no 6 of the day.

Minimalist Landscape      

Sunday was mostly spent in a small Foresty commision wood south east of Lossiemouth, which doesnt seem to have a name, the edge of which runs along the edge of a shingle beach with lots of tank traps, pillboxes and gun emplacements. The day was quite blustery but we were protected from this in the wood and it was very pleasant. A 6 mile walk on flat terrain and 2 geocaches.
Along too Lossiemouth (Lossie to its friends) for a brief look around and finished off the day with a visit to Duffus Castle, interesting enough with its well kept motte and bailey, a cache and dash as it was quite exposed, cold and windy, 4 caches today.
 That evening as I processing my images, posting them on flickr, logging caches and tweeting. A new cache came up in an area on our route home, but we weren’t about to rush at it as we had other plans.
Monday, Mayday, arose later than usual, always sleep well in the camper even when the winds trying to roll it. Off for a little walk along the coast just out the back of the campsite. Wonderful coast just here, which we thought was well worth of a cache, so off we went to place it. Chose a nice tricky place lots of elevations with good views, lets see the reactions. Back to the van a final cup of tea and a second breakfast before the off. The people who run this site are really nice, friendly and helpful, it clean and well kept.

Cullen Bay
Carlotta wanted to visit the Peregrine watch centre nr Huntly, I keep promising every time we pass, so this time, determined to make this all too short a break last as long as possible. Viewed the Peregrine on its eggs via CCTV and watched the Chaffinches and Siskins darting around. Off to find another cache in the same woods that didn’t take too long before we were off again.
Ok here we go, it’s a potential FTF (first to find) but it’s a bank holiday, so plenty of opportunity for others to be out and about and it was now 2.45 in the afternoon.  We took the longer but a less steep approach to the cache site, it was less than half a mile anyway. Found it no problem but very apprehensive on the approach and retrieval. Yeah! a ftf swapped stuff and dropped off TB’s, there you go. We returned the quicker route and on our way back saw some folks in the car park with what looked like a GPSr, as we approached then I recognised them as geocachers and proclaimed to them that they were just too late, 20 minutes was all the difference it would have needed. Had a victory cup of tea and scone at the “Country Emporium” on the way back home, a fun filled day, weekend in fact. 12 finds 0 dnf 
Something I learned this week, Bin means hill, already knew Ben was mountain.