Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mither Tap Trail

Actual date of this event: 4 Aug

Home Update: Getting closer but still a few details to finalize...

It had been a very busy week and we woke up early everyday, so it felt nice to sleep in until 10 on Saturday. We received an email from Laine & Jonathan asking us if we wanted to join them on their hike for the day (click here for website). We had nothing else planned and it looked like it was going to be an amazing day, so of course we would join!

An amazing day it sure was! We drove to a town Northwest of Aberdeen called Inverurie and headed west toward Bennachie. Luke and I really enjoyed the hike we did the weekend before so we were excited to do another. I had not done any research prior to going, so I didnt know what to expect. This hike did not turn out like the other!

We park the vehicle, empty our bladders, take a look at the trail signs and begin. The path was very open and clear and looked like it was going to be fairly easy. There were trees over top of us which was nice because the sun was out and it felt pretty warm.

Trail signs

As we walk, we feel a bit of an upward slope. Since I did not get a chance to jog that morning, I was enjoying the uphill workout. Along the way, we see a few very tall trees that had fallen down. You dont see a whole of trees in general where I come from so I just had to snap a picture of this one.

The path seemed to be getting steeper and steeper and before you know it, we were longer able to walk on a dirt path. This comfortable slope was turning into a major workout.

We exit the trees and can see exactly where we are heading... straight for the top of a hill which seemed more like a mountain. Luckily the rocks were able stable, so it was not too scary stepping on them. And luckily the sun was out and it was not raining. Unfortunately, it was pretty hot and we were sweating pretty badly.

We are climbing and climbing waiting for it to level off for a few feet so we could take a break. There is a reason why I never you used the stair stepper at the gym! When it finally happened, boy was it AMAZING!

We were not to the top yet and we still had a good bit to go, so we kept moving.

We came to another area to take a break that had a sign explain that a Pictish Fort was right above us. As we kept climbing, we went right through the fort.

This was about the time when it got much steeper and the climb got a bit scary. Rocks were all over, so if you fell, you would definitely get injured somehow.

To get to the very top, you had to use your hands to climb up about 8 feet onto a large level rock. There was a 360 degree view of the country side around us. We could see a few other hills that we could hike. In the far distance we could see Aberdeen, but I couldnt get a picture of that.

Other hills that would could hike

Puddle of water at the top

There was a large crowd at the top.
Again, I just could not believe my eyes and believe that this was actually happening. I have seen some beautiful beaches where the water goes on and on, but that is so different than seeing a the countryside go on and on. Add the fact that we are in Scotland and it takes my breath away! After soaking it up, we realize we need to hike back down. Going up is pretty tough on the legs, but going down is pretty tough on the mind. You have to be extremely careful with where you place your feet, and some of the rocks are a bit small. Going up on small rocks is not a problem, but going down on them is tricky. Since I clumsily rolled my ankle yesterday, I was being super careful with each step.

We head back through the fort. 

About halfway down, a family had caught up to us. They were talking and yelling and I felt like they were "tailgating" me. I was feeling rushed which is not a great feeling when you have to carefully think about each footstep. Luke and I have not purchased hiking boots yet, so running shoes dont have the best traction. We finally reached the original dirt path, and we let the family pass us. This was a pretty busy trail, and we saw people of all ages. We saw babies about 1 year old in back carriers, we saw 3 year olds hiking and we even saw people as old as 80 hiking. 

Granite wall around the welcome centre
Before we began, we saw a sign that said "Ice Cream Inside", so the whole way down, we talk about our special treat for completing the hike. The welcome centre did not have what we were expecting, so we were very disappointed. It was basically ice cream truck ice cream, and we wanted the real stuff! On our way down, we were waiting to see a sign to direct us along another trail to take down. We never saw the sign, so we came back the same way we went up. We took a look at the map when we got down, and completely missed the sign at the very top.

I guess we were just too focused on the beauty that surrounded us to be looking for another way down.

Luke and I have concluded that one of our first major purchased (after the vehicle) is to invest in hiking gear. For anyone who plans to move to an area with tons of trails, it will be well worth it. We will definitely need some waterproof boots, waterproof pants and a great backpack.

There are no mosquitoes in Scotland, but there is a similar bug called a midge.


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