Today is the first day we’ve been allowed to leave Aberdeen after almost 4 months of lockdown. It was Boxing Day 2020 when all of Scotland was put into lockdown. Nearly 4 months later restrictions are starting to lift and we’re allowed to leave the city for exercise and mental health but still cannot stay anywhere else overnight.
I respect the decision to remove our freedom of movement and close all the shops in the interests of public health but find it odd that I can go to the dry cleaners – as they’ve been open throughout – yet I have been unable to walk up a hill in the countryside. It’s important for our physical and mental health to get out into nature for exercise and this usually requires leaving the city. Four months of this twice in one year has got very tiresome.
I am less optimistic about the vaccination program than I was a month or even a week ago. Chile has vaccinated a large proportion of the population – almost 40% have received one dose – and yet they are experiencing a surge in infections. Then there’s the Brazilian variant which appears to be targeting young people with intensive care units half filled with under-40s. I don’t doubt that the vaccines will make a significant difference but we’re not out of the woods yet. I suspect this pandemic will go on for years to come with varying degrees of restrictions that come and go. I’m sorry if I sound like a doomsdayer. I think I’m just being realistic.
Despite my doom and gloom projections, today was splendid. It’s my third year anniversary working with Creative Force and we get our anniversary as a day off. This was very timely with the release of our imprisonment in Aberdeen and also the last day of the school holidays for the kids. We were meant to go away on holiday last week but that got cancelled and so I worked all week instead and the kids really didn’t do much for their school holidays. Today we made up for it by taking off to Aberdeenshire, getting lunch, and walking up to Prince Albert’s pyramid (also called a cairn).
It’s fitting that we visited a Prince Consort’s cairn, the day before the funeral of another Prince Consort. We didn’t got there for this reason though. We just love this walk and it happens to be well-placed for the Highlanders Bakehouse Café where we get lunch. They’re only open for takeaway but that was fine with us. We like to eat our lunch in the forest anyway.
The café sells hot drinks, bread, scones, cakes, and hot food. We get burgers and cake and take it with us on our walk which starts almost directly opposite the café. The X on the map below marks the café. The road leading to the walk to Albert’s pyramid is marked with an arrow.
Walk all the way along the road until you get to the suspension bridge over the River Dee and cross over.
Stop and admire the view of the river.
On the other side of the river turn right then take the first left up the hill towards Lochnagar Distillery.
At the first cross-roads go right across a bridge over a small stream.
After the bridge turn left immediately and walk up the hill. You’ll pass houses and the road will wind around to the right for a bit then straighten up. The path into the woods and up to the pyramid is on the left and opposite a grand granite home.
Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest child, has a cairn part-way up to commemorate her marriage to Prince Henry of Battenberg.
We had lunch in the woods not far past this point.
Here’s Daniel tucking into his burger enthusiastically.
The café makes vegan burgers and vegan cakes. This is my lunch.
Sitting in the forest and hearing the sounds of the natural world I felt a sense of peace and calm. I think it’s the absence of car noises that I find really uplifting. Car sounds and smells are stressful and unpleasant which makes regular escapades into the forest all the more soothing. We did our bit and took one of the electric cars in the co-wheels fleet so as to minimise our impact on sound and noise pollution. I can’t wait until everyone has electric cars.
It’s only about a half hour walk to the pyramid and it appears through the trees like an alien spaceship in a Doctor Who episode.
Ben couldn’t come with us as he had to work today so Elizabeth took the jumping pic for me.
I got this good one of Daniel attempting to climb the side.
There’s a nice view at the top and we sat and ate cake. My vegan chocolate cake: