Tuesday, 4 March 2008

FOOD: Where's the CITY?
Or more precisely the country, as this weekend I went on two of my favourite out of town walks. When you live so close to some of the most beautiful rural locations in the country its criminal not to have, at the very least, a brief look in. Now that the weathers improving I find there's even more reason to leave the neon glow of the gym, grab my wellies and go for a good long walk. Walking isn't everyone's idea of a great time, but with some of the finest eateries in the north east actually outside the cities the promise of a good lunch convinces most of my friends.
Haddo House and estate, heres the guff: http://www.ntseducation.org.uk/teachers/properties/haddo-house.html
Lady Aberdeen still lives in Haddo house, you can sometimes see her in the conservatory cursing inheritance tax laws and the National trust. Sometimes she knits, well she is a 'Lady'!
The planed walks range from short 15 minute walks to the longest which takes about 1h 30minutes at a good pace. There is an enclosed dog run (I spy from the bushes!) and a child run (play area). The gift shop sells 'stander national trust guff' as my friends describe it and the tea shop has a good selection of locally produced cakes and a very well priced sandwich and soup option for lunch. Ask the tea ladies about the 'hole-ie' plates on the walls!

Haddo also has a very big tree!
The sign says 'This is the largest tree in Haddo, perhaps the largest in the North East Scotland as you can see its not especially tall (about 27 Meters) – but the spread of the branches (about 35 meters) is exceptional.'

There's also something about a giant toadstool eating away at the tree making it very unsafe but you'll have to visit to find out more!

Drum Castle, was my second walk, this place has an enormous tower! There's some information on the castle on this site: http://www.britainsfinest.co.uk/historichouses/historichouses.cfm/searchazref/80001700DRUA
The walk at Haddo offers spectacular views of the surrounding country side and hills, where as this walk is mostly forest. This is nice just now but will be even more enjoyable during the summer months. The woodland has amongst its wild inhabitants Great Spotted Woodpeckers, red squirrel and tons of bugs. The information at the start of the forest walk mentions that the dead trees are left alone, rather than moved, to encourage biodiversity, the fact that you notice the dead trees goes to show just how 'managed' so many other 'natural' areas are.

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