As a student without my own car it is easy to become accustomed to city living. I learned that getting out of Aberdeen and exploring the wider rural area brings a lot of joy; it is an escape from the bustle of the city and allows for exploration of entirely new places. Borrowing a friend’s car or hiring a car and splitting the cost between groups of people are cost-effective ways to travel, while joining local clubs and societies provides the opportunity to take up a new hobby*. Here, I would like to share a few of my outdoor experiences:
- Outdoor swimming | The Linn O’ Dee
The Linn O’ Dee is a tributary to the River Dee, situated twenty minutes from Braemar. It boasts a large waterfall and beautiful, green surroundings. A fair drive from Aberdeen, it is well worth the visit, especially on a hot summer’s day when it is a popular destination amongst swimmers, snorkelers and hill walkers.
I visited the Linn O’ Dee with my flatmate in her car. We both took our Gopro cameras and captured videos of ourselves swimming beneath the waterfall. Diving beneath the surface we encountered eels and juvenile trout – an unusual wildlife encounter. The sun shone deep in to the beautifully clear water, and we were able to dive straight from the edge as it was so deep.
A wonderful destination for a day out of the city. If the weather allows you can swim all day and not get too cold!
- SCUBA Diving
I am a certified SCUBA diver with BSAC, the British Sub-Aqua club. If you live anywhere in the UK you can join a BSAC branch and learn to dive. This allows you to explore the Scottish waters in a way that otherwise would not be possible – diving really is like entering another world.
While diving I have encountered seals, conger eels, dog fish and octopus, amongst many other weird and wonderful creatures. Scotland has several fantastic diving sites from famous ship wrecks to scenic wall dives. I have been diving in the Sound of Mull, Oban, Rosehearty, Ardnamurchan, Achmelvich and Ullapool, to name a few of my favourite diving locations.
Diving requires a qualification so do not attempt to SCUBA dive without one! It really is well worth the experience and I would highly recommend learning.
- Hiking | Lochnagar and Loch Muick
Lochnagar is a munro (a mountain with a height of over 3,000 feet) overlooking the gorgeous Loch Muick near Balmoral. Though a tough climb across sometimes difficult terrain, the views from the summit are spectacular and very rewarding. Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks to have on your way up!
If scaling mountains is not for you, a walk around Loch Muick provides a more leisurely experience. I saw deer and some birds of prey while making my way along the quiet path in the sunshine. Have a break beneath the trees at the riverside for your lunch.
- Please exercise necessary cautions when exploring the outdoors! Always tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to return. Don’t partake in an activity unless you are physically fit and trained to do so.