This Easter holidays has had a few change of plans thrust upon us. We were planning a mountain biking adventure with the boys. However a speedy scooter incident has changed that.[caption id="attachment_6787" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Packing our rucksack[/caption] Our youngest fell off his scooter on the way home from school. He now has a rather natty blue stookie on his wrist. We have had to think creatively about holiday adventures for boys who love speed and the outdoors in equal measures. [caption id="attachment_6781" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Hillwalking up our track[/caption] This morning I decided that I would take the boys for a hillwalking adventure. My aim was to try to make it so much fun that they really want to do it again during the holidays. Challenge set. I tried to think up a short walk that had lots of interest. So I decided upon the Duke of Gordon's Monument, that is such prominent feature seen from all angles in the Aviemore area. [caption id="attachment_6788" align="alignright" width="225"] First slug found[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6779" align="alignleft" width="300"] Pines cone eaten by a squirrel[/caption] We packed our rucksacks following a list that we made, then jumped into the car. Arriving at Alvie, we headed up the track. Our first task was to guess how many of our favourite bug, a slug, we would see today. (4 if you want to know, a big difference to the 7 and 17 that we guessed!) We then hunted for other animal clues finding pine cones munched by squirrels. We gave up counting different types of poo (they are boys after all!), but we did find some weird green pheasant (we think) poo. Not sure what it had been eating! [caption id="attachment_6783" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Juniper bushes with plenty of berries[/caption] The juniper bushes were abundant throughout the walk. It was fun to squash a few berries to release the flavour of them. [caption id="attachment_6789" align="alignleft" width="225"] Tree climbing[/caption]
We stopped and shut our eyes for a moment to listen. The boys managed to identify the wind in the trees, the cars on the A9, a thrush singing, a pheasant crowing and a buzzard screaming. Apparently we could also hear a pizza being cut as well! I think they were dreaming of a Taverna lunch.
Further up the track we came across one of the biggest Granny pines that I have seen. A tree climbing boys dream. Jumping down from there we headed on.[caption id="attachment_6782" align="alignright" width="225"] Hot chocolate break[/caption]
We stopped for a quick hot chocolate break at the first monument.Recently released from the mist, the River Spey was twisting and turning its way through our view. [caption id="attachment_6786" align="alignnone" width="300"] Misty view over the River Spey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6778" align="alignright" width="300"] Colourful moss[/caption] Our last nature spot before the top was looking at some of the amazing colours in the moss, with the boys trying to loose their fingers deep in the soft roots. Arriving at the top we wandered around the monument trying to read the lettering. The boys worked out that the 2 sides that were most westerly facing were almost unreadable due to the weathering effect, but the two more protected sides were much easier to read. Another quick food stop and we were heading our way downhill. We were energised by making up stories and acting them out as we went. [caption id="attachment_6784" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The Duke of Gordon's Monument at the top.[/caption] Closer to the car I asked the boys what they thought and got a resounding thumbs up, and a request to take Daddy up there soon. Mission success. [caption id="attachment_6780" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Mission success, we had lots of fun hillwalking.[/caption]