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A Sunday in Braemar, walking, gratitude and The Fife Arms

Braemar is one of my favourite places to visit, and its really not that far from Aberdeen so it’s perfect for a day trip. There is so much beauty in Braemar, beautiful scenery, walks, shops, buildings, food, (amazing) chocolate and the list goes on. The air always feels fresher there and it’s a beautiful setting for a walk whatever the time of year. In Scotland we are so lucky to have such stunning scenery on our doorsteps and I love getting out to see it and spend time in it. When you have such beautiful views and fresh air all around you it’s so much easier to feel rooted, present, grounded and alive. It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of life but I find being out in nature can be extremely refreshing, it has the potential to remind us that there is beauty and peace all around us if we just take the time out to look for it and make time for ourselves, helping to connect us back to our true self.

Today I was lucky enough to go for a walk at the Linn of Dee, which is on the National Trust for Scotland Mar Lodge Estate. We did both the Glen Lui Trail which is 2.8km and takes just over an hour and continued onto the 0.8km Linn of Dee Trail, which takes you to the bridge and the beautiful and powerful waterfall that it goes over. A waterfall which has carved its way through the rock over thousands of years. Many people have stood at that waterfall, watching and listening to the water flowing, swirling and dancing over the rocks and many more people will stand and admire that waterfall and the river that it is part of over the next few days, weeks and years. I find it very grounding and humbling to think of all that has gone before and all that will go on after, we are not here forever and sometimes it’s important to remember that, if there is anything that you truly want and anywhere you truly want to be - what is holding you back? Can you make a plan to get there, maybe it’s enough to truly appreciate this day, this moment, as not everyone is lucky enough to get to, we never know what is in front of us, any of us, even with the most rigid planning and structure life can still send a massive curve ball seemingly out of nowhere. I like being out in nature and practicing gratitude, simply being grateful that I am able to breathe the air, feel it fill my lungs, see and enjoy the scenery, walking or running I am simply grateful to be able to and to experience the beauty all around.

The Glen Lui Trail is a slightly more challenging walk with some short slopes and narrow trails, the mountains are just beyond this walk as you follow the route of the river then circle back through the woodland to the car park. It offers some truly stunning scenery and even an old salmon run which is really interesting to see, I have not visited this walk when the salmon are leaping but I do highly recommend seeing salmon leap!

For sustenance today we were very lucky to have a booking in ‘The Flying Stag’ bar/restaurant in ‘The Fife Arms’. ‘The Fife Arms’ is one of my favourite hotels to visit, the food is always amazing, the staff are so friendly and helpful and the hotel is really special, it is definitely worth a visit if you have the opportunity. The hotel has been renovated in such an interesting and original way, in many ways it’s like visiting an art gallery, there is so much creativity on display as well as truly wonderful works of art such as Femme assist dans in fauteuil (Woman Seated in an Armchair) - Pablo Picasso, Red Haired Man - Portrait II by Lucian Freud and one of my personal favourites there is - A stag shot by John Brown by H.M. Queen Victoria which is on display as you first enter the hotel.

‘The Flying Stag’ himself, the stag who flys over the bar, is a work of art by renowned artist James Prosek. The bar/restaurant has such a lovely friendly atmosphere and I have always had great company on my visits there. As a gluten free pescatarian it’s not always the easiest to find places to eat where I know I will be looked after but that is definitely one of them and they have a great gluten free / dairy free menu. Today I had a rather perfect fish and chips where the whole dish was cooked to perfection! My partner Graeme was similarly happy with the Sunday Special of Roast Beef, another dish which not only looked amazing but was apparently also cooked to perfection.

Day trips generally have the potential to be pretty awesome but every time I visit Braemar I fall in love with it a little more and today was no different, great place, great location and great company.

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