Last midnight the Scottish Government lifted some local restrictions imposed on the City of Aberdeen so for the first time since mid-March I was able to go for a hike outside the city. My choice was the Forvie Nature Reserve north of Aberdeen. One of the reasons to go here was to test my dog’s resilience – during lockdown he had seemingly significantly aged – or had just been as bored of the same route covered every single day as me… I could cut my walk short should the dog show signs of exhaustion.

The car park was full, so I had to move to another one on the other side of the River Ythan – virtually empty. It added maybe half a mile to my walk. The weather was optimal; the sun was shining, the blue sky was peppered with white clouds, and the sea breeze prevented overheating…

I walked along a designated path along the east bank of the River Ythan, at one point it turned away from the river towards the coast, running through sand dunes. After a few minutes walk, I reached the sandy beach – at very low tide it was enormous!

I turned right and walked southward towards the mouth of the River Ythan. My plan was to turn back there and walk back northward, keeping an eye on the dog. To my surprise, he seemingly recovered his usual vigour and walked with springs in his legs. I almost heard his brain firing on all four cylinders!

When I reached the north end of the sandy beach I had a wee break and decided to walk towards Hackley Bay, a picturesque sandy beach surrounded by steep cliffs – in the sunny weather an absolute marvel!

From there I walked back across the rolling countryside, covered with beautiful patches of blooming heather and low vegetation. Although the whole walk was rather uneventful I really enjoyed it – being in the countryside was just fantastic!