My first outdoor job was a seasonal Ranger at Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, or as it is more commonly known the Burn O’Vat.
I spent two summers chatting to people, helping with events and occasionally collecting lost visitors and giving them a lift back to the car park.
I still enjoy visiting the reserve because there are so many historic features to see and wildlife to spot. The first time I saw otters was when I was clearing up litter left on the shore of Loch Kinord when I saw a mother and her young swim past.
Each year Muir of Dinnet Rangers hold an open day with crafts, face painting, storytelling and activities for all the family. This year I will be there with River Dee information and games on Friday 10th July 12noon-4pm. All activities are free of charge but bring coins as teas, coffees and a selection of home bakes and crafts will be for sale in aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind. I can assure you they are worth travelling for!
While writing this, it is a dull and cold day but once the weather improves Muir of Dinnet offers four marked trails including a short stroll to the Burn O’Vat and a 4 mile walk around Loch Kinord. The visitor centre is open daily from 10am-5pm and there are toilets and car parking. The path from the visitor centre to the Burn O’Vat is suitable for all abilities.
Next door to Muir of Dinnet is Cambus O’May Woodland managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, where three trails offer great views of Deeside and the chance to see red squirrel and capercaillie. On the other side of the Dee Glen Tanar Estate has five paths ranging from the short Juniper path to a 5 mile walk through the old pines on the estate.
A great choice for all the family is the Deeside Way multi-use path which runs from Ballater to Aberdeen. It is mainly level making it ideal for walking, dog walking and cycling. More information and maps can be found on the new website (www.deesideway.org).
I am always on the lookout for photos of the River and wildlife to use on our website so please email your snaps to Joanna@riverdee.org.