In the pines

In the tall pines near Ballater
I have just spent the most refreshing week in The Cairngorms with my friend Sarah.

The Cairngorm Bothies
We stayed here, in one of twelve of the Cairngorm Bothies on the east side of the national park.

The Cairngorm Bothy, Distillers Hut
Each wooden hut has a wood burning stove to cook on and they are all solar powered by the good old Scottish sunshine.

the bothy balcony
We loved it instantly. There was such a deep sense of peace in these woods and we spent a lot of time here on the balcony just watching the wildlife, drinking tea, reading, chatting, drawing and dreaming...all the good things. They told us to bring peanuts for the red squirrels and the birds so we scattered them hopefully on the table.

It was Woody who came first, landing with a thud on the table and nipping off with a nut. We would see him numerous times a day from that point on. He was very busy indeed.

There were red crossbills making their silhouettes and the tops of the trees and siskins calling to each other. We saw tree creepers and goldcrests, chaffinches, blue tits, robins and wrens but it was the cheeky little coal tits that made the most of our peanuts! 

coal tit on some branches
After a few days they would come and join us at the table for dinner and we joked that by the end of the week they would be eating out of our hand. 

And that they did! It was the cutest thing to see them so close and hear them whizz by our ears in flight. The first time one just pecked the end of my finger, but they got braver and would eventually nip in for a nut. I'm so glad Sarah managed to capture those fluttering wings in some videos.

The other thing we did was walk and walk and walk.

Loch Kinord, Muir of Dinnet
We saw lochs

Culblean Hill
heather clad mountains,

Culblean Hill
the path up culblean hill, Cairngorms
wild skies

common lizard
scurrying lizards (can you see it?)

The river Dee at Ballater
wide rivers

plentiful wild flowers

golden grasses and pine trees
golden grasses

packed lunch in a grouse butt on Culblean hill
and we always found a cool place to eat our soup and sarnies!

We walked for many miles and its done me so much good to build my fitness back up again. It's such a different landscape than back home so it was a refreshing change.

Whenever we'd been out we were always happy to get back on the deck, for another cuppa and to listen to the woods and see who we could see.

One of the books I read while I was away was The Nature Fix by Florence Williams which is all about 'why nature makes up happier, healthier and more creative'. It's fascinating and inspiring and one study reckoned that people need only about five hours a month outside in nature to feel proper benefits. I reckon we had 16 hours outside every day for a week so I'm hoping we've banked some of those benefits! I know we have. Just sitting with the smell of the pines for half an hour made us feel amazing and when the wind dropped the silence was quite profound. It felt restful and healing.

beach side sauna in a horse box
On our last day we drove an hour to the east coast to Stonehaven harbour. We heard there was a wood fired sauna in a converted horse box, just a moment from the sea so we had to go! Look how cute it is, nestled in the fireweed. And check out the reflection in the door!

Stonehaven harbour
The sea was clear and flat calm and we dipped in and out of the hot and the cold  like happy excited things and it felt wonderful.

I'm missing being in the pines and having nothing to do but I'm trying to hold within me everything they gave us. I have a busy month ahead of me so it's good to know that I can close my eyes and remember that quiet any time I need to. 

I'll be a busy squirrel in the tall peaceful pines. x

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Hannah Nunn

Welcome to my blog

I'm Hannah Nunn, designer/maker of papercut lamps, wallpaper, window film and laser cut 'treasures' all inspired by the beautiful details of nature. Find out what inspires me and join me for walks in the woods and other adventures...


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