Mar Lodge lies beyond Braemar, up towards the headwaters of the river (the Dee rises in the Cairngorms, somewhere in the Lairig Ghru) - the valley is broad, flat-bottomed, the result of glaciation, and the river loops lazily across it in wide meanders. It's a lovely spot at any time of year, and there was a real feel of spring in the air at last.
Still plenty of time, and the weather staying fine, we decided to go back the long way, over the hills to Strathdon, the other river valley leading to Aberdeen.
The pattern of muirburn show that the land is managed for grouse shooting; it's a pity the grouse don't realise it. At this time of year they are more interested in displaying to each other, and we crested one hill to find this chap strutting his stuff in the middle of the road.
Finally he wandered off into the heather, and we headed for home.