On the first day after our arrival we - and that is three grandparents, two and a half couples, five children and a baby - took a picnic to this lovely private estate not far from Aboyne. After eating we set off to walk across the fields to a small chapel just seen in the distance. This is the Chapel of St Lesmo, who lived in 731.
The Chapel, which is tiny, was built in 1872 with a thatched roof and stained-glass windows, and the spaces between the stones of which the walls are built are dotted with small pebbles (a technique known locally as "cherry-cocking"). Inside, the rafters are fashioned from whole trees and the joists are made from curiously twisted branches of locally grown Scotch Fir. The altar steps are of Glen Tanar granite, a soft but rich coloured granite, as is the floor of the passage. Later, deer antlers were hung from the roof and the seats have deerskin coverings.
It is very popular for weddings, particularly as receptions can be held in the main house. Indeed, a wedding was just finishing as we arrived there, and we were allowed to go inside and look round, before the doors were locked again.
Afterwards we left the fields, and walked slowly back along the bank of the stream, one baby in a push chair, other children being carried by now, and Granny Judith leaning heavily on the arm of her son. (This has been a special pleasure for me, that during this trip I had many opportunities for leaning on the arm of my son. At home my life is arranged so that I don't often need such support!)