Cairn William, Aberdeenshire.
Height - 448 metres, Map - OS Landranger 38.
Climbed - 17 January 2010, Time taken - 3 hours.
Distance – 6.5 kilometres, Height climbed – 425 metres.
Trip Report Details:
A study of the internet led me to believe access to Cairn William was possible from near Pitfichie Castle using a downhill mountain bike trail. This Castle is situated north-west of the village of Monymusk, which is just off the B993 Tillyfourie to Kemnay Road. There is limited verge parking between the Castle and Pitfichie Cottage. Before parking here I did drive as far as the end of the public road near Rorandle but there didn’t appear to be any other suitable starting point.
On leaving my vehicle I walked up the ice and snow covered private road, to the east of Pitfichie Cottage, which led to Royhall. At the bend in the road I followed a path through the forest which crossed a vehicle track, ran alongside it for short distance before climbing steeply through the trees. This was part of the downhill mountain bike trail which would be pretty hazardous in the ice.
The forest ended and it was a short walk, still following the MB trail which was covered in ice and snow, to the summit of Pitfichie Hill marked by a large boulder. Here I had views of the Don Valley, Bennachie and my target hill, Cairn William. I made a direct descent to the col with Cairn William which was a mistake as lower down the area, as well as being covered in snow, had gorse bushes which I found difficult to get through. I should have followed the MB trail which was slightly to the south.
Once through the gorse and onto a vehicle track I noted from a sign that the MB trail over Cairn William was closed due to a landslide. This wasn’t obvious due to the snow cover so I followed the trail and worked my way onto Cairn William. Higher up the trail was completely covered by snow which I crossed to reach the summit cairn where I took a coffee break looking out over the Don Valley.
On the descent of Cairn William I continued over the snowfield and only joined up with the MB trail lower down. On returning to the col I headed south down a forest vehicle track which led to a ‘T’ junction where I took a left. I was now back in the forest and the track eventually came to the downhill MB trail which I had accessed earlier. It was then a short walk back to my car.
A few mountain bikers were now en-route to test the conditions so for walkers care would be required on the MB sections some of which are narrow and steep in places, as this MB trail is only recommended for the experienced bikers.
I would expect that in normal conditions the time taken could possibly be reduced by an hour or so.
Photos taken on walk.