The web site, Caledonia Hilltreks details my ascents of the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and New Donalds all of which are above 2000 feet. This blog will contain an account of my ascents of the hills below this height as and when they are climbed.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire.


Craigendarroch, Aberdeenshire. Section 21A.
Height – 402 metres. Map – OS Landranger 37 or 44.
Climbed - 22 January 2011. Time taken – 50 minutes.
Distance – 2.5 kilometres. Ascent – 195 metres.
Trip Report Details:

Craigendarroch is located between the village of Ballater and the Pass of Ballater. I have driven through the village and along its bypass on numerous occasions over the years but wasn’t aware this hillock was a Marilyn or even of its name. Climbing it doesn’t justify a specific journey unless you are staying locally, or in my case returning from other hills.

I parked in the village and located the street Craigendarroch Walk with its signposted route to the hill. An alternative circular walk was also indicated. A few metres along this road the marked route led through a gate and into oak woodland.

Here I took the left path which gradually gained a little height as it made its way round the hill in a clockwise direction. At a junction of paths I took the uphill route which continued through the oak trees. Higher up the gradient increased and the oaks were replaced by Scots Pine and Silver Birch. It is obviously a popular hill with the locals as on arriving at the large cairn and summit indicator there were quite a few folks around, including some children.

I took a few photographs before returning to Ballater by the upward route.

Photos taken on walk.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Creag Ghiubhais, Aberdeenshire.

Creag Ghiubhais

Creag Ghiubhais, Aberdeenshire. Section 7.
Height – 486 metres. Map – OS Landranger 37 or 44.
Climbed - 22 January 2011. Time taken – 2.25 hours.
Distance – 3.5 kilometres. Ascent – 250 metres.
Trip Report Details:

The start of this walk was Littlemill, a hamlet on the South Deeside Road, west of Ballater. There was some off road parking west of the bridge over the Girnock Burn.

I set off along the track on the west side of this burn and once beyond a few houses I left it and headed through the trees. I soon came to a deer fence which was a bit more difficult to cross than normal as it included a couple of strands of barbed wire. However if I had gone further along the track I could have used a wicket gate in the deer fence.

Beyond the deer fence there was lots of deep heather, interspersed with boulders, to work my way through but with a bit of effort I was soon on the east ridge of Creag Ghiubhais. The summit didn’t appear far away and there was a faint trace of a path or animal trail. I came to some rocks many covered in ice which gave me a few problems as I searched out some dry stone.

There were several small areas of rock to cross as well as patches of hard packed snow before the tree covered summit was reached. I found a cairn but wasn’t sure if it was the true summit so continued further west and found a second but smaller cairn set amongst the trees. Due to the trees it wasn’t possible to tell the highest point so I returned to the large cairn where I had some lunch. I found a couple of plastic containers concealed in the cairn, one contained a signed piece of paper from members of the 47th Culter BBs (Aberdeen).

To avoid the icy rock the return was slightly to the south of the ascent route but this descent became rather steep so I cut back and rejoined the east ridge at the lowest section of rock. Lower down I used the wicket gate to negotiate the deer fence.

Photos taken on walk.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Meall Alvie, Aberdeenshire

Meall Alvie

Meall Alvie, Aberdeenshire. Section 8.
Height – 560 metres. Map – OS Landranger 43 & 44
Climbed - 22 January 2011. Time taken -1.5 hours.
Distance – 4.5 kilometres. Ascent – 255 metres.
Trip Report Details:

There are a few Sub 2000 Marilyns in and around the Deeeside area of Aberdeenshire, albeit not in the same sections as referred to in the Relative Hills of Britain book, which only take an hour or so to climb and aren’t worth a specific journey.

I made a list of a few of them including Meall Alvie, the most westerly one, before setting off for Invercauld, just east of Braemar. When I left home it was +6C but on arriving in the car park at Keiloch it was -1C with the sun appearing over Lochnagar. The parking charge of £2.50 was a bit on the steep side for such a short walk and the toilet was frozen and therefore closed. I could have found somewhere at the side of the A93 to park for free but the monies accrued from the car park are supposed to be utilised for path maintenance in Upper Deeside.

It was only a few steps from the car park to the buildings at Keiloch where a directional sign indicated the ‘Right of Way’ to Inver vie Felagie. This took me between the buildings and onto a vehicle track which was icy in places, and as the sign indicated to Felagie, an unoccupied white washed house with red corrugated roof.

Here an old stone dyke ran up the west side of Meall Alvie. (Avoid the old vehicle track which led into a wired game bird pen with no exit.) I kept to the south side of the dyke passing through well spaced Scots Pine trees, over heather and round some fallen timber. It was a steady but easy climb and after fifty minutes from leaving the car park I arrived at the summit cairn which was set amongst the trees.

There were views of Beinn a’Bhuird and Ben Avon but the glare of a low sun prevented a clear view of Lochngar. I took a short break here before returning to the car park by the upward route.

Photos taken on walk.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Millstone Hill, Aberdeenshire

 Millstone Hill

Millstone Hill, Aberdeenshire.
Height – 409 metres. Map – OS Landranger 38.
Climbed - 16 January 2011. Time taken 3.5 hours.
Distance – 11 kilometres. Ascent – 730 metres.
Trip Report Details:

The start for this walk was the Donview Car Park on the Lord’s Throat Road that runs from Monymusk to Keig.

It was sunny, and a bit milder that of late, when I set off from the car park and followed the marked route for the Millstone Hill Trail. This took me into the forest, across an icy section of path, and onto a vehicle track.

I followed this track until another of several signposts directed me onto a path. Here the gradient soon increased and steps had been created to make for easier progress. Higher up there was a gap in the trees where I had views of the River Don and across to another Marilyn, Cairn William.

There was some more snow and ice to contend with as the trees became sparser and the path continued through the heathery hillside. Forty five minutes from leaving the car park the summit cairn of Millstone Hill suddenly came into view.

My initial plan was to return to the car park and drive to the Glens of Foudland and climb one or two Marilyns there but I was enjoying the outing, and the weather conditions, so I decided to continue across to the Mither Tap on Bennachie.

I descended the path on the north-east side of Millstone Hill, making a slight diversion to the summit of the 387 metre knoll. The path, which was still well signposted, led to Bennachie Forest where a sign indicated restrictive access due to forest operations. This was the first indication that the path was closed. From my vantage point there didn’t appear to be any work ongoing so I continued to a vehicle track where there were piles of logs and a parked piece of machinery.

The route along the forest track only lasted around hundred metres before I came to another path signposted Mither Tap. This path crossed the Gordon Way and was soon onto open ground where lower down there was more snow and ice. Once beyond the snow it was a steady climb towards the granite tor of Mither Tap.

It was now quite windy as I followed the path round to the more sheltered north side of the hill and through a gap in the old fort wall. A short easy scramble, made awkward by the strong wind, led to the summit trig point and indicator. It was quite difficult to stay upright here and several folks arrived from the trade mark north and east routes. The Mither Tap is not the highest point on Bennachie, Oxen Craig further to the west is and subsequently the Marilyn.

I descended towards the old fort wall and some shelter for a coffee break looking over the Garioch area of Aberdeenshire, before returning by the outward route.

Photos taken on walk.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Waughton Hill, Aberdeenshire.

Waughton Hill 

Waughton Hill, Aberdeenshire.Section 21B.
Height – 234 metres. Map – OS Landranger 30.
Climbed - 9 January 2011. Time taken 2.25 hours.
Distance – 8 kilometres. Ascent – 205 metres.
Trip Report Details:

I hadn’t been to the Buchan area for several years so on studying the Relative Hills of Britain book I decided to climb the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Waughton Hill, the most easterly Marilyn in Scotland.

I parked in the village of Strichen and walked up the snow and ice covered road to beyond Bransbeg Farm where a track, with evidence of recent snowdrifts, continued north and then east to the ruin at Pluckhill. A couple of gates and fields were crossed before I reached a barbed wire fence with gorse bushes beyond.

There was no obvious route through the bushes so I followed the fence north, crossing a couple of other fences en-route, before I found a suitable gap. Once over the barbed wire fence I climbed through clearings in the gorse to the edge of a quarry and onto an icy track that led passed a copse of firs.

Another track led to the ruin of Hunter’s Lodge where I took shelter, from a cold wind, for a coffee break looking across to Peterhead Power Station and the North Sea beyond. Once refreshed there was a slight dip, where disused electric fencing could trip the unwary, followed by a short climb to the summit of Waughton Hill. There was no cairn here but I considered somewhere close to a small triangle marked by three fence posts was the summit area.

I wondered around the top for a few minutes looking north to the fishing town of Fraserburgh and west to Banffshire before returning to Hunter’s Lodge and the trees beyond. I then made my way through gorse bushes to the snow covered stones laid out to look like a horse and known as the White Horse due to the stone colouring. From here a path led through the gorse to a wicket gate and a signposted route for Strichen.

The path followed the edge of a field before a track led to Bransfarm and the road back to Bransbeg Farm and Strichen.

Photos taken on walk.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Hare Cairn, Angus.

Hare Cairn

Hare Cairn, Angus. Section 7.
Height – 516 metres. OS Landranger 44.
Climbed - 2 January 2011. Time taken – 3.5 hours.
Distance – 11.5 kilometres. Ascent – 310 metres.
Trip Report Details:

The start of this walk was the Backwater Reservoir reached from the B951 Kirriemuir to Kirkton of Glenisla Road. My choice was either to park in the car park at the east side of the Reservoir or at the dam to the south. As I was in no rush I settled for the dam car park. Here the conditions were quite icy so I fitted my microspikes before setting off.

I walked along the snow and ice covered vehicle track on the west side of the frozen Reservoir. On approaching the north end of the dam I stayed on the vehicle track as it headed uphill hoping that there was a path through the trees onto the summit of Hare Cairn. Unfortunately there wasn’t, but it was possible to walk through the forest working my way round some fallen timber.

I was making progress, albeit slowly, until I reached an area of conifers which were impossible to penetrate. I followed deer trails north along the edge of these conifers, crossing a few fallen trees, and eventually came to a deer fence.

This deer fence was crossed and followed uphill over a mixture of heather and hard packed snow where a few roe deer were feeding. The deer fence had to be re-crossed, where it turned and headed north, as well as an old fence, before I walked south over more heather and snow to the summit trig point. Here I had views of the Angus Hills and the Backwater Reservoir as I took a coffee break.

On my return I continued east down the deer fence until a gate with a signed route was reached. This route led to the Reservoir and the walk back along its west side arriving at my car as snow started to fall.

Photos taken on walk.