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Balkello and Craigowl hills

Balkello and Craigowl hills


Postby malky_c » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:08 pm

Route description: Sidlaws: Craigowl and Auchterhouse hill

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Craigowl Hill

Date walked: 16/10/2011

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 6.5 km

Ascent: 340m

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Sub 2000's: Craigowl Hill
Date walked: 16/10/2011
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 6.5km
Ascent: 340m
Weather: Sunny but breezy on summits

A quick trip back up north saw me in Dundee for the weekend. In order to shake off a slight hangover and earn brownie points, I decided to head out to Craigowl Hill with my nephews. Stuart came along too. Being only 5 miles away from Dundee and having pretty extensive views for little effort, Craigowl has long been a favourite of mine. This is my first report for it though (slightly padded out with a couple of shots from christmas day 2009, as I didn't get that many great photos this time!)


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For a change we parked at the proper carpark at Balkello Woodland. Usually I park at the roadhead next to North Balluderon farm, but I thought it would be a change to find a proper path onto the hills. Cameron had brought along his new bike, which was more designed for doing stunts than cycling up hills, and only had one gear. This meant he had to push on a lot of the uphill. He didn't seem to mind, but was fed up of me taking the **** out of his single gear by the end of the walk :lol:

The paths through the woodland were soaking. Not too sure if this is normal or it was because of the previous night's downpour. Soon enough we were at the base of Balkello hill, where we headed for the col between Balkello and Auchterhouse. The area becomes quite scenic, with lots of heather and scattered trees. Although I had planned Auchterhouse as part of the route, we were taking our time, so went straight for Balkello instead. While Cameron and Stuart headed round by the path, Jamie decided to go straight up the steepest route, leading to a few scrambly moves. I followed him and was rewarded with some minor rockfall as he charged upwards :roll: .

The col:
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Jamie goes the steep way:
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These are small hills, so we were soon on the summit at the indicator pillar (which is in memory of the imfamous Syd Scroggie). I was disappointed that Cat Law wasn't marked, as Jamie and Cameron had both been up there before on more than one occasion. It didn't matter really, as the cloud was down on everything much further north, despite us still enjoying some sunshine.

Dundee from Balkello Hill:
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Craigowl Hill:
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West along the Sidlaws:
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North to the invisible Angus Glens:
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Cameron was going to go and do some stunt cycling near the summit, as this area used to be popular with scramblers and off-roaders in the past, and there are numerous jumps and dips in the adjacent quarry. However, he decided that he wanted to go up Craigowl instead, so we set off in that direction. He hadn't quite plucked up the courage to cycle down the steepest bits of the path, but he managed to stay on the bike for the majority of the descent.

The route onward to Craigowl is easy walking, passing a lone pine on the way up. Closer to the summit, things get a little softer underfoot. A couple of years back, Cameron and I had biked from his house in Dundee up to Hillside of Prieston and over Craigowl, Balkello and Auchterhouse, returning to Dundee. It had been quite a long day, and it meant that I didn't have any worries that he was going to run out of puff today!

Craigowl summit is all masts, and the wind was up a bit, so we didn't hang about. I ran ahead to get some action photos on the descent. We chose a route that wasn't too steep, and he cycled the entire way back down to the bottom, although a ladder stile prevented him from staying on the bike right back to the car.

East to the approaching bad weather:
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Cameron on the way down:
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The rest of us were a little behind, and took a wrong turn, re-ascending a short way up Balkello Hill, so we turned back and slopped through the woods on a muddy path I had spotted earlier. All in all a good morning out. This area appears to be popular, as can be seen by the number of paths, but other than a couple of fell runners, we saw no-one away from the woods at the foot.

As the photos weren't up to much, I thought I'd cheat and add a few from a sledging trip on christmas day a couple of years back. We didn't bother going to the top that day, but the views were great.

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Last edited by malky_c on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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malky_c
 
Posts: 5796
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Location: Inverness

Re: Balkello and Craigowl hills

Postby Gable Gable End » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:47 pm

Balkello is a cracking hill for the bike; lots of good sections going down :)
Last edited by Gable Gable End on Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gable Gable End
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Re: Balkello and Craigowl hills

Postby malky_c » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:34 pm

Certainly is. I've been round there a few times on the bike myself. Usually when I couldn't afford to get to the bigger hills :lol:
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malky_c
 
Posts: 5796
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Location: Inverness

Re: Balkello and Craigowl hills

Postby davetherave » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:25 pm

Balkello and Craigowl hills never heard of them before,so close to home as well I should be ashamed. :lol:
Looks like you will have plenty walking buddies for the bigger hills when the nephews grow up a bit.?

Some nice clear winter pics from earlier you got.
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Re: Balkello and Craigowl hills

Postby Graeme D » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:42 pm

Dear Craigowl - a wee gem of a hill. Masts an' aw! Thanks Malky! :D :thumbup:
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