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When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...


Postby RicKamila » Tue May 01, 2012 5:04 pm

Route description: Bennachie: Oxen Craig and Mither Tap

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Bennachie (Oxen Craig)

Date walked: 01/05/2012

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 9.75 km

Ascent: 595m

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Looking out of the window whilst lying in bed and seeing glorious blue skies over Aberdeen, we decided to head out to Bennachie and spend the afternoon in the local hills of Aberdeenshire. We have driven past Bennachie numerous times and seen the Mither Tap from many walks we have done, but it looked a little intimidating to us as novices, but today was the day we would go and see what it was like.

Arriving at the Back o' Bennachie carpark around 11:20am, we were ready to go at 1130am. There is now a mandatory parking charge for this car park of £2 per car per day. We headed past the picnic tables and came across a superb little stone bridge that lead us to the top of the car park and the start of the walk.

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We had a quick read of the local information board before following the Mither Tap Quarry Trail signposts up the hill. Rick had his new camera with him today and was eager to try it out, so we pushed on quite quickly through the forest, stopping at a bench to have a test of the camera, and again at some stepping stone artwork, before making our way up to the heather-lined trail to Little Oxen Craig.

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When I see Bennachie...

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Stepping Stones Artwork

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As we made our way higher up the trail, the views of Northern Aberdeenshire started to become impressive.

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Looking out towards Insch


We took the detour to Little Oxen Craig which has an informative sign about the quarrying work they did there and had a short breather, again admiring the views, before heading back to the trail and aiming for the summit of Oxen Craig. The Mither Tap was in full view now and looked as impressive from this side as it does from the other.

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The Mither Tap


We reached the summit of Oxen Craig and were rewarded with not only stunning 360 degree views, but also the summit to ourselves. We sat down on an overhanging ledge and spent a good 10 minutes relaxing in the sun. Lochnager had a nice dusting of snow on it and Ben Avon looked absolutely stunning in it's winter coat. The hills around the Lecht looked like they had a healthy dusting of snow on them too.

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Oxen Craig summit

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Mither Tap from Oxen Craig


We saw a couple of men with a dog coming along the path from Millstone Hill and decided we would let them have the summit to themselves and start our walk to the Mither Tap. As we came down off the summit, we stopped and spoke to one of the men who shared with us his knowledge of the surrounding hills and then we bid farewell and carried on to our destination.

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It looks further than it is


We reached the Mither Tap in no time at all. It looks a long walk, but is quite easy and quick. Halfway up the climb to the summit, we turned left and came around the eastern side and then made our way through up the steps and onto the summit.

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The top of the steps


We took some shots from the summit and then made our way down a short distance on the southern side to a large ledge for some lunch.

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Where we'd been and where we were going

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We climbed down to there for our lunch


After another 10 minute break for something to eat, we made our way back to the steps and headed down a path on the eastern side. We followed it for a short distance until reaching a sign for Craigshannoch.

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Halfway along this path, there is a small cairn that we decided to head to and were treated to a splendid view of the Mither Tap.

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The small cairn and the big Tap


We retraced our footsteps and made it to Craigshannoch where we climbed some small steps and found another large ledge to have a 10 minute suntanning session on. We headed back to the main path and had one last look at the Mither Tap before returning to the forest section and back to the car park. Intimidating, no. Memorable, yes!!

We should have come here sooner.

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Goodbye, we will be back

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RicKamila
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby Graeme D » Tue May 01, 2012 9:11 pm

Very nice! Shame I wasn't much of a walker the year I lived in the Granite City! :(
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby ScottishLeaf » Tue May 01, 2012 9:40 pm

Looks like a cracking walk, next time I take my brother up Aberdeen before heads offshore, I might try and take this in weather permitting.... I have never seen a dry day in Aberdeen!!
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby RicKamila » Tue May 01, 2012 9:48 pm

ScottishLeaf wrote:Looks like a cracking walk, next time I take my brother up Aberdeen before heads offshore, I might try and take this in weather permitting.... I have never seen a dry day in Aberdeen!!


Well I have photographic proof it exists :lol:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby morag1 » Tue May 01, 2012 9:50 pm

Really enjoyed this, great photos :thumbup:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby malky_c » Wed May 02, 2012 9:10 am

Nice photos - this one is on the agenda for me at some point too :)
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby foggieclimber » Wed May 02, 2012 9:32 am

I've lost count of how many times I have been up Bennachie - possibly over 50 times. It is a fantastic, iconic hill, visible from across much of Aberdeenshire - including from my kitchen window. Good to see it again.
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby RicKamila » Wed May 02, 2012 9:48 am

Thanks for the lovely comments. It is such a wonderful place and cant wait to head back later in the year to see how it changes in Spring.

I now have some decent photos to finally enter in the photo competition too, no more pine trees for me!! :lol:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby walk aboot » Thu May 03, 2012 10:50 am

Great report RicKamila :) . I'm heading up to Bennachie with a few friends at the end of June and looking forward to it.
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby basscadet » Thu May 03, 2012 11:07 am

Nice pics, I loved the report :thumbup:

Done this route a few times over the years.. Its not too challenging to take n00bs up and the scenery is lovely. :)

A couple of years back, we left to go up oxen craig on a cracking warm day, only for a thunderstorm to pass over, with lightening hitting within a few yards of us! My flip flop broke, ( aye I was maybe underprepared!) and ended up hobbling down in the mud in bare feet, soaked to the knickers.. Good times though :lol:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby RicKamila » Thu May 03, 2012 7:59 pm

basscadet wrote:Nice pics, I loved the report :thumbup:

Done this route a few times over the years.. Its not too challenging to take n00bs up and the scenery is lovely. :)

A couple of years back, we left to go up oxen craig on a cracking warm day, only for a thunderstorm to pass over, with lightening hitting within a few yards of us! My flip flop broke, ( aye I was maybe underprepared!) and ended up hobbling down in the mud in bare feet, soaked to the knickers.. Good times though :lol:


Cheers basscadet :thumbup:

flip flops... in my country they are called Thongs, and you can never be underprepared with a pair of Thongs!! :lol:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby RicKamila » Thu May 03, 2012 8:00 pm

walk aboot wrote:Great report RicKamila :) . I'm heading up to Bennachie with a few friends at the end of June and looking forward to it.


Cheers walk aboot. You will have a blast :thumbup:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby alanbatty » Sat May 05, 2012 8:35 am

You get a good walk up Bennachie, i love it. Not living too far away, I've been up countless times and never tire of it. The views at the tops are brilliant and it's such a lovely area. Surprisingly, there are many different ways up and down and you could easily pass 4 or 5 hours up there despite it being so accessible and popular.
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby ChrisW » Sun May 06, 2012 4:27 am

Great report and photies RK, really brings home memories of Aberdeenshire for me, though this hill in particular is one I might sooner forget having dislocated my finger when I did it back in June last year :shock:
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Re: When I see Bennachie I know I'm almost home...

Postby RicKamila » Sun May 06, 2012 6:12 am

ChrisW wrote:Great report and photies RK, really brings home memories of Aberdeenshire for me, though this hill in particular is one I might sooner forget having dislocated my finger when I did it back in June last year :shock:


Cheers Chris. I just re-read your report and that photo of your hand still makes me shudder. Im not good with things like that. Even though you have all that stunning scenary in Canada now, I reckon you must be missing what Scotland has to offer.

Went out two days later and did a walk that I think (almost) rivals Canada in terms of its surroundings.... :lol:
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