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The tale of Cromdale

The tale of Cromdale


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:09 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Carn a'Ghille Chearr, Creagan a' Chaise

Date walked: 20/09/2012

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 19.5 km

Ascent: 764m

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Thursday, 20 September 2012...
After days of waiting for the good weather spell, days of short wanders and ruin explorations, at last we got the chance to do some real hillwalking. The hills of Cromdale had been on my list for quite a while. Actually, I was saving them for a winter walk, but run out of patience and decided to climb them in autumn conditions.
Forecast for most Highlands was cloudy, but the cloud was said to stay away from Moray coast and NE corner of Scotland. I hoped that the Cromdale Grahams will "catch" the better weather and I was right this time!
These hills can be climbed in different route combinations from both the eastern and the western side. We intended to climb the two in one go so opted for the eastern approach as it looked slightly shorter. The previous night was cold (the first sprinkle of frost on the ground) so we packed a lot of extra clothing. I wrapped myself in three layers and it turned out I went one steep too far with it, later I had to unwrap myself from tops and fleeces and stuff them in my rucksack :lol: :lol:
We drove past Cromdale and around the hills, to the car park near Ballcorach, just past the Tomintoul Distillery. The cloud was definitely lifting from the mountains and my hope for a good day was growing!
The car park:
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The route:

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Ready for another conquest:
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Looking for the easiest access to the hillside, we walked to the Mains of Inverourie and past the farm - here we picked a boggy path, which after about 100m of ascent joined a more comfortable track, zig-zagging up the hill. Generally, the walking was easy and it felt much warmer than I thought it would be, here my first top layer went to the rucksack :lol:
These hills may not have the splendid beauty of the rigid western ranges, but the views are nice - and we enjoyed strolling to the higher level on a good track rather than pushing through heavy vegetation :D
Ben Rinnes is the dominant feature of the landscape:
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Looking down to the Mains of Inverourie. We walked up along the edge of the forest:
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Ben Rinnes and the track uphill:
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I gazed towards the Cairngorms, and my goodness, they were all cloudy and moody...
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... in contrary, the climb to the summit of our first Graham looked like a little delight:
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Hillwalking for lazybones:
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As we neared the col between the two Grahams, we heard a familiar noise. It was the Mountain Rescue helicopter on its way to the Caringorms:
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Weather was slowly improving:
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Another top layer removed and another break just to breathe in the freedom!
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The track eventually petered out on the col, but the day was dry and it was easy enough to walk on the grass and low heather. Plus we could now admire views from both sides:
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Creagan a'Chaise, the second of the Grahams, it seems so far away but it's just the perception:
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My attention was still drawn to the big massif of the Cairngorms:
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I didn't even notice when the uphill stroll ended and we were standing by the first cairn of the day. It wasn't the Graham summit, not just yet, but the subsidiary top of Carn Eachie:
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The summit of Carn a' Ghille Charr seen from Carn Eachie:
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We took a short detour to examine a group of small cairns just to the east:
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Wind farms! They are everywhere!!! :twisted: :twisted:
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The final walk to the summit was a bit wet and squelchy, soon we were standing by the trig point:
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Views from the summit - Ben Rinnes:
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Ben Aigan:
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We were on the very edge of the blue-sky-lovely weather:
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It was getting colder now so the additional layers we brought with us proved useful. We sat by the trig point to have a cookie and a cuppa (there is no cairn to hide behind but luckily the day was rather quiet). All right, all right, not the most difficult conquest in my career but come on... These hills have their own "inner beauty", the gentle character, the "rolling attitude" :lol: which made me feel like singing...
"The hills are rollin' rollin'
all the way to the horizon...
My heart is callin' callin'
It's time to move on..."
Jeezzz, I'm such a rubbish poet :oops: :oops:
We moved on eventually, mainly due to cold. And as long as we kept moving it was actually quite pleasant. We descended back to the col nad headed south to the second Graham of the day,
When we glanced back, Carn a' Ghille Charr was all sunny:
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The hills are rollin' rollin'...
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We came across a fence but there was no need to climb over it...
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...as it ends here:
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A few rollin-rollin views...
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The village of Cromdale:
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Grantown-on-Spey from above:
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The next stop - thee coronation cairn, which was built to commemorate the crowning of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria in 1902:
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A lovely spot with great views:
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Kevin posing with the cairn:
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The cairn posing on its own :lol: :lol:
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Ben Rinnes and Coryhabbie Hill:
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From the coronation cairn it's only a short walk to the summit of the second Graham:
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The large cairn on the summit of Creagan a'Chaise has a little hidden shelf - a small box contains a visitors book:
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Looking further south, to the moody Cairngorms:
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The panoramas from Cromdale Hills are pretty extensive - from the Cairngorms all the way to Moray Firth:
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We hoped for a longer break by the cairn, but we were soon chased off the hill by a sudden mass attack of hungry midges. Hey, isn't it too late in the year for you, wee bloodsuckers???
We returned to the starting point by first heading to the subsidiary top, Carlag, and then straight down along a line of grouse butts. Soon we picked a track which took us all the way down to the tarmac road in Strath Avon.
Views on the return route were just as rollin' as they could be...
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The descent track can be seen here in the middle of the photo:
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We emerged on the road in Milton and enjoyed a nice return walk to the car park along the humming river. :D :D And that's how the tale of Cromdale ended and we lived happily ever after. Meow!
But... But it's not over yet!!! Two days later we embarked on another trail, this time a Munro at last. Weather was picture-perfect and we had a cracking day in Torridon... The tale continues soon :D
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BlackPanther
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby The Rodmiester » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:39 pm

A fine days walk on rolling hills, with lots of interest along the way. Good views (not of the wind farms though :thumbdown: ), I must keep them in mind the next time I'm up that way. Thoroughly enjoyable read, thank's for sharing.
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby ChrisW » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:59 pm

Lovely report BP, thanks for the memories, your photos of Ben Rinnes brought back my trip up there about a year ago when the clouds rolled in and gave me a soaking :roll:
There are some impressive looking cairns in those wee hills and some amazing views too :D
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby hills » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:37 pm

This looks a good walk, really enjoyed ben rinnes recently, so may well return for these, :D
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby quoman » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:08 pm

Hi BlackPanther, you have been out alot this last couple of weeks with some lovely reports and picture's as usual.
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:13 pm

Cheers everybody :D :D I wanted to give these two hills a bit of positive advertising, they make a lovely, easy trip. Just think what a treat they would be on a clear, crispy winter day! Definitely a walk we'll be happy to repeat in snowy conditions.

The Rodmiester wrote:A fine days walk on rolling hills, with lots of interest along the way. Good views (not of the wind farms though :thumbdown: ), I must keep them in mind the next time I'm up that way. Thoroughly enjoyable read, thank's for sharing.


These windfarms are a real pain in the &^%$, aren't they? I find them so annoying. I heard there are plans to build more of them on the slopes of Ben Wyvis :( I hope it won't happen, they spoil the views so badly. I don't want to start another debate here (there have been a few already on WH) but I doubt whether they are worth building, considering the impact they have on the environment.
Apart from the windfarms, views there are great :D

ChrisW wrote:Lovely report BP, thanks for the memories, your photos of Ben Rinnes brought back my trip up there about a year ago when the clouds rolled in and gave me a soaking :roll:
There are some impressive looking cairns in those wee hills and some amazing views too :D

hills wrote:This looks a good walk, really enjoyed ben rinnes recently, so may well return for these, :D


I loved Been Rinnes too, guys, especially that is such an easy hill to climb and gives you good views for little effort :wink: We did it in November and there was quite a bit of snow on the summit.
There are some good big slabs and rocks to explore on Ben Rinnes, to the east from the summit area, we never got to them so there is an excuse to return and carry on some investigations :lol: Plus there is also an interesting free ruin nearby, Drumin Castle.

quoman wrote:Hi BlackPanther, you have been out alot this last couple of weeks with some lovely reports and picture's as usual.


We had two weeks of holidays in late September, originally we were planning to visit my parents abroad but had to postpone this trip due to passport renewal delay (bureaucracy owwwwww how I hate it!! :evil: :evil: ) and move the visit to May next year. So we had two weeks of so-called "staycation" and plenty of time to lurk around.

I'm sorting photos from the remaining trips today, and will post my next TR tomorrow...
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BlackPanther
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby Graeme D » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:46 pm

Some serious cairn action in those photos! :shock:

You didn't see any sign of the WH van up that neck of the woods did you? 8)
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby Paul Webster » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:07 pm

You didn't see any sign of the WH van up that neck of the woods did you?


I just zoomed in on one of the photos to see if you could make out my house (and me typing away through the window :lol: ) Glad you enjoyed the trip :clap:
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Re: The tale of Cromdale

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:38 pm

Graeme D wrote:Some serious cairn action in those photos! :shock:

You didn't see any sign of the WH van up that neck of the woods did you? 8)


Paul Webster wrote:I just zoomed in on one of the photos to see if you could make out my house (and me typing away through the window :lol: ) Glad you enjoyed the trip :clap:


I didn't realise I was so close to the heart of Walkhighlands! I'll keep an eye on the van next time I'm in the area :lol:
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BlackPanther
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