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Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby foggieclimber » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:09 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Waughton Hill

Date walked: 06/12/2009

Time taken: 2 hours

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Short report from a couple of weeks back for new Sub2000 Marilyn section.
Well done Paul. :D

Hill: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)
Date: Sunday 6th December 2009
Company: Foggieclimber and Beinn
Time: 2Hrs 25Mins
Dog friendly: Yes (except for one locked gate)

Waughton hill is the highest point of Mormond Hill. Mormond Hill is situated approximately 10km South of Fraserburgh.

Some History (courtesy of Mr Google):

Early Warning System:
Mormond Hill was home to Station 44 of the US North Atlantic Radio System (NARS) serving as an early warning radar system between 1961 and 1992. The NARS system was intended to warn of missile launches. The station was built in 1960, as the penultimate link in a chain of radio sites reaching from Iceland to Fylingdales in Yorkshire, which would transmit that information to the Cheyenne Mountain complex in the USA. Mormond Hill provided connectivity from the radar site at RAF Buchan to Fylingdales. NARS used tropospheric scatter to provide its communications links, however this method proved less than ideal as data rates increased over time, being replaced by more reliable satellite based systems. The USAF left Mormond Hill in 1992, and the site transferred to the MoD in 1993.

White Horse:
On the south west side of the hill is the outline of a White Horse, a war memorial formed from white quartz set into trenches cut into the turf, created by the tenants of the Strichen estate between 1820 and 1821. The landmark measures 164 feet (50 m) from nose to tail, and 146 feet (44.5 m) from head to hoof. Said to have been created by Captain Fraser (Lord Lovat of Strichen) as a tribute to Sergeant James Hutcheon of New Pitsligo. Sergeant Hutcheon gave the horseless and vulnerable captain his mount during a battle against the French near Gilze in Holland on August 26, 1794, and was then killed before he could find a loose mount for himself.

Hunter's Lodge:
Captain Fraser also built a two storey hunting lodge on the hill, dating to 1779. Now a ruin, its upper floor served as accommodation for the estate's gamekeeper. A single room on the lower floor was described as having a fireplace large enough to roast a deer, and used by the Laird and his guests after a day's hunting in the surrounding area. The door lintel still bears the words In this Hunter's Lodge Rob Gib commands, MDCCLXXIX.

White Stag
On the east side of the hill, above the village of New Leeds, is a second outline, this time in the shape Stag. This was a wedding present, created between 1869 and 1870 by W F Cordiner of Cortes. Constructed in the same way as the Horse, and bigger than the Horse with a reported length of 240 feet.

I parked in the village of Strichen and then walked up Hospital Brae passing Bransbog farm.

Start of Hospital Brae, Strichen:

Looking back to Strichen:

Looking towards White Horse and Hunter's Lodge on skyline:

I then turned right along the road leading past Bransfarm. On reaching the end of the road I continued past a gate where there is a sign regarding footpath access to the White Horse and Hunter's Lodge.

White Horse and road leading past Bransfarm:


Footpath sign (Note warning about bull!):

Thankfully, I didn't come across cattle or a bull on the hill although there were signs that cattle had been on the hill. There was also a further "Beware of the Bull" sign on an open gate further up the hill.

A couple of small "Aberdeenshire Access" signs then directed me alongside the edge of a field and onto open hillside.

Within 10-15 minutes, I reached the White Horse.

Approaching the White Horse:

Horse's head:

The hillside has lots of quartzite stones on it. I assume the stones used to make the horse were local from the hill.

After passing the horse the next point of interest was Hunter's Lodge (history above).

Approaching Hunter's Lodge:

Hunter's Lodge:

Inside Hunter's Lodge:

After spending a minute or two at the lodge, I continued on to the very disinteresting summit of Waughton Hill.
Waughton Hill is the summit of the Marilyn, 4m higher than the Mormond Hill trig point.

Approaching summit of Waughton Hill:

There wasn't a cairn at the highest point although there was a pile of stones not too far away.

Looking back to Hunter's Lodge from Waughton hill:

Looking towards transmitters on Mormond Hill:

Large stone en-route to Mormond Hill:

I followed the line of fenceposts until reaching a locked gate beside the track leading to the transmitters. Beinn was able to crawl under the gate, thankfully no heavy dog lifting involved :lol:

Beinn (just past the locked gate):

Looking back to Hunter's Lodge and Waughton Hill:

At the end of the track I reached a very high locked barbed wire fence.
I then followed the perimeter of the fence North-East to thankfully find an open gate.

Welcoming sign:

After a quick look about I decided to carry on to find the trig point.
I was more worried about the RF Hazard than anything else. So didn't hang around long in there. No sign of CCTV. Possibly a pre Access Code sign?

A few of the transmitters:

Beinn at trig point:

From the trig point, I returned to Hunter's Lodge via a nice grassy track.

Track from Den Burn towards Hunter's Lodge:

From Hunter's Lodge, I returned to Strichen as per my inbound route.

Strichen waymarker:

Found this to be quite an enjoyable walk. Not much height gain but a few interesting features along the way.
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Re: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby Paul Webster » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:12 am

Foggieclimber wrote:I continued on to the very disinteresting summit of Waughton Hill

Still looks better than the stuff on Mormond Hill in my book :D

At other White Horses I've been to, the stones have been whitewashed every few years to keep it looking fresh. I don't suppose that is best environmental practice though.
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Re: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby Caberfeidh » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:59 am

Interesting stuff, it's good to hear a bit of local history. I didn't know we had a white horse monument in Scotland, I'll need to have a look myself one day. Nice one.
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Re: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby malkiet » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:44 pm

Another interersting fact about Waughton Hill is that the large triangular stone on the south side is called the resting stone and that in the olden days before there was a graveyard at Strichen the coffins used to be carried to Rathen which is at the North East side of the hill and supposedly the coffin bearers used to rest at this stone.

Something more current that many of you may not have heard about is that there is a Planning application being put forward at the moment for a 100m! wind turbine in front of the White Horse which is likely to go ahead without at least representations to the Aberdeenshire Council. If you are interested please see planning app APP/2010/0175 via http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/plannin ... 05/02/2010, closing on 1st March 2010. :(
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Re: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby andysturdy » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:48 pm

I have been doing some work on Mormond Hill's history as part of a Scottish Archaeology Degree. Do you know about its links with Mons Grampius and the Romans? I have my assignment as a PDF if anyone would like a copy please feel free to email me. andysturdy@aol.com

It puts another edge to this interesting feature that makes it well worth a visit.

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Re: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby happywanderers » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:13 pm

Caberfeidh wrote:Interesting stuff, it's good to hear a bit of local history. I didn't know we had a white horse monument in Scotland, I'll need to have a look myself one day. Nice one.

You might also be interested to know that there is a white stag monument on the east side of Mormond hill, though not quite as clear as the white horse.
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Re: Mormond Hill (inc. Waughton Hill)

Postby gettingonabit » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:49 pm

Great report. Wasn't aware of this route before reading about it on Walk Highlands. Followed the same route yesterday. There was plenty of interest and well worth the trip.
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