Travel and Coronavirus
Temporary Coronavirus restrictions and travel advice applies until Monday 26th October.
Click for details
An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill
by Ian Johnston » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:30 pm
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Coiliochbhar Hill
Date walked: 11/01/2013
Time taken: 4 hours
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 265m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The minor road heading northwest is followed for about 1.5km until a track leads off uphill on the edge of a wood to the open hill beyond. A line of very old grouse shooting butts marks the way - and soon you get a glimpse of the summit ridge of Coiliochbhar Hill.
A gate is crossed and the track continues up through a plantation of pines interspersed with birches. Keep an eye out here as Black Grouse have returned to this wood recently.
The views to the north and west open up nicely; this is looking towards Morven. The banks of cloud hanging on the eastern slopes of all the hills was a feature of the day as colder air started to move in.
Out of the wood and onto the moor and I was walking along the edge of one of these cloudbanks. A burst of sun threw my shadow on to the cloud and created a nice Brocken Spectre, the effect lasting for some minutes.
The summit area of Coiliochbhar Hill is approached on a small path which passes through a wood of Larches; it's quite an atmospheric and special place.
The trees are absolutely festooned with lichens. The floor of the wood is covered with Woodrush and Bluebells grow here in the Spring.
Breaking out of the wood, the summit cairn is close by. the view down to the Howe of Alford was obscured by the cloudbank which gave an effect a bit reminiscent of a Japanese painting.
The summit is marked by a small cairn and has a surprisingly wide view over the Aberdeenshire countryside.
To the west, the sun was burnishing the mist to a pewter colour and the approaching weather front was obvious as a lowering, solid mass of cloud.
Returning to the Larch wood, I came across probably the highlight of the day as the sun burst through the mist and threw gorgeous shafts of light through the trees. The effect was spellbinding and I took many, many images in an attempt to capture the atmosphere of this special place. Just moving one's head a few feet to left or right gave completely contrasting effects - just magical.
If you climb Coiliochbhar Hill (and you really should), do it soon. On the line of my descent towards the Howe of Alford is this anemometer mast. There are plans to put a wind factory of large turbines on the slopes of this hill.
If you left a car at the start of the walk, this is the point from which you'll return. If you can arrange it, a nice alternative is to descend to Bridge of Alford, where there's a pub (The Forbes Arms, but locally known as "The Brig").
I made my way down towards the abandoned farm at Tibberchindy through the mist. The mist was moving and reforming constantly, giving some really nice effects.
A growing blaze of colour began to spread across the horizon as the sun dropped. The effect was like one of J.M.W Turner's paintings of sunsets
The colour developed to a gorgeous golden glow which washed the ambient light, changing subtly by the minute.
An atmospheric end to an atmospheric day!
by Benjaminnevis » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:33 am
by denfinella » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:46 am
by jenniferc6 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:17 pm
by The Rodmiester » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:42 pm
by johnrich » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:46 pm
Great report and absolutely cracking pictures
by Johnny Corbett » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:44 pm
by Ian Johnston » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:57 pm
Ben, there isn't a track shown on the 1:25K map (sheet 405), though there is obviously some form of access as there's a forest road behind the gate at the parking area. Next time I'm up that way I'll take a wander up. If there was a track towards Laggandlie Hill, it would meet up with the track entering the plantation at NJ504153, which would make a bit of a circular route.
by litljortindan » Mon May 18, 2015 7:34 pm
by Mal Grey » Tue May 19, 2015 10:58 am
Isn't it wonderful how you can find magical moments in our beautiful countryside even just a short distance from home.