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An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill


Postby 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: 265m

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On a cold and franky unpromising January day, with heavy snow forecast for the following day, I decided on a local option and got dropped off at a crossroads on the Muir of Fowlis - Glenkindie road at NJ 510129. There is good parking at a forest access just to the north of the crossroads.

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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.




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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.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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The trees are absolutely festooned with lichens. The floor of the wood is covered with Woodrush and Bluebells grow here in the Spring.




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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.



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The summit is marked by a small cairn and has a surprisingly wide view over the Aberdeenshire countryside.



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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.



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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.



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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").



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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.



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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



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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!




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Ian Johnston
 
Posts: 114
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby Benjaminnevis » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:33 am

Cracking views on both sides of this hill Ian i did it recently and was wondering if the cushnie forest track takes you round to the path leading up to the summit. i just parked down past upper minmore but noticed the forest entrance on the way back.
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby denfinella » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:46 am

Beautiful cloud formations. I hadn't even heard of Coiliochbhar Hill before. Will have to be one for my "to do list"...
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby jenniferc6 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:17 pm

Good photos. I haven't got round to doing this one yet so thanks for posting the route :)
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby The Rodmiester » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:42 pm

Wonderful, that looks a lovely walk, with great views. Some beautiful pictures there the lichen and the shaft of light through the trees, great stuff. Now my Angus sub 2000m are complete I'm looking further afield, this fits the bill perfectly, with no access problems as well which is a real bonus. As you say go before the windfarm commences, I must do that :)
Last edited by The Rodmiester on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby johnrich » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:46 pm

Very atmospheric :D
Great report and absolutely cracking pictures :clap: :clap:
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Makes it all worthwhile when you get days like this on the hills :D
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby Ian Johnston » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:57 pm

Thanks all for your comments, it really was a cracker of a day; and all the more pleasing since it had been so grey and unpromising in the morning.

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.

Kind regards

Ian
Ian Johnston
 
Posts: 114
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby litljortindan » Mon May 18, 2015 7:34 pm

A great wee hill.
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Re: An atmospheric afternoon on Coiliochbhar Hill

Postby Mal Grey » Tue May 19, 2015 10:58 am

Fantastic.

Isn't it wonderful how you can find magical moments in our beautiful countryside even just a short distance from home.
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Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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