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Mona Gowan round - a view fit for a Queen (or a goat)

Mona Gowan round - a view fit for a Queen (or a goat)


Postby Ian Johnston » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:01 am

Route description: Mona Gowan, near Strathdon

Grahams included on this walk: Mona Gowan

Date walked: 26/08/2013

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 560m

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A gloriously warm day with a light breeze. Sod the gardening, I thought a local hill would be a better option :wink:

Twenty minutes drive from home and I turned off the A944 at the Culfork turning and parked a kilometer or so up the road in a cleared area with space for several cars.

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The route goes up a forest track through stands of Larch and Spruce. The Spruces are still young enough to have a nice heather understorey to add some contrast.



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Breaking out of the forest, the track passes under a power line and onto the heather moor above. Nice views across Strathdon to Glen Nochty open up behind.



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These are actively managed grouse moors; I have absolutely no issues with shooters except that they really can't seem to be able to pick up after themselves; the hill and track are littered with spent cartridges.....



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The track continues across the moor and climbs by zigzags up a steeper section. This is the view back down to Meikle Charsk Hill, which the track passes en route.


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Soon the summit of Mona Gowan is reached, with its very large cairn. This was constructed to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, and was built using a retaining circular wall with the cairn atop. It's been substantially added to since then and the outline has been lost a bit.

Mona Gowan is Goat Moor, but the goats are long gone. Any goat (or Queen for that matter) would have been fairly pleased with the view though. Apart from its neighbour Morven to the south east, Mona Gowan stands alone as the eastern end of a ridge with no high ground close. As a result, the views are very fine and there's a super sense of space.



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This hazy view of successive ridgelines leading away towards Lochnagar was particularly fine. I must come back here to try this view on a clear winter day - it will look fabulous.....



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A short walk across a shallow bealach brings the summit of Craignagour Hill. A much smaller cairn here and a view back to Mona Gowan with Morven beyond. Craignagour Hill continues the goaty theme, being Crag of the goat.



Continuing west along the broad ridge, there's a negligible drop then rise to Scraulac. This bit would be initially boggy in wet weather but improves rapidly as Scraulac is approached. I puzzled a bit about the name of this hill as I walked towards it, but got a clue on the summit area.


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The top is formed of a blocky qartzite scree, with prominent patches on the hill itself and on Little Scraulac. It's an unusual rock type for Strathdon, so maybe this is a derivation of "Sgritheall-ach" Scree place?



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The line of the descent back to Strathdon goes initially over open slopes then picks up a track. The natural line also follows the estate boundary between Candacraig and Inchrory estates; these boundary stones have a "C" incised on one side and an "I" on the other. There were several shooting parties out on Inchrory ground - handy as my descent was on the Candacraig side. I'd no wish to spoil their day, and hopefully they wouldn't have wished to spoil mine!



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On the descent is this fine view to Mona Gowan. From most angles it's a shy, retiring type of hill and this angle probably shows it to best effect.



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The descent track ends at a gate in the forest ahead, with no linking route. To pick up the route back to Culfork, leave the track a little before the forest and head across a small burn to the track seen at the bottom right.


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A nice splash of late summer colour in the patches of muirburn lower down were the Cowberry (Lingonberry) plants.



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The track out to Culfork goes through a wood, then comes to a ford with two exits. Keep straight on and the track becomes a metalled road for the last couple of kilometers. There are roads and roads, this one was as pleasant as you could ask for with some shade from the sun below the trees and a burn at the side - plus zero cars.


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As a short-ish walk with some really fine views in a less frequented part of the country, this is a good one; and it beats gardening any day!


Kind Regards


Ian
Ian Johnston
 
Posts: 114
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Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Mona Gowan round - a view fit for a Queen (or a goat)

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:34 pm

Hi Ian

Looks like you had good weather for what looks like a fine wee hill. Quite fancy a wander up this one myself but might wait till later in the year.

Thanks for posting.

PS Gardening/hill walking - no contest really :lol:
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Gordie12
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Posts: 1902
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