The Forest of Birse - reflection in verse (apologies)
by denfinella » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:38 pm
Date walked: 04/08/2013
Time taken: 4.5 hours
Distance: 15 km
Ascent: 600m4 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).
If you're used to walkhighlands, you'll know how it goes -
a lot are obsessed with the height of munros
But Scotland has many rewards for the feet,
and not all are higher than 3,000 of those
We left that grey city with broad golden sands,
and took the A93 through familiar lands
Deeside has been party to many adventures
but today we were off to see unexplored acres
At Banchory we crossed to the south of the Dee -
to more minor roads (from an A to a B)
The Waters of Feugh rise just west of Finzean,
in the Forest of Birse, which not many have seen
Parking up at the end of the narrowing track
we laced up those boots, grabbed maps and a snack
It was great to be out in the sun and the breeze
with nothing for company but fields, water, trees
Rabbits and sheep scampered past, here and there
whilst lapwings wailed loudly from both land and air
A good track allowed for quick progress toward
the grounds and the grandeur of Birse Castle (restored)
The track disappeared, making us wonder just whether
we'd be struggling all day through this deep boggy heather!
A short section later and a path reappeared
it hadn't been far through that bog like we'd feared
We sat for some lunch at the wee Burn of Corn
above the expanse of Birse Castle's front lawn
The ascent began here: a sharp, stony climb
the views back behind us increasingly fine
Departing from Burn of Auldmad's rocky cleft
the gradient soon eased; the track turned to the left
Looking back over Deeside and Birse to the east,
no more hustle and bustle; from the city, released,
no more traffic and traffic lights, cars and confinement -
out here there's just space, quiet, time and contentment
Dark clouds were now building; over Deeside, it rained
but the summit of Gannoch was easily gained
From here an unusual view of Mount Keen
in fact most of the Cairngorms could clearly be seen
A snow patch or two on those giants afar
outliving the summer to the west of Braemar
South east to Mount Battock, north east to the Dee
beyond them, behind in the distance - the sea!
A fact about Gannoch: by most walkers it's missed
its prominence too small to appear on a list
But count 800 years or so back from today
and it was ascended by travellers many; on their way
to Glen Esk, and to bustling markets afar
on the old Firmounth Road - by foot (before cars!)
The old byway is littered with snapshots of history
like old St Colm's Well, gushing forth on the hillside reliably
And old granite markers, on some which are known
to be letters, just visible, etched on the stone
If anyone knows what these letters might mean,
please let us know, right here on this screen...
But travelling forth, we passed from old onto new
where a scar of a track muscled in on the view
No doubt snaking up from Glen Esk, which is cursed
with tracks left, right and centre - for this, it's the worst
Next to the unusually named summit of Tampie
More lovely views, but the track spoilt them badly
With relief we turned off, cross country, and soon
to the Fungle Road leading us northward, gravel strewn
Plenty of interest, again the odd stone -
The Fungle has plenty of history of its own.
Beautiful views, ahead framed with a "V" -
but take care as this section is hard on the knee
This way and that way, the path zig-zags down
hugging the contours cloaked in purple and brown
Make no mistake, it was good fun to hike
but the singletrack here lends itself to a bike!
On the glen floor the path faded and was boggy in places
but the end was in sight, so this would not phase us
Not long later we broke through the last of the bracken
and caught sight of the track to the west of Ballochan
Over the bridge which bypasses a ford,
back past the grounds of Birse Castle (restored)
And finally back to our welcoming car,
patiently waiting on asphalt (...tar)
And back to the 'Deen with a smile on our faces
as Birse really is one of those special places
to escape from confusion and chaos in life
to flee from those kids / those commitments / the wife?!
to leave behind lists of Munros, Grahams, Corbetts;
Marilyns, sub-2000s; Nutalls and Hewitts
And value the hills for what most of them are -
something we love to explore - because they're there.
by AnnieMacD » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:27 pm
by denfinella » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:45 pm
by Phil G TreHeaven » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:02 am
Regarding the inscription on the Cairn not far from the Castle of Birse. You wondered who these people were. Joseph Robert Heaven was my Great grand father and Robert was his son who I'm afraid shot himself as he had an incurable illness. I have a photos of them both. The lady in question my G grandmother Marquise de Braseras (Spanish title). They owned Birse estate for sometime after returning from Mexico after a couple of generations and were responsible for rebuilding Birse Castle. Although I've always known about Birse from my father who visited regularly as a young boy, I thought both castle & cairn were ruins but thanks to the internet and your lovely walkers I have photos of both. My G grandmother lived to a great age and ended her days in Wales.
Grandpa and his brothers were quite a wild bunch and he had a lump on his back from his horse falling on top of him whilst chasing his brothers up the staircase in the Castle with six shooters involved! They got on very well with the Scots !
There's many great tales about them but I hope Chris W and your members enjoys this little bit of info. I'm also determined to see both places myself before I get much older but preferably on horseback!
- Phil G TreHeaven
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- Joined: Feb 27, 2016
by Jackiew » Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:54 pm
- Posts: 1
- Joined: Oct 5, 2016
by larry groo » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:03 pm
Just back from Hill of Cat today, went up this way via Gannoch and Tampie. It's a bit of a plod, but well worth it!
Right on our doorstep too... cherry popped in this area, will definitely be exploring more of these hills!
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- Location: Angus
by KatTai » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:47 pm
by Sgurr » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:47 pm
Sure poetry is a way to hook in the readers..
Looks a nice walk too.
Thanks for bumping it up the list Jackview
by starless » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:58 pm
- Posts: 3
- Joined: Nov 24, 2012