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Sidlaw sunset

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:09 pm
by denfinella
Our first trip to the Sidlaw Hills, and also our first trip of the meteorological winter 2013/14. It won't be our last on both counts - based on this afternoon's walking the Sidlaws are worth exploring even if you're not from Dundee.

sidlaw-hills.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

From the large, landscaped car park well-surfaced paths led through the trees, eventually emerging underneath electricity pylons. Plenty of people out on this cold, crisp Sunday afternoon. The path soon joins with a wider gravel track which snakes up the side of the hill to the right. It's a strange area this - a complete mix of open moorland, trees and rocky terrain complete with scree and low cliffs, but also electricity pylons, manmade tracks and a view of Dundee (only a few miles away).


The views kept getting better on the longer-than-expected climb up Auchterhouse Hill. This was worth the detour for the views towards three ranges of hills: the western Sidlaws, into the Cairngorms to the north, and across the Tay to the distinctive twin peaks of the Lomond Hills in Fife. A man setting up a tripod on the summit also kindly offered to take a photo of us (thanks!).



The more immediate landscape was a complete contrast - the farmland north and east of Dundee completely flat, before the land swept up to the high point of the Sidlaws: Craigowl Hill.



Time to press on - we didn't want to be descending Craigowl Hill in darkness. From the summit we retraced our steps a little before heading steeply downhill on a narrow path (slippery in places) into the valley between Auchterhouse and Balluderon Hills. The path up the other side was even steeper, although wider, and quickly led to the viewpoint on Balluderon Hill. The story about Sydney Scroggie was inspiring and worth a read.



Again descending, this time to the little dip between Balluderon and Craigowl Hills. A solitary tree and a large number of wandering cows added to the scene as the sun began to set. Amazing that you can get moments like this so close to a city.









At the summit the landscape changed again - Craigowl Hill is covered by an array of metalwork, with the trig point nestling right in the middle of them. Surprisingly this didn't seem to detract from the place - the views from the top are full of urban scenes anyway so perhaps that was the reason. Unlike the earlier part of the walk, Craigowl Hill was deserted by now.



As the sun set the temperature dropped considerably. Having forgotten to pack jackets today it was time to make a speedy return to base. The way back to the car park was brilliant - a faint but beautifully undulating grassy path, very gently descending all the way back to the woodland. And those views...



Wouldn't have guessed that, despite being so close to the sights of the city, this would be one of 2013's most memorable trips out...


Re: Sidlaw sunset

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:59 pm
by The Rodmiester
You picked a fine day to climb my local hills, a fine wee wander with lovely views, ta for posting, must get up there again this winter :D

Re: Sidlaw sunset

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:05 pm
by malky_c
Nice :D one of the best sets of photos I've seen from Craigowl. Been up here dozens of times in the past - still take my nephews up occasionally when I am back in Dundee.

Re: Sidlaw sunset

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:12 pm
by Graeme D
Thanks for sharing. A fantastic walk and one with a very special resonance for me. Was one of my highlights of 2011.