The forecast wasn't great this dreich November weekend, and the best chance of avoiding a soaking was to head north east, so I thought I'd tackle the trees of Strathfinella Hill. A bit of advance recce of maps and other WH reports identified a track run route close to the top without too much steep climbing. Orienteering shoes and compass needed for this one, from the photos of the summit trig point
So I headed up the A90 to Fordoun, over to Auchenblae (a lovely wee place I'd never been to before), and then round Drumtochty Glen to the North Drumtochty FC car park. Strathfinella Hill had had its head in the clouds, but I knew anyway this wasn't going to be a hill to climb for the views…
Shoes and running stuff on, then out in the spitting rain, which never really came to much, to run back E along the minor road then slant ESE up a muddy path (it's on the 1:50000 OS map but obscured by the Glen of Drumtochty text). This joined a bigger forest road that snaked up and under the high voltage wires (I always thought they crackled when it was wet?). Stayed on this track until just before it hit the edge of the forest—here you can see through the trees back down to Auchenblae—then diagonally uphill on another track which eventually crossed the path marked on the map (though on the ground there actually seemed to be two parallel paths).
I ignored them and kept plodding along the forest track, branching right onto one that's on the OS 1:50k but not marked on larger scale maps. I stayed on this track till it ended, continuing to gently gain height, but mistakenly ignored a wee path off to the right, which I realised I should have taken to cut over to the path that led up the spine of the hill. So I had to double back a couple of hundred metres and hack NE through some forest to reach the ridge path; but it was fine and I was soon on my way up towards the top.
Then the hard work began…finding the summit trig. I turned right (N) following another path, which led along a wide ride over what seemed to be the top, but I couldn't see a trig point; turning back, I discovered I'd missed a tiny path to the W, which led to the well-hidden trig point. Views of…er…tall, dense spruce trees 2m away, in every direction
I returned to the ridge path and carried on W, gently downhill for about 1k, then N up a ride to the edge of the forest, where suddenly the views opened out onto the Cairn O'Mount and Clachnaben, which was a welcome change for the day! Over a stile, and then it was easy running from here down to the field at the foot of the glen, over a couple of gates and onto the road, for about a mile back to the car park to complete a really good circuit in just over an hour.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.