walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

Bad nights at Ballater

Bad nights at Ballater


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:41 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Geallaig Hill, Hunt Hill, Mona Gowan, The Buck

Date walked: 25/09/2016

Time taken: 14 hours

Distance: 47 km

Ascent: 2472m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I had been keen to continue our West Coast Grahams sequence, having lined up gruelling walks in Knoydart and north of Glenfinnan, but the weather was having none of it - terrible weekend forecast made me turn eyes - reluctantly - to the North East where there were still a few Grahams to finish off. We set off for Angus on Thursday after work - with tenuous plans to camp in what looked like a nice site in Edzell. However we ended up driving up to Glen Mark and camping in the parking spot, which actually served our purpose well - we arrived as dusk was falling, found a nice flat grassy spot to pitch in and had a fine quiet night. About 30 mins after we arrived a big lorry with a huge pipe on board drove up and parked further along in the car park - I feared we were going to be subject to night time excavations, but he just slept in his cab. We were up early, with the tent packed away by just gone 7 and off along Loch Lee to Hunt Hill.

ImageDSC01781 by Al, on Flickr


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



Of all the hills this weekend, Hunt Hill was the one I was looking forward to. I'd planned several routes, including an ambitious one that took in all 7 surrounding Simms, but in the end we settled for a modest 5. I remembered the area from having done Mount Keen from here on a lovely sunny day 3 years ago. we walked along past the ruined Invermark Castle , past the remains of church and cemetary on the shores of Loch Lee, with a friendly horse wanting some carrots, then set off along the track by the side of the loch. The going was good, and we could soon see the prominent crag of Craig Maskeldie, with our target, Hunt Hull, behind it. I did worry a little about setting out for a hill of that name on a weekday in stalking season, but there was neither sight nor sound of stalkers all day. We came to the end of the loch and followed the Water of Lee to a footbridge - from here we set stright up the grassy slopes of Dog Hillocks to arrive on the rounded summit of Hunt Hill. Over to the right was the curious hill-within-a hill of Cairn of Camlet. From the summit were views to Mt Keen and Lochnagar.

Invermark Castle
ImageDSC01783 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01786 by Al, on Flickr

Ruined Church
ImageDSC01787 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Lee
ImageDSC01788 by Al, on Flickr

Craig Maskeldie, Hunt Hill behind
ImageDSC01790 by Al, on Flickr

Dog Hillocks
ImageDSC01791 by Al, on Flickr

View from the bridge
ImageDSC01794 by Al, on Flickr

Cairn of Camlet
ImageDSC01796 by Al, on Flickr

Craig Maskeldie
ImageDSC01798 by Al, on Flickr

Mt Keen
ImageDSC01799 by Al, on Flickr

Lochnagar
ImageDSC01800 by Al, on Flickr

Hunt Hill summit
ImageDSC01801 by Al, on Flickr

We continued SE towards the Falls of Damph, joining a track that comes up from the footbridge we crossed earlier and taking us to another bridge over the Unich Water. Up on boggy grass, heading East to gain the rocky outcrops of Craig Maskeldie, home to no less than 3 Simms. Not very dramatic from here, just boggy undulations with a few young deer hiding between the middle and northern tops. We walked back down over Cairn Lick to Wester Skuiley, an outlier of Ben Tirran, then continued over Burnt Hill and Cairn Caidloch with its trig point. From here we could see invermark and headed down through Corrie Hausherun aiming for a footbridge marked on the map. After squelching about in particularly boggy ground to get to the river's edge we found...no footbridge, just some broken bits of wood on one bank. Oops :roll: It was time for a wade on slippy rocks. Fortunately only a hop, skip and jump back to the car from there. A good day out with enjoyable scenery. Time to head to Ballater, which would be the base for our next 2 days.

Water of Unich
ImageDSC01802 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01803 by Al, on Flickr

Top of Craig Maskeldie
ImageDSC01805 by Al, on Flickr

Mt Keen
ImageDSC01808 by Al, on Flickr

Burnt Hill
ImageDSC01812 by Al, on Flickr

Down to Invermark
ImageDSC01815 by Al, on Flickr

There should be a bridge here...
ImageDSC01816 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01817 by Al, on Flickr

We'd stayed in Ballater campsite a year or two ago and found it a busy wee site but fine, and very competitively priced (£26 for 2 people for 2 nights). The site has been upgraded in the amenities block. It's a family friendly site with lots of kids going around on bikes etc. However on both nights we were kept awake long into the night by selfish folk nattering in loud voices when they came back from the pub. We'll not be staying there again.

Saturday had two hills scheduled - The Buck up at Carbrach and Geallaig Hill much nearer Ballater. Neither had any Simms attached, so it was a matter of up and down bagging - never my favourite. At least we were starting from over 400m from sea level for each of them :lol: We drove up the Huntly road to get to The Buck - parked by Meikle Cairn where there's a layby of sorts. We ascended Meikle Cairn in high winds and set off over bogland for the fenceline up to The Buck. Not much else to report - up near the summit cairn is a stone with 3 interlinked fishes carved into it. We didn't find the visitors book. There's a trig point and you can see Ben Rinnes if you look NW. It took an hour and a half there and back.


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



The Buck
ImageDSC01818 by Al, on Flickr

Braced against the wind
ImageDSC01819 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Rinnes in backdrop
ImageDSC01821 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01822 by Al, on Flickr

Fish stone
ImageDSC01823 by Al, on Flickr

Looking north
ImageDSC01825 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01826 by Al, on Flickr

Next we drove down the Strathdon road for the very steep bridge at Gairnshiel and thence along the B976 a short distance to Braenaloin Farm to climb Geallaig Hill. Another walker was there and set off just before us. It's another rounded grouse hill, you walk up a bulldozed track. The wind was stronger than earlier and clouds were down over the surrounding hills - we did see Brown Cow Hill. The trig is surrounded by a stone wall. We returned by the ascent route. We spent an hour and a half doing this too - despite it being 1.5km further - shows the difference a track makes. we returned to Ballater but the rain came on and prevented us from sitting in the sunshine. We got very little sleep yet again.


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



Geallaig Hill
ImageDSC01827 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01828 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01829 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01832 by Al, on Flickr

Sunday - Monagowan with 3 Simms was our final target. Back up the the bridge at Gairnsheil then a couple of Km back up the Strathdon road - there's a place for a few cars just by a bridge a few hundred metres from the track to Glenfenzie. It was even windier than yesterday and cold when the wind caught you. Up through native pines, turn left just before the ruined buildings up a track to Scraulac (a subSim) then undulate to Cairnagour Hill. it's a short distance to the Graham, with its pile of stones at the top. Morven catches the eye from here and remains a presence throughout the walk. Then down to the Slacks of Glencarvie and onwards to the delightfully named Mullachdubh. Not much of a summit.


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



ImageDSC01833 by Al, on Flickr

Mona Gowan from Cairngour
ImageDSC01836 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01837 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01838 by Al, on Flickr

Mullachdubh with Morven behind
ImageDSC01839 by Al, on Flickr

We were chilled through despite three layers due to the windchill. Finding a niche amidst the Slacks on the return, we stopped for an early lunch. Back to Monagowan then followed the fence line to Tom Liath, aided by a track from about halfway down. Met a couple who sought out illegal hill tracks to walk. Yes, really. We continued south over this hill and crossed the stream on the west, finding ourselves in a juniper forest - a jaggy place to be. Popped a few berries to taste the aniseedness then regained the track to Glenfenzie and thence the car.

Morven
ImageDSC01841 by Al, on Flickr

Tom Liath
ImageDSC01842 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01845 by Al, on Flickr

Descent route
ImageDSC01846 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC01849 by Al, on Flickr
Not the most exotic weekend, but another few hills for the pot.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1873
Munros:208   Corbetts:44
Grahams:75   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:307   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Bad nights at Ballater

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:43 am

Great stuff and the country around the castle looks grand.

I too need peace n quiet to sleep , i'd have been over telling them to shut up :wink:
User avatar
Collaciotach
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1776
Munros:282   Corbetts:133
Grahams:31   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:21   
Islands:28
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

Re: Bad nights at Ballater

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:58 am

Collaciotach wrote:
I too need peace n quiet to sleep , i'd have been over telling them to shut up :wink:


Yeah, Allison did just that after listening to an hour's worth of drivel about the relative merits of this type of caravan awning over another. Made no difference. Ended up moving the tent to the other side of the field after midnight. :roll:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1873
Munros:208   Corbetts:44
Grahams:75   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:307   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Bad nights at Ballater

Postby rockhopper » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:36 pm

Looks like you got the best of the weather - good idea to change plans.

Re camping neighbours, I find these work quite well - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6486
Munros:282   Corbetts:207
Grahams:63   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Bad nights at Ballater

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:35 pm

rockhopper wrote:Looks like you got the best of the weather - good idea to change plans.

Re camping neighbours, I find these work quite well - cheers :)


I thought you were going to suggest a high-calibre handgun there... :lol:
It'll soon be time for no campsites being open and other arrangements having to be made anyway
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1873
Munros:208   Corbetts:44
Grahams:75   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:307   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: arjh, Karen T, MacGregor, Malkie, Mrs Scoob and 101 guests