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Valentines day with two Marilyns - by Gordon Cooper

Valentines day with two Marilyns - by Gordon Cooper

Postby Gordon Ballantyne » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:47 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Hill of Garvock, Strathfinella Hill

Date walked: 14/02/2017

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 400m

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The target was a warm-up on Hill of Garvock, then on to Strathfinella Hill avoiding its maze of forestry tracks on the east side.
Turned off the A90 at Laurencekirk on to the B9120 then up to the view point and generous parking.

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

Avoided the field with a notice on the gate strainer warning tourists of the dangers of stock beyond. We louped over the adjoining field electric fence, assuming that the notice was to stop tourists scaring the animals in the summer. Further up the field was a flock of ewes who just mosey'd out of our way as we headed for a gate ahead, and on to a livestock "feeding" track which took us through another gate and on to the Tower of Johnston at the top with some comms masts further along the ridge. ( Tower of Johnson was built in 1812 at a reported cost of £42 )
The walk was easy over grassland with hardly any ascent along the ridge from the car park.

Tower of Johnson.JPG
Tower of Johnson at top of Hill of Garvock

GordonB up Tower of Johnson.JPG
GordonB peering out of Tower of Johson

The tower had been built on a massive pile o stanes
On inspecting the tower, we found a door and behind it a spiral staircase leading up into the dark. Naturally this had to be explored. A couple stairs near the top had collapsed and fallen down but the remaining stubs seemed fairly secure, so we continued to the top. I'd forgotten my phone, so nae pics fae me. GordonC stepped into the breach and provided the complete suite for the day wi his wee Olympus.

Returning along the Feed track.JPG
Returning along the "feed" track to the view point

The breeze was a bit chilly so we didn't tarry and headed back down for coffee and cake in Fettercairn.
I could get used to this - very civilised - almost SMC standard !

Strathfinella Hill from Clatterin' Brig.

After "lunch" we parked up at Clatterin' Brig, as the cafe was closed. Having read the Chrystal maze reports by other WH-ers, We'd decided on an approach which simplified the forestry bit. ( I get lost easily in forests )

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

Walked up the Strathfinella road to the dam of Loch Saugh - crossing over the dam and following the track on the opposite side up into the grassy area under the electricity pylons and up the rib that leads to the ridge.

The dam &  fishers boathouse at Loch Saugh.JPG
The dam & fishers boathouse at Loch Saugh

At the top left - hand corner of the grassy field, we spotted a quad track on the other side of the fence in the reedy area, which led straight up to a short firebreak intersecting the long SW -> NE firebreak running along the ridge by the summit. At the top of the rib, I climbed over the fence to gain access to the forest before noticing a style dead centre of the firebreak - which GordonC utilised - doh !
Slight downhill to the long FB, then turned NE along it until we reached the next FB running off left ( NW ) into the forest, just where the long FB starts to go downhill. There was a wee bit of residual snow with plenty footprints heading off into the forest . However, eagle eye'd GordonC spotted a couple o wee stanes at a slight gap in the trees on the left hand side ( SW ) and yea, after a few metres - there it was - the trig point !
Thanks to the previous Chrystal Maze-ers who forewarned us - we found the trig point easily.

GordonB skulking at the trig point.JPG
GordonB skulking at the trig pt of Strathfinnella Hil

Retreating from the Trig Pt.JPG
Retreating from the Trig point

Committed a bit of eco- vandalism by breaking a few wee branches to make the trig pt a bit more visible. GordonC took the obligatory photos and we headed back the way we came. ( There were footprints and bike tracks continuing along this firebreak in a NW direction, presumably to return to the road down the side of the forestry. )

Loch Saugh.JPG
View of Loch Saugh on the way down the quad track

Even found the FB back into the open - using the style this time and descended down the quad track & over the fence to the dam. On the road back we passed an old style phone box mitt phone but nae dial tone. ( Had to report to GordonC that it it needed fixing - him being and ex-Telecom engineer and all that ! )

Trying out the phone box near Glensaugh Farm.JPG
Trying out the phone box near Glensaugh farm

For future reference:- There is access through an unlocked gate to the Saugh dam by car for Brechin Fishing club and a boathouse for club members. So as long as there's parking space for the fishers, they probably wouldn't object to the odd hillwalker parking too. However, we didn't find the walk from Clattering Brig too onerous. ( the cafe is only open on Mon & Fri during the winter. )

Another braw day, although the visibility wasn't all that great - quite hazy.
Gordon Ballantyne
Munro compleatist
Posts: 251
Munros:282   Corbetts:89
Grahams:20   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:59   
Joined: Jan 30, 2011
Location: Westhill, Aberdeenshire

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