Continuing my catching up on hill reports from last year.
Due to the Beast from the East locking out the higher hills for me and the fact that I just had to get outside walking it was the turn of the lower localish hills this spring. I had noticed a large area of moorland just to the north of Banchory that had not one but TWO trig points and a sub 2000er on it, along with several geocaches. Jackpot! I bundled the dog in the car and we set out to the hill of Fayre.
The weather had warmed up considerably down low but as I mentioned the high hills still had too much snow and ice for the lowly likes of me.
I parked up at one of the gates to Raemoir House hotel where there is just enough car parking for perhaps three cars and off I set, in the wrong direction I stumbled into the grounds of the hotel and realised my mistake, turned back and took the turning that I should have done the first time. A great start to the walk...
As always the first part of the walk was arduous as it takes my legs a while to warm up and realise that yes we are going to be doing this all day better get used to it...
I took a small detour to a geocache hidden near an old hunting lodge that has fallen into some disrepair.
I then retraced my steps back to the main track and carried on up the hill till I reached the top. It really was quite a boring but nice and lonely walk.
I had planned to go over the plateau to the trig point to the north of the summit, its only about 1km away.... However after about 50m of waist high heather and wet bog I gave up. Toooooo much like hard work for me! I had a good look at the map and realised that there was an easy way to bag the trig from the north so I will have to come back another day for that one.
I think the summit was so boring I didn't even take any photos!
So onwards I started off to the trig on the East side of the plateau. Back tracking for a little and then onto a path that follows the "ridge" of the plateau somewhat. At the junction with this path and the path that I had taken up there is a little estate hut which I took advantage of to have my cheese and mustard sandwiches.
So heading off to Mekle tap all fueled up now....
Came across quite a few puddles with newts in them! Which was very cool.
Got to the top of Mekle tap nice and easy, there were tracks the whole way. Saw a couple of other people out walking but not too many.
Its funny how dogs can look totally magnificent and then suddenly totally deranged in such a short space of time!
The views were pretty extensive from the top but anything of much interest is very far away so quite hard to pick out, especially in pictures which never do the views justice in my experience.
The way back I had decided on took me off the South of Mekle Tap and through the forestry commission area, and past the home farm back to the gate.
I was getting quite tired by this point as I had already covered a fair distance often into the wind which is energy sapping. But downhill now. I trotted down off the summit and into the woods. I could hear some heavy machinery in the near distance, I was hoping that they weren't felling on the route that I wanted to take out.... Well of course they were, classic. So I kind of stumbled into a dangerous work site, there was NO WAY I was going to turn back so I just kind of walked out behind one of the massive tracked log transporters, I wish I had got a picture of it as it was so massive, but I felt bad enough that I had walked into someones work site so tried not to draw attention to myself... Yeah right. The machinery was moving much slower than my usual walking pace which was frustrating but at the same time really good as it did give me somewhat of a rest. I got back to the track said hello to the lumberjacks and carried on off down the usual forestry track, which went on for what felt like forever. I stopped again along here for my second cheese and mustard sandwich and it was a struggle to get back up and continue walking, I had thought about hitching a lift with the lumberjacks but where would the sense of achievement be in that!
I eventually came across the farmland and turned West and headed back to the car.
It was a great day out but very very long! It was nice to have explored this whole area of moorland just to the north of Banchory, I also enjoyed seeing the newts and frogspawn and all the things of spring.
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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.