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Emerging from lockdown: Pressendye

Emerging from lockdown: Pressendye

Postby ronrubble » Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:28 am

Route description: Pressendye, Tarland

Grahams included on this walk: Pressendye

Date walked: 10/07/2020

Time taken: 4 hours

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As we reach the middle of July I realise that I have not climbed a single hill in the first half of 2020, which would normally be shocking but I suspect is more common than not this year. Partly due to young family and work pressures and mainly due to the COVID-19 lockdown I have been inactive to the evident detriment of my physical and mental health. I thought the latter was bad, but was to quickly learn that the former was terrible.

So with restrictions lifting I found myself with a few free hours on a Friday afternoon. My wife was taking the children for a play date and I was to walk the dog. A 5 minute search on the walkhighlands website showed a local Graham which I hadn’t been up before, and which seemed a gentle ease in for my weak legs and lungs. Perfect.

Starting from the war memorial monument in the main square in Tarland the route takes you through a local wetland conserve in the village created with the help of local community groups, Aberdeenshire council and some EU funds. It seemed like a lot of effort for what appears to be a small garden with a damp patch in it but I suspect I was missing the point.

This brings you on to a road walk out of the village and up past West Davoch farm. As road walks go this one is about as nice as they come. The road is quiet, the verges blossoming and the views of farmland and Morven (Corbett) are a panacea to the lockdown-induced cabin fever.

As road walks go, it's about as good as it gets

Once off the surfaced road there is a short section along a track through some conifers before the route turns off the track, through a couple of gates and into a lovely wooded area for some breathless (at least for me) ascent. I should point out here, that though this route is way marked with small blue arrows, they are easily missed (or missing…) and should not be relied on. I will have to double back on myself later for having missed a turn off.

Leaving the woods through a deer fence you emerge onto what the route description calls “open moorland” but which is now undergoing some reforestation which is nice to see.

Open moorland being reforested

Following up until you reach the fence on the ridge and turning right you get the first opportunity to enjoy the wide views afforded, and they are lovely, particularly to the South where Clachnaben, Mount Battock, Morven and Mount Keen are in evidence (I think), with Bennachie visible to the North.

The first look back offers a grand view. Weather is great but this would soon change.



At this point the weather was being very kind to me but I could see the showers approaching from the West and so I hurried on toward the summit to enjoy the views before having to don waterproofs. The walk along the fence toward the summit is very enjoyable, easy going, sheltered from the worst of the wind and with fantastic views this is a highlight of the walk. As I approached the cairn the heavens opened so I dashed into the wind shelter to hide from the squall as I layered up and was soon on my way again.

Wind shelter just in time for the squall

There are 2 paths heading away from the Cairn in about the right direction and the way marking does nothing to distinguish them. I took the right hand path, more to the SE than the other, which appeared to head East, and I lived to tell the tale FWIW.

The circular route back down to Tarland is gentle and takes in more lovely views, though it is very easy to lose the correct path.

A panacea for the lockdown blues

Fine spot for a picnic

Waymarking. Don't rely on it as it is often hard to spot or missing.

There is a small quarry which you should pass on your left which seems the most likely point to err (I initially passed it on my right). I doubled back once I realised I was heading for a road walk along the busy B9119. I think the waymarking disagrees with the route as it is shown on the WH website as it nears Douneside – I followed the arrows and passed to the West of the beautiful Douneside house rather than the East. I enjoyed a walk between fields which were separated by 2 rows of beech trees (first order if I were King would be that all fields should be bordered in this way as it creates great walking routes between the rows) which emerged onto a large solar array which was both unexpected and welcome.

First decree: All fields shall be bordered by 2 rows of beech trees

The royal dog agrees

Solar array was unexpected. Very cool.

From here it is a simple road walk back into Tarland enjoying the views of Morven and Douneside on the way.

It is now 3 days later and despite this walk being only 9 miles or so, my locked down legs continue to complain. My spirits however were well and truly lifted from their quarantine doldrums.

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Re: Emerging from lockdown: Pressendye

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:48 am

Thanks for posting this.

I'm also planning to make this my 1st hill of the year and hope to do it this week so hopefully I'll remember where you had "issues".

You have my vote for king, that tree lined path between the fields looks great.
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Re: Emerging from lockdown: Pressendye

Postby thedonalds » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:02 pm

I am currently staying in the Glen of Cushnie and hope to do Pressendye from that side in the next few days, ageing legs permitting.........great long views from up there.
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