Escaping Ninewells - Perspective & Reflection in the Sidlaws
by Graeme D » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:45 am
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Craigowl Hill
Date walked: 18/03/2011
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 560m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
With Debbie and Ailsa due to be moved on the Friday afternoon from the high dependency unit on the Labour Suite and into a room on the Maternity Ward, this meant that from then on, it would only be myself who would have unrestricted access. Her mother would now have to restrict visits to during the two 1 hour slots in the day. I therefore suggested that I would make myself scarce on the Friday afternoon, leaving her mum some time to spend alone with her and Ailsa.
My original plan was to head back down the road towards Perth and possibly head up Glen Devon or into the Glen Artney hills. Then I thought about the Angus Corbetts and Grahams – Hill Of Wirren, Mount Battock, Hunt Hil e.t.c. To be honest thought, I was still feeling pretty knocked out, both physically and emotionally, so I decided to take it easy and continue my recent run of Sub 2000ft Marilyns on Craigowl Hill, the highest point of the Sidlaw Hills a few miles to the north of Dundee. I had had a good sight of it for the past week and a bit as I drove along the A90 into Dundee, and I reckoned it would give me a decent view of the city that felt like it had, temporarily at least, become my adopted home.
I left the concrete sprawl of Ninewells at 1.30pm and headed along the Kingsway and onto the Forfar Road, turning off the A90 at Tealing. I continued through the village and up the farm road to Hillside of Prieston, where I parked up just short of the old ruined farm buildings. There was a red car parked there already and as I gathered my gear together and put my walking boots on, the owner returned and asked me if I was “going right round”. Not quite sure exactly what he meant – I had no OS map for the area, having basically just looked at the mapping on here the night before and counted on heading straight up the track (which turned out to be a tarmac road) and back down the same way – I explained that I didn’t really know the area and was just out for a quick jaunt up Craigowl Hill and back down. He advised that I head off across the fields to the north east rather than heading up the road, before looping back round to the summit. He then went on to describe how I could continue the walk to Auchterhouse, but to be honest, my mind still felt like it had turned into Swiss cheese and he kind of lost me a bit there!
Anyway, I have to really thank this guy, cos if he hadn’t spoken to me, I’d probably have whacked straight up the road and back down in jig time, then jumped into the car and headed for some other wee half hour hill, kind of like foggieclimber’s four part Sub2 report from last year. But instead I took his advice, and headed across the fields to make a big looping approach towards the mast infested summit, at the start of a walk that will live forever in my memory as a classic.
It was only when I reached the summit of Craigowl Hill that I understood what he had meant about continuing beyond this point. The views north to the snow plastered Munros of Glenshee and Glen Clova were stunning, Dundee and Fife beyond the Firth of Tay spread out below to the south, and off to the west I could see two other prominent lower hills (one quite heavily wooded, the other sporting what looked like a trig pillar at the summit) which looked like they would make a nice extended circuit.
I spent ten minutes or so amongst the hardware at the summit of Craigowl Hill, much of it focussing on the layout of Dundee to the south and the grey buildings and prominent chimney of Ninewells Hospital in the south west of the city.
From here I picked my way along the narrow but seemingly well-trodden path through the heather towards the bealach to the west.
Here I picked up a broader, more defined path heading north, which I followed for a while before cutting off to my left through a stand of pine trees and into some pretty rough heather as I traversed around to begin the ascent up onto the hill fort summit of Auchterhouse Hill.
It was around about this point, on the path and then as I wandered off it and into the trees, that I began to feel an absolute and overwhelming sense of …… well, I don’t quite know what it was. Relief. Happiness. The tension and anxiety of the previous week just washing away. I literally felt like I could just keep walking on this bearing forever and everything would be perfectly OK. I realised that I actually had very little idea exactly where I was, and yet at the same time I knew exactly where I was.
I soon picked up another good path which climbed through the pine and larch trees to the small, perfectly formed bald summit of Auchterhouse Hill, from where I descended south before skirting around and up to the view indicator and memorial plaque at the summit of Baluderon Hill, before descending a broad grassy track about the width of a dual carriageway and then cutting across the lower southern flanks of Craigowl Hill to pick up the service road for the last few hundred metres back to the car.
For an opportunist strike to get me out of the hospital for an afternoon, this turned into a minor classic that will live forever in my memories of a week that changed my life forever.
by FestinaLente » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:06 am
Don't know anything of such a situation healthwise, never wanted children.
Not as yet read all this report of yours but the pic that caught my eye and your comment was of Syd Scroggie and you could see what he appreciated about the view.
Syd Scroggie was blinded during 2nd World War but still enjoyed time on the hills. Read an excellent article about him in a magazine several decades ago.
by Stretch » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:12 am
by ChrisW » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:44 am
Congratulations to you both, from my quick skim of the site since I returned it seems your wife had some difficulty so it is good to hear she is now on the mend. I can imagine what a fantastic, emotional walk that must have been and can 'feel' it in your report.
Hope I bump into the three of you out on the hills someday
by Paul Webster » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:01 am
now you are.................. .....dan dan daaaaaaaaaaaaa.....a DAD
This means you'll become a great dancer
Excellent report, sounds like you were glad of the fresh air. Hope you all get to go home soon
by Caberfeidh » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:26 am
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by malky_c » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:51 pm
Good to see another Craigowl/Auchterhouse Hill report -Craigowl is probably my most climbed summit in Scotland. Must've walked, run or cylced up it 25 or 30 times over the last 10 years! Was thinking of putting some kind of report together at some point, just to give it a bit more coverage, but yours has nicely shown the best bis of it. Auchterhouse is a nice addition as well. I agree this is a great afternoon out, although my reasons are slightly different from yours
Lundie Craigs and Keillor hill a bit further west are also worth a look (I'm sure you'll only be allowed to do short walks now ). Nice for an hour or two's wander within a short drive of Perth.
by gammy leg walker » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:47 pm
Just one thing if you don"t mind me asking.......................I take it Ailsa has taken her good looks from mum
by kevsbald » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:36 pm
can't imagine the lows and highs you've been through recently. Just glad mum and daughter (and you) are all well.
Hope to see you on the hills with me soon.
by walk aboot » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:39 pm
by rockhopper » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:44 pm
by Graeme D » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:59 pm
by Alastair S » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:15 am
And was that an orienteering point next to the Sydney Scroggie monument? If so then looks like a serious course they must run around there!
by yokehead » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:07 pm