Dodging the kye around the Mintlaw TUmps

Date walked: 13/05/2021

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 12.5km

Ascent: 230m

GordonC was playing with his caravan in Braemar, Corbett bagging, so it was just Harvey and me today.
Weather was cloudy and close, but no rain.
The fields in this area surrounding these TUmps were filled with livestock, having been newly released fom their winter quarters with their young. It also seemed that the bulls had been let out to run with the cows for spring mating, adding to the hazards. So not only were the cows ready to defend their calves, the bulls were ready to defend their herd against all comers - even two legged ones with a dog ! A bit nerve-wracking at times.

Fetterangus & White Cow Wood Hills

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Parked up in the generous woodland car park, conveniently situated for both Fetterangus and White Cow.

Parkup for Fetterangus and White Cow.jpg
Parkup for Fetterangus and White Cow Woods Hills

Walked up the track on the Fetterangus side to where it split round either side of the hill and plunged into the firebreak dead ahead, which had a path up it. T'was not much of a firebreak, as the mature trees were now touching just above my head..
Easy going to the top, which was near an adjacent harvester track, just a couple of metres to the N.

Firebreak up Fetterangus.jpg
A wider part of the firebreak up Fetterangus gives H some camouflage.

Top  Fetterangus.jpg
The harvester track running over the top of Fetterangus

Returned to the car park to recover my GPS, as the Outdoor Active app on my phone was playing up.

Toddled off up the track to White Cow Wood, but missed the track round to the west side. Being a lazy git and emboldened by the firebreak on Fetterangus I thought I'd go up by the next firebreak. Alas, a bad idea again - this forestry was not mature and I couldn't find a firebreak, so I had to thrash my way to the top through young trees underlain by old clearfell rubbish. A bit of - "I've started so I'll finish ". and not a pleasant experience, with every orifice & pocket on me packed with pine needles by the time I got to the top.
Eventually, I emerged into mature trees, making better progress and stumbled into a plastic flag hanging from a tree near the top. ( or mabe it was marking the top )

Plastic Flag near top of White Cow.jpg
A plastic flag in the trees near the top of White Cow Wood Hill

Cairn near the top of White Cow.jpg
The antique cairn on White Cow

I wandered around inspecting some semi buried white plastic bags, before continuing on to the track and on to the antique cairn. Followed the correct track back down and mused how stupid I'd been on the way up through my own indolence.

Cairndale Hill

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On the way round to Cairndale, I noticed that many of the fields were stocked up with ewes & lambs or cows with calfs.
I plotted a way round a field of young grain then into a grass field at the top. Luckily, the kye were down near the trig on the other side of a row of trees which left the top free for H to have his summit pic and a quick scout around the gorse hump next to it, hidden from the kye.
A black cow eventually spotted us, so we retreated to the grain field before the black coo brought its sisters over to give us the once-over.

Cairndale top.jpg
Harvey at the top of Cairndale Hill

Hill of Turlundy

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A quick scoot up the road to New Pitlsigo to tag this outlier.
I scorned the church car park and took the next road - "Alexander Bell" Street - no less, up the hill which continues past the houses as a track round the side of the hill. Managed to squeeze in to park at the top of a path running up from the main road.

Parkup for Turlundy.jpg
Parkup for Turlundy

A triplet of concrete "SV" markers acted as a style over the BWF for me, while H squeezed through the spaces in the gate adjacent.

Stepover to start Turlundy.jpg
The concrete stepovers to Turlundy

Wandered up the field to the gorsie top. After probing the summit gorse field in a few places, did a loop round the S and found a kye path through the gorse to the marshy top and the trig.

Summit gorsefield on Turlundy.jpg
Scoping out the summit gorsefield of Turlundy

Turlundy Trig.jpg
Turlundy's trig among the rushes and gorse

Hill of Dens

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The road south of Stuartfield was closed to fill potholes for 5 days, so I reverted to plan B.
Drove back to the village square and headed W, taking the track to Dens of Crichie, reasoning that the track would be good as far as the reservoir. However, the track wasn't too bad, with nowhere to park near the reservoir, so I continued past Dens of Crichie and parked at the bottom of the track up to Hill of Dens. Just enough space to squeeze on to the grass verge without blocking a gate.

Walked up past the sheep dips and a big hoose with a barking dog to the crest of the hill.
Where the track cut a right angle, a herd of kye with calves and a white bull with a hairy mane gathered to watch us pass.
( on the other side of a BWF ) We made it to the gate across the way, giving us entry to the top of the hill and left the cattle behind. A stack of wood bundles by a muddy track gave access to the top area. Having read about others having trouble finding the trig, I circled to the NW and back round by the dried up pond, then back through the gorse. I spotted the trig just as my GPS beeped. So for anyone else looking for the trig, the best way is to follow the line of the muddy track past the pile of sticks into a copse of young broadleaf trees to the edge of the gorse. The trig is mossy, stained and dark, - not the usual cement colour so difficult to see against the gloomy background.

Track to top of Dens.jpg
Muddy track by the bundles of sticks at the top of Hill of Dens

Trig of Dens.jpg
The lurking trig of Hill o Dens

Returned past the kye, who were getting a bit frisky and loupin' about. The bull could've easily stepped through the fence without noticing it and trampled me unto the mud, but it must've been restrained today !. Having left the kye mooing behind us, a few hundred meters down the track I realised that I'd left my walking pole somewhere back there, so we had to brave the kye again, who seemed to be a little more agitated as we passed once more. Having recovered my pole where I'd left it at the gate,on the final return walk past the cattle, a cow stood up to the fence to defend her calf, and I thought it was going to jump over, so we turned away before it did and hurried away back down the track, leaving them milling around and bellowing while the calves pranced around.
I fully expected to hear them thundering down the track after us, having knocked the fence down........but no - they didn't and we held our nerve and didn't run !

Hill of Belnagoak

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Got back on to the main road from Dens and passed the workies slapping lots of tarmac on the road - at last.
Headed down to Achnagatt then up the to the Knaven turnoff and across to Crofts of Belnagoak. A good parkup was had at the end of the slightly overgrown track running up the side of Hill of Belnagoak.
There was a hacking path in use up this gap between the fields which mostly hid us from the kye on either side. Near a badger sett in the side of the track, the kye caught site of us and came to inspect with much bellowing. Soon we were beyond them and found an empty grass field next to the delelict cottages leading to the top.
Hopped over an inactive electric BW fence and continued up this field. A gate was conveniently ajar at the exit of the field on to a mown grassy track, (which presumabley went down to Hill of Belnagoak farm - maybe a better way up this hill ? ). At the end of the track there was a rickety wooden gate which we surmounted to gain access to the trig in the field beyond.

The grassy track on Belnagoak.jpg
The grass track near the top of Belnagoak

The derelict cottages on Belnagoak.jpg
The derelict cottages across the fields on Belnagoak

Harvey did his modelling bit at the trig then we headed back to the car.

Top of Belnagoak.jpg
H models at the trig at the top o Belnagoak

On the way back, the bellowing kye in one field had attracted the attention of a herd in the opposite field. We were now bracketed by 2 herds of kye milling around and mooing. One herd included a bull, which came over to the fence and gave us the evil eye. I managed to pluck up enough courage to take a snap of him, but the psudo -click from my phone startled him, so I quickly retreated.
Never had any problems like this on the Munros........

Getting the evil eye on Belnagoak.jpg
Getting the evil eye on the way back from Belnagoak

Hill of Balquhindachy

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This was a drive-by to finish the day.
Turned up to Balquhindachy and at the end of the road, continued round right through an open gate to the top beside Turbine No1. Walked up a tractor mark in the field of corn to the highest point.

Parkup from the top of Balquhindachy.jpg
Parkup from the top of Balquhindachy

Top of Balquhindachy.jpg
No1 Turbine near the top of Balquhindachy

Drove back down before someone shut and locked the gate.

Cruised back down the road, congratulating myself for bagging 7 TUmps and dodging all the kye.
Even came back with both my walking poles - what an achievement and unsupervised too !

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Gordon Ballantyne

Location: Westhill, Aberdeenshire
Occupation: Retired
Activity: Munro compleatist
Mountain: Ladhar Bheinn
Place: Knoydart
Member: Ex- RAF MRT Kinloss
Ambition: Complete Corbetts/Grahams

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 89
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 7
Sub 2000: 59

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Joined: Jan 30, 2011
Last visited: May 15, 2021
Total posts: 261 | Search posts