Two quick Aberdeenshire Subs to kick off Spring

Route: Brimmond Hill, near Westhill

Sub 2000s: Brimmond Hill, Strathfinella Hill

Date walked: 01/03/2020

I had thought my end to 2019 had petered out in the last quarter, but the start to 2020 seems to have been even worse. The start of meteorological spring and I was only heading out on my third walking day of the year. So much for all the bold plans I'd had. It feels like a year of damage limitation already.

Seeing as it was 6 weeks since my last outing I decided to take it easy, ticking off a couple of my remaining Aberdeenshire subs.

First up was Strathfinella Hill. A decent drive up to the Drumtochty parking area, which had a good icy covering. I'm sure the forecast when I'd left home suggested a not too bad a day, but it was raining as I donned my clobber and set off. No views for me at this summit then.........(I did know what I was letting myself in for on this hill by the way :lol: )

ImageP1140175 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

I made a mistake right at the start, but I put that down to a lack of local knowledge.

Heading out the car park I turned left and headed off toward a track shown on the OS maps and one I'd seen used by others.

Thanks to the best efforts of whatever the Forrestry Commission is called these days and the persistent wet weather we've been experiencing the track has been transformed into mud soup..........I was doubting my sanity as I picked my way slowly along its edge. Surely this couldn't be the best way up this hill. I was beggining to wonder if I was in for this muck all the way to the top. Slower progress to start the day than I'd wanted and thoughts of possibly bagging three hills in the day were being binned with every slip and slide in the mud.

ImageP1140177 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

I even launched myself up through the trees at one point, just to avoid the sludge, considering an obstacle caourse of fallen trees to be preferable. I still ended back on another track of sludge unfortunately.

ImageP1140178 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

ImageP1140179 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

And then, approaching a log pile, I spied a group of people ahead who appeared to have come up a track to my left. I was soon to discover, once I'd successfully navigated one final area of slop, that their track wasn't cut up than mine and looked far nicer. At last, once on their track I was able to speed up quite a bit.

ImageP1140181 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

All major trauma was over from this point and it was a straightforrward walk along various tracks to the summit area. Rain turned to sleat and then snow as I went and some of the walking through the trees was actually quite pleasant.

ImageP1140186 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Possibly the cause of my slop through mud soup

ImageP1140187 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Much easier going on this track

ImageP1140188 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Right turn here

ImageP1140189 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Then straight ahead

ImageP1140190 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Before a quick left and a bit of climbing

ImageP1140194 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

ImageP1140195 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
A nice walk through the trees though

ImageP1140198 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Then out into the snow

The final section to just shy of the summit was a long, straight line, march. Missed the right turn toward the summit trig, so had to double back a short distance.

Then I missed the dip under a connifer branch to the trig itself.

ImageP1140206 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr

Stunning views from this one...........if you like branches.

ImageP1140207 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Summit view

I was just glad to have bagged something, so a tick was a tick for me.

Retraced my steps back to the logpile, from where I took the less slop ridden route back to the road and the short walk back to the car.

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

Next stop was to be Brimmond Hill, just outside Aberdeen. In truth and easy hill to get to and an even easier hill to bag, but it had always been a bit out of the way for me relative to other hills in the area, given I travel from Ayrshire. It's bagged now, so all is good.

It nearly wasn't good at the time though, as I pulled in to the small parking area on the west side of the hill. I was beginning to suffer from some quite severe stomach cramps, but it seemed unnecessary to abandon plans for what should be a straightforward 45 minutes max up ands down, just to go find a public convenience............that attitude nearly backfired.......literally :shock:

ImageP1140216 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Nice view at the start

ImageP1140217 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Descent path up, although had a few boggy patches

ImageP1140222 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Passed a couple of redundant styles on the way up

ImageP1140227 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
View toward the summit

ImageP1140234 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
Summit pano

ImageP1140242 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
View across Aberdeen

ImageP1140245 by Pete Riedel, on Flickr
And a view of Mount Keen to finish on

Thankfully, other than the need to stop on occassion to "gather my thoughts" it was an unremarkable trip to the top to quickly admire the view and head back down while searching on my phone for the nearest available convenience I could rely on once safely back at the car.

Turned out to be a Tesco......every little helps

Hopefully it won't be another six weeks before I get out again and hopefully I can find me some bigger hills to tackle, preferably with a bit of snow on them too.

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