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After the torpor of Christmas Day, I needed to get out so, on Boxing Day, it was a (reasonably) early start to drive to Bennachie.  Bennachie is a great wee Aberdeenshire hill near Inverurie, which is very popular but I was early enough to be the 3rd car in the car park that morning.  My weather gamble had paid off – clear and crisp – and the sun was on the tops as I started up the rather muddy path from the Rowantree car park. Soon, I was out of the trees with great views east across the patchwork fields of Aberdeenshire.

Looking east over the North-east Lowlands

Looking east over the North-east Lowlands

Mither Tap (when you see its shape, the origin of the name is obvious) is the most popular top.  The top was the site of a Pictish hill fort and there are still lots of stones from that around.

 

Remains of the hill fort on the summit of Bennachie

Remains of the hill fort on the summit of Mither Tap

As it was still early, I had the top to myself but I could see lots of people on the path. Great views all around. Still quite a lot of flooding in the fields, which glinted in the sun.

North from the summit of Mither Tap

North from the summit of Mither Tap

Sunshine on the summit of Mither Tap

Sunshine on the summit of Mither Tap.

Mither Tap is by far the busiest top but not the highest – this is Oxen Craig, which is about a mile away. Good views of the Mither Tap from the path.

Mither Tap

The Mither Tap

The summit of Oxen Craig is quite rocky, with a film of verglas so after a wee slip, I had to be very canny. Craigshannoch. my next top, is on the right.

 

The summit of Oxen Crag

The summit of Oxen Crag

You can see great examples of layers of lava on both Oxen Craig and Craigshannoch.  I saw the only wildlife of the day on Craigshannoch – some very noisy black grouse.

 

Layers of lava on Craigshannoch

Layers of lava on Craigshannoch

Half an hour later I was back at the car – by which time, half of Aberdeen seemed to have arrived for a walk.  It was a short walk – about 9k – but well-worth the effort of getting out of bed early on a winter’s morning.

One Response to “A Boxing Day dauner on Bennachie”

  1. ian shiell says:

    Bin up that hill a thoosand times but looking at your photo ‘Oxen Craig’ makes it a new place – like a Cairngorm top right next to rich shire country except that the heather is just a little too suburban.

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