Today I was supposed to be writing stuff on quality management – even duller to write than it is to read, and that’s saying something
. But the sun was shining for the first time this month and after a couple of hours, I could take no more and I decided to get out for a while. It was a bit late to head west to Braemar (my first preference) so I decided on the 40 minute drive to Bennachie.
Bennachie is a wee granite hill in Aberdeenshire with good paths and easy access. The main top (the Mither Tap) is a bit busy but once you head for the other tops, you rarely see more than a handful of people. I started at the visitor centre near the Chapel of Garioch. Garioch is one of these north east names that don’t look like they sound – it is pronounced Geerie-o. Another place where you can slip up is Strathan near Banchory, which is pronounced Straan not Strath-Ann.
The path is signposted up the hill and the first bit isn’t that attractive really – it goes through a clear felled area. But it has the benefit that you get a view of the top.
After this area, things improve. The path goes through open forest – larch and some other generic conifer then Scots pine. On leaving the forest, the path steepens and it seems like a real, albeit short hill walk. About 45 minutes after leaving the car, I was on the top. A Pictish (I think) hill fort was built on the Mither Tap of Bannachie and the signs of it are still there (although I suspect the wall has been restored)
I’d been in the lee of the wind on the way up but it was blowing a hoolie on the top – hard to hold the camera still. But 10m below, I sat and enjoyed lunch in the spring sun, with a view over Aberdeenshire. Being Aberdeenshire, of course, you can’t get away from horrible wind turbines.
After lunch, I headed for Oxen Craig, a bit more than a mile away. The Forestry Commission have created paths for biking so they are a bit obtrusive but they make for easy walking. I only met one couple on the way.
There’s a indicator on top of Oxen Craig and the view was a wee bit better than my indicator non-view last week on Allermuir.
From both the Mither Tap and Oxen Craig you could see to Lochnagar – I was surprised that there wasn’t more snow on it. I preferred the view from Oxen Craig as it included a wee bit of the River Don.
There were views back to Craigshannoch (on the left) and Mither Tap. I headed back via Craigshannoch where there were some incredible granitic lava flows and more Aberdeenshire views.
Back to Mither Tap then down to the car park for 3.30. A great wee walk in the sunshine.