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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.