The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 28 August 2015

Bin of Cullen, Waughton Hill and Brimmond Hill

Tuesday 25 August

The weather forecast for this week involved far too much rain and strong wind to make me want to return to the big hills, so instead we opted to stay in the northeast corner of this part of Scotland and visit some little hills instead. Today involved far more driving than it did walking, especially for Mick (who did all of the driving and only got to do one of the hills). This is how it went:

Bin of Cullen (SW of Cullen, Moray)

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Waking to low cloud and light rain, it didn’t look the best day ever for a walk up a hill, but (on the upside) there wasn’t a howling gale blowing, and the first walk of the day was to be relatively sheltered, so without too much faffing, off we headed to abandon Colin in the limited parking at Braidbog, to the south of our objective.

Considering the low cloud, the almost continuous rain and the keen breeze on the top, it was a surprisingly enjoyable outing, mainly through forest before we broke out onto the heathery summit (the heather is just coming into full flower and has been quite lovely on all of these recent walks).

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Almost exactly three miles were walked, with 700’ of up.

Waughton Hill (SW of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire)

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This Marilyn is a bit of an outlier, and hadn’t originally featured in my list of hills for this week. However, on the basis that I’ll want to visit it eventually we came to the conclusion that we may as well do so now, whilst we were slightly closer than we usually get to it. An hour of driving ensued and then all we needed to do was to find somewhere to park.

After a bit of driving around, we ended up putting Colin in the entrance to a Scottish Water installation, just beyond Bransburn Farm (by Strichen), but as we were fully blocking the access, Mick volunteered to stay put, leaving me to venture out into the gloom: that low cloud still hadn’t lifted.

The initial walk along the overgrown lane was damp from all the overgrowth, but the rain held off and thus it was only murk and a strong wind with which I had to contend. The walk was nothing special, and neither was the summit:

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Taking a bearing to get off the top would have been wise, as it seems that my sense of direction proved up to its usual standard. My intention to take a slightly more direct route down failed when I wandered off in the wrong direction. Ooops! I hadn’t gone far before I noticed, but the result was a return route slightly longer than the outward one.

The stats were 3.4 miles walked with 450’ of ascent.

Brimmond Hill (W of Aberdeen)

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Mick would have joined me for this one if it wasn’t for Aberdeen Council having decided that only people with vehicles under 2m tall are permitted to park in the nearest car park. Again we blocked an access; again Mick volunteered to stay put, whilst I said I would be back within half an hour.

I was back smack on half an hour later, having walked 1.8 miles with 350’ of ascent. The up was exceptionally quick, with a tarmac track taking me the whole way. Just for a bit of variety, I took a wet, peaty path for part of the descent, before trundling back down the tarmac again. Even though this top is not lacking in transmitter masts, it was quite an enjoyable little walk, particularly as the weather had cleared such that I had views and hints of brightness:

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I looked across from there to tomorrow’s hills, and that’s where we headed next, to spend the night in a local car park to position us nicely for a circular walk in the morning.

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