Mount Keen at sunrise

There’s nothing quite like the steady stillness of nighttime on the hills.

The roar of cars and buses and lorries are hushed, and what’s of left of them are left behind the country roads and forest tracks which bring you to the foot of the hill. The clunks and bangs and squeals that humans and their various wares make are disconnected for now, and so even your portable reminder of the chaotic world we live in stops tweetering and snapping and loudly declaring it likes things for a while.

At nighttime, even the natural chorus that’s been playing millions of years before we added our mechanical allegro enters a lull. Instead, there is only the steady stillness of the night, punctuated by the occasional phuttering of Ptarmigan, and your own thoughts. How scary.

Earlier in the week our weekend plans to climb a Munro evolved into plans to climb a Munro at sunrise. My friends, Sarah and Iris, and Iris’s two dogs, would meet at a car park in Edzell at 3am in order to greet Saturday morning at the top of Mount Keen. While we’d all walked hills in the dark, none of us had ever walked in the wee hours of morning with the purpose of catching the sunrise. How exciting.

I’d stayed at Sarah’s flat in Stonehaven the night before, and we’d dutifully put ourselves to bed at the early hour of 8pm in order to catch some sleep before our alarms went off at the ungodly hour of 2am. The 18 year-old Natalie would have thought the 28 year old Natalie was a total loser. A lot has changed since then.

For one, I fell asleep maybe eight minutes after my head hit the pillow. After a busy week at work and six months into a new job, I’m still “settling in”. Between work and weddings and tweeting and binging on Netflix and catching up with friends, I’m struggled to find the time or the resolve to blog. This work/life balance thing is pretty tough.

Drunk on a flask of syrupy strong coffee, Sarah and I giggled our way from Stonehaven to Edzell. Is this the stupidest idea we’d ever had? Who in the world goes to bed early on a Friday to climb a hill?!

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Leaving Stonehaven at stupid o’clock

We met Iris in Edzell, jumped into her truck and headed to the car park at Invermark.

It was just after 3am that we began the pre-hill walking ritual of packing bags, putting on layers, carefully folding away maps, putting on boots, zipping up waterproofs, fighting with head torches that never sit quite at the right angle on your head, cursing at how bloody cold it is and triple checking that you are as prepared as you can be for any of the apocalyptic scenarios which could take place at the hands of unpredictable Scottish hills.

So it was, that in the early hours of Saturday morning, we left the empty car park and set off to catch the sun rise on Mount Keen, Scotland’s most easterly Munro.
The eleven-mile-round walk from Glen Esk to Mount Keen is made relatively easy by a decent path leading most of the way to the summit at 939 metres. There’s only a few opportunities to go wayward, so as with every hill, maps and navigational skills are still needed should the weather take a turn. We walked for a short time until we reached the glen, identified only by shadows of the surrounding hills lit by the full moon. Walking alongside the river, our head torches lit up the eyes of herds of deer resting on the embankment.

Shortly after we arrived at a hunting lodge and stopped for something to eat on the bench outside. It was so quiet.

With an hour and a half walk to the summit, we headed off again into the silence. One of us said what we’d all been thinking, that the dark and quiet and glower of the hills around us made it a wee bit creepy. Thinking about it now, it’s probably creepy because we’re so used to the clunks and bangs and tweets of our chaotic daily lives.

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From there we headed across the stepping stones over the Easter Burn, and towards the Ladder Glen. The path began to ascend quickly and the phuttering of Ptarmigan increased in frequency. The light of the morning was beginning to grow from the east, bringing the colour of the surrounding hills into view with every strip of pink hue. We could hear stags barking up the hill, and the mist began to rise in sleepy clouds from the glens down below. We zagged our way up the steep path towards the summit, keeping right at the fork in the path which otherwise leads you on to the original Mounth Road towards Glen Tanar.

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Sunrise was due at 6.40am – some three hours after we’d left the car park.

We’d turned off our head torches by this point and made the last leg enjoying the full moon on our left and the pink stream of sunrise on our right. Every few paces or so one of us stopped in awe of the view. The early morning start had meant the surroundings had been wrapped up in darkness, like a treat we’d be rewarded with only once the summit had been reached at sunset. Without the light we’d had little sense of the height we’d gained, or context of our surroundings.

What a bloody treat it was. After the obligatory tap of the trig point, we plonked ourselves down, poured a coffee and ate our breakfast just as the sun began to rise from the east. In minutes, the glens around us were lit up as the sun came into full view. Behind us we could see the craggy terrain of Lochnagar, and around us the Grampians came into view. It was a new day, and we’d started it at the top of a Munro.

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I’m not normally one for “mindfulness”.

But there’s something about the steady stillness of watching the sun rise from the top of Mount Keen that brought out the new age hippy in me. It was calm. Peaceful. Instagrammable. Facebook-live-able. I instinctively reached into my pocket for my iPhone, only to watch the screen blinker and go black as the battery died in front of my eyes. Ha. Divine Providence or pure chance, I’d just have to enjoy the moment. Imagine that.

After a while of sitting and oohing and aahing the cold creeped in again, and we made our way back down the hill. The usual carelessness which comes with following the same route back was brushed away by the joy of seeing it all for the first time. Glen Mark is postcard perfect, with sheep grazing in amongst the heather as we approached the granite arches of the Queens Well. The well was built by Lord Dalhousie to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who rode the 15 mile journey from Balmoral to meet him in September 1861. Fair play to them.

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We made it back to the car for 9.30am, some six hours after we’d left.

A whole Munro complete and the day had only just begun for the steady stream of walkers leaving the now busy car park. I couldn’t help but feel a wee bit smug.

But more than that, the refreshing feeling of doing something new and exciting served as a good reminder of why I should spend more time doing the things I love, namely hill walking and writing. All I needed was a good dose of perspective, which, it turns out, can be freely found on top of any hill at sunrise.

The beautiful beast that is Ben Rinnes

Ben Rinnes

Natalie stands in the snow on Ben Rinnes
The sun glowering through the clouds over Ben Rinnes

Ben Rinnes. You beautiful beast, you.

Stretching above Scotland’s whisky country, Moray, Ben Rinnes has long been a fond favourite of hill-walkers. With views of the rich farmlands nestled around Glenrinnes; the surrounding Moray hills; the Cairngorms and even farther; the Moray coast, the 841m Corbett has everything going for it.

The hill itself is a thing of beauty. A mix of steep climbs and meandering flats make for a thrilling walk to the summit, where behind you soon becomes a shoulder stretching out into the distance and in front of you, the summit (in our case) disappears off into the clouds. Even writing about it now makes me want to go back.

And we will go back, because on this occasion, there was no summit to be had.

Being a timekeeper ain’t easy

My friends call me the Timekeeper. I like to think its a term of endearment, but in reality I know its muttered with frustration when everyone just wants to stop for a tea break and I’ve again pointed out its only an hour until sundown, and with thinly guised (but only fleeting) hatred when I ask the slowest moving what time it is.

But it takes all talents to make a band work. Or something to that affect.

So when me and Jamie arrived at the Ben Rinnes car park just south of Dufftown at 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon, his ears were already red with my Timekeeper warnings of doom. The WalkHighlands website told us the walk would take about 3-4 hours to complete. With sundown due around 5pm, the thought of stumbling through ice and snow with only a head torch was enough to make me want to abandon the walk and retreat to a cafe for coffee and cake.

Thankfully, Jamie is made of sterner, chippier stuff (see – ALL the talents!) and we got layered up in the car park before heading up the hill.

Walking on water

In a bid to warm up we set off at a quick pace along the well worn path up to the top of Round Hill. Friends of Ben Rinnes do a lot of work in the area trying to maintain paths and prevent erosion caused by the hill walkers and runners who come to the popular hill year round.

The walk continues this way over the Round Hill until we were treated to our first near view of Ben Rinnes.

As the path levelled off, a cocktail of snow and ice soon covered up most of the path, and it was up to us to make our way up towards the summit. I’m really growing to love winter walks for this reason. Whilst paths are necessary to maintain the beauty of these hills for future generations, their regimented placement can sometimes take away from the real challenge of hill walking.

Fresh snow and plates of ice can turn a casual summer dander into a real sweaty hike. We hopped between ice onto snow, free to carve our own path to the top without fear of ruining the route for others. It felt like we were walking on water and making ground much quicker than had we been trekking up on stone.

The danger this always presents is that others follow your footsteps, or that you follow the wrong footsteps. A word to the wise.

We passed a now redundant stile on our right as the intimidating ascent opened up in front us. It’s one of those ascents that look impossible until you start climbing. We zigzagged across the hill in a bid to reduce pure ascent, occasionally catching sight of the path poking through the ice.

Good excuse to return

Ptarmigan barked all around us, dotting about the snow almost disguised by their white feathers. Any attempts to take photos of them on my phone were quickly put to bed by the usual technical limitations which mean an iPhone can’t cope in sub zero temperatures. It’s almost bloody useless in Scotland.

After an hour and a half the summit was almost in sight, hidden only slightly by some dreich-looking clouds beginning to move over the hill. We’d enjoyed fresh winter sunshine with barely a breeze for most of the walk but it seemed Ben Rinnes had other plans.

Jamie heading up Ben Rinnesjamie near top

The ice was getting thicker on approach and we were contemplating putting on our crampons. As we approached the summit there was a slight dip between us and our destination. As we reached the top of the dip a blizzard moved in and we were exposed to the ice and snow chucked up with every bellow of wind.

The hardest decision to make is the one to abandon ship and turn back. But on this occasion it was a decision we had to make. There’s every chance we would have made it to the summit and back in good time and with only a wee chill.

Timekeeper or no timekeeper, there’s always that tiny chance that the summit is a bit farther away than you think, and visibility goes to zero whilst you stumble about in the cold trying to get your bearings whilst using all of your energy to stand up against the wind. We didn’t fancy it.

On our way back we met the few other hillwalkers, who all seemed relieved when we told them we didn’t make it to the top and soon turned back with us.

We stopped again to enjoy the incredible views and with a promise to return. Even without the glory of reaching the trig point, it was a cracking day out. Good work, Ben Rinnes.

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Stunning views over Glenrinnes
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The retreat: looking back down over the shoulder
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Returning from the top

Stunning views Ben Rines

Burns Supper Bothy trip – Torridon and Applecross

Jamie and Natalie stand outside landcruiser.
Jamie and me get ready to hit the road to Applecross.

“All that to only order fish and chips”

At the height of the tourist season, the Applecross Inn churns out up to 1000 covers a day.

It’s a source of amusement for the locals, who say each year they watch a constant stream of would be diners willingly join queues for up to two hours. “They queue in one door and leave out the other”, one local nodded, before adding “all that to only order fish and chips!”

Nestled at the end of a tiny street in the remote Applecross Peninsula, once only accessible by boat, the Applecross Inn has put the small  community firmly on the map. Freshly caught langoustines, hand-dived scallops and Applecross Crab Salad are served fresh from the bay to diners, who enjoy a front-row seat watching the dusky pink sun set before it disappears behind Skye.

You can see why the locals begrudge the battered fish and chips. Nothing ruins the romance of the West Coast more than the greasy after-taste of battered fish. But each to their own.

We couldn’t let a trip to Torridon pass without making the pilgrimage to Applecross.

Plate of langoustines served in the Applecross Inn
Langoustines from the Applecross Inn – take me back!

Bealach na Bà

In dribs and drabs our group made the long drive across to Applecross on the Friday night. We’d planned to spend the night in Applecross before making the shorter journey to Torridon for the next day’s Burns supper bothy visit. The lashing rain and dark winters night made for a hairy ride over the twisty single track roads of the Applecross Pass – the Bealach na Bà  – which rises steeply up to 626 metres above sea level. We quickly parked the cars along the road and headed to the pub to order before the kitchen closed.

The first convoy – me, Jamie, Sarah, Darren and his three legged dog Jim – tucked into the Applecross Inn’s finest scran whilst we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. With it being out of season the pub was much quieter than I’d seen it before. It made no difference. The locals and the bar staff soon made us feel welcome. Chris and Joe arrived later having ventured up from Edinburgh and we got stuck into cheese and biscuits with a dram or two or three (or four…). We had a brilliant night with some of the locals, who did little to encourage us to have a sensible evening ahead of our trek the next day.

The best-laid schemes o’mice an men

Waking up hungover in the back of a Landcruiser parked in the middle of nowhere is never the greatest experience. Waking up hungover in the back of a landcruiser parked in the middle of nowhere, knowing you have a lengthy hike ahead of you and another night of drams in a ramshackle bothy, is an experience reserved for the seventh circle of hell. We’d planned to leave early to meet Jamie’s brother over in Torridon, who was joining us on the Saturday, before making the hike across to the bothy. In the spirit of Burns, our best laid schemes went agley.

With the campsite being shut for the season we had parked up in a free carpark along the road from the pub. Complete with a toilet and showerblock it’s a great stopover and a credit to the community, who run and maintain it. It was a slow start to the day and we landed up leaving around noon, stopping at Lochcarron for a full breakfast. In the daylight the Applecross Pass was an incredible sight, opening up the vast Applecross Peninsula in front of us.

Burns Supper bothy adventure

We met Jamie’s brother Niall in Torridon and got changed to begin the hike out from Diabeg. The seven of us, and our three-legged dog Jim, made our way out to the bothy around 3pm.

From there it was all a bit of a disaster. What was meant to be a one and a half hour hike turned into a two and half hour hike. A mix of wrong turns and fuzzy heads saw us take the boggy route alongside the river instead of the planned coastal trail. Jim the three legged dog was having better luck than me in avoiding the knee deep bogs. We arrived at the bothy in the dark, ready to take off our soaking wet boots and enjoy our Burns Supper in front of the fire.

The Bothy was incredible. It’s one of the rare gems you find which has a living room, kitchen, bedrooms AND an actual bathroom. We were surprised to find we had the whole place to ourselves. The night was spent playing card games, telling stories and eating haggis neeps and tatties in front of the fire.

Reading the bothy book we learnt of an unlucky fisherman who’d been found by someone staying in the bothy. His boat had sunk off the coast. His lifejacket had then overinflated and exploded before he swam ashore with no life jacket and stumbled all the way up to the bothy. The guy had taken the fisherman in, warmed him up by the fire and gave him food. The next day the fisherman set off for Diabeg on his own. The record concluded with “I bid him farewell. I hope he’s alright.”

Maybe our hangovers weren’t that bad after all.

Coastal hikes

In the daylight the path out from the bothy was much easier to spot. Early on the Sunday morning we took a stroll along the beach a few minutes away. After washing the dishes, tidying up the bothy and sorting out the fire we set out determined to make up for the carry-on of the day before.

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Looking out on to the beach
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Niall’s find
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Derelict building
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Sarah didn’t enjoy emptying haggis down the toilet
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Beautiful art on the walls of the bothy
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Looking out into the rain
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Outside sink
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Getting ready to leave the bothy
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Bothy from a distance

The hike was a beautiful coastal tour,  made even more enjoyable by a natural path of Torridonian sandstone and views across to Skye.

The Mountain Bothies Association has loads of information on its website about bothies across Scotland and roughly where they can be found. For those who want the experience of a bothy without enduring a Munro, there are a million and one options to explore. We’re already planning our next adventure.

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Feeling breezier the next day
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Torridon coastal route

In the landcruiser before returning home

Scotland’s Bothy culture

“To maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places.”

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Bothy, Torridon

The Mountain Bothies Association is the shining example of volunteerism in Scotland. Since 1965, the membership-led charity has maintained over 100 small buildings scattered around the wildest parts of the country. The majority of the buildings are owned by the local estate, which the MBA agrees to maintain in exchange for its use by the public. A few have been bequeathed to the charity.

The upkeep of the buildings, from restoring floorboards to tiling roofs, is led by one or more Maintenance Organisers assigned to each bothy in the care of the MBA. Teams of volunteers work year-round to ensure that the buildings can continue to offer sanctuary to the bedraggled hill walker in need of a warm fire and a place to sleep for the night.

But bothies are much more than bricks and mortar. For those willing to make the effort to seek them out, bothies are places of community. Surfers and hillwalkers, cyclists and explorers, plumbers and tree surgeons and CEO’s of all ages and backgrounds are brought together under one roof by their common love of adventure. Stories and songs are shared, and adventures both perilous and fantastically ordinary are recorded in the Bothy Book (the written record left by visitors and kept in each bothy). The rich bothy culture, fuelled by a dram or two shared in front of a roaring fire, is a privilege envied by adventurers across the world.

The Bothy Code

Before your rose-tinted specs become too firmly attached, it’s worth making clear that bothies are about as far from luxury living as you’re going to get. If you’re lucky you might find that your bed is a raised platform next to the fire. But most of the time, you and the plumber and hillwalker and the surfer and the CEO will bed down in the same room wearing all of your layers to keep warm. The no-frills bothy exists, as the MBA’s mission statement neatly summarises: “to maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all those who love wild and lonely places.”

The founding principles of the Bothy Code (found here) are respect for the bothy and its surroundings. The privilege of Scotland’s mountain bothies continues to exist because of the volunteers and because of the respect given by those who visit them.

The recent BBC Two programme Bothy Life caused a bit of a stir for that reason. Rightly or wrongly, folk were concerned that such a public acknowledgement of Scotland’s bothies could lead to their demise. It is a sad reality that in the past bothies have been burned down, strewn with rubbish and left in a generally sorry state by a tiny minority of selfish idiots. But I’d like to have faith that they are the minority. The prospect of encouraging more people to explore Scotland’s beautiful outdoors is a reward worth pursuing. If donations to the MBA increase as a result, we can ensure that Scotland’s bothies can continue to thrive and indeed, save lives.

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Usinish MBA work party 2014 (Photo credits: MBA website)

Make it your own

If you spend an hour or two on Google you might just manage to locate a bothy. But what makes it such an exciting experience is that you have to find it for yourself.

For that reason, this blog will never name or give the exact location of any bothy. I only hope that the stories and the pictures might inspire one or two of you to go out and make it your own.

 

 

 

Meall Chuaich munro

Falling in love with winter walking

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It’s a tough life being a Munro. Towering over an impressive 3,000 feet (914metres) above sea level, the exclusive club of some 282 hills in Scotland still find themselves in competition to attain the prize of being the most loved or best known hill.

The judging criteria are wholly subjective. Buachaille Etive Mor and its almost perfect conical form make it one of the most recognisable in Scotland. Beinn Sgritheall, described by Sir Hugh Munro himself as “perhaps the most beautiful I have seen in Scotland”, enjoys awe-inspiring views across the west coast, where upon reaching its summit hill walkers are invited to gorge upon views of more than 100 named peaks. Ben Nevis has learnt quickly that it isn’t good enough simply being the tallest.

And so it was that when choosing my first winter walk, I was left feeling a bit lacklustre about Meall Chuaich. “Lumpy”, “boring” and “basic”, were some of the pronouncements given to the most northerly of three Munros on the east side of the A9 between Drumochter and Dalwhinnie. Being an inanimate object, these are criticisms which Meall Chuaich has to take on the chin and let its setting do the talking. Talk it did.

The hill of the Quaich (a shallow two-handled drinking bowl in Scotland, now better used as an award when a company doesn’t want to cough up for gift vouchers) can be found in the Drumochter range between the northern and southern central Highlands. We left early doors from Aberdeen to make the 2 hour drive to Dalwhinnie. The snow of the past week and our wee Volkswagen Polo made us decide to avoid the Lecht Pass altogether and approach the A9 from the Forfar end of the A90.

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Heading North on the A9 Drumochter Pass
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Layby 94 on the A9, North of Dalwhinnie

 

The drive alone justifies the early start. Trundling up towards the Pass of Drumochter, the scenery quickly turned white. The summit of the railway line which runs parallel to the A9 is the highest in the UK, peaking at 1480ft. We parked at Layby 94 just north of Dalwhinnie, leaving behind us the impressive Ben Alder range and another set of “need-to-do” hills added to the list.

There were already three or four cars parked in the lay-by when we arrived, indicating that we’d not be left to the same lonely hill walk we had on Kerloch. Me and Jamie quickly layered up and set off towards the gate marking the start of the track.

The path heads South East towards Loch Cuaich, where the muir-burning of the past seasons grouse shooting unfurls a patchwork quilt of heather and snow on the surrounding hills. After a short while we reached the aqueduct which eventually leads to the Cuaich hydro-electric power station.

 

We crossed the bridge over the aqueduct and past the power station with Meall Chuaich now in sight. The sun was beginning to punch through the morning’s cloud, with the silhouettes of Carn na caim and A’Bhuidheanach Bheag now visible on our left. We continued along the track, turning right towards the glen of Allt Coire Chuaich. A locked private bothy soon emerged, and with Loch Cuaich in sight, we crossed another bridge, taking a path which initially turns right before swooping off uphill towards Stac Meall Chuaich.

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Private Bothy at Allt Coire Chuaich 

 

Don’t be fooled by the distance or average time of this walk (14km, 4-5hours). The ascent was steep and continuous up towards the shoulder. What were once bogs and meandering streams down the face of the hills had been replaced by pockets of brittle ice. This half way house meant that we didn’t need our crampons, but more negotiation was needed up the steep path with just our boots.

With such a steep climb, the views quickly become more impressive.

We reached Stac Meall Cuaich just as the next front of snow moved in and decided to stop for a snack in the bothy bag in case conditions on the summit were too harsh.

 

The views around us were incredible. Navigating the deep snow and watching out for sheets of ice had turned a “lumpy”, “boring” and “basic” hill into what felt like an arctic expedition. Looking across the snow-covered plateau, I knew I’d caught the winter walking bug. You quickly forget the feelings of doom and misery from the ascent and just feel bloody proud.

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On the shoulder of Stac Meall Cuaich
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Two hillwalkers in the distance

From there we kept going eastwards towards the summit of Meall Chuaich. The visibility was poor, meaning we could only see the white snow and the white sky.

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Jamie on the Cairn

 

We returned by tracing our steps (and lazily the steps of others, confirming this regularly with our map).

On a boggy Autumn day, Meall Chuaich might very well be a boring hill. But so might Ben Nevis be when it’s teaming with tourists or any other Munro if the weather is a bit off.

The hills are what you make them. Meall Chuaich was an absolute cracker – and the perfect hill for anyone looking to start walking in winter.

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Sunday stroll up Kerloch

Jamie sets off
Path begins at car park just west of Knockburn Loch

New year, new adventures

After the gluttony of Christmas and New Year, me and Jamie thought it would be best to get back into the swing of things with an easier Sunday stroll.

So we chose Kerloch, the highest hill east of Clachnaben on Deeside. Following the recent floods in Aberdeenshire I’d half expected that to find ourselves ploughing through endless bogs, but the recent cold spate had firmed up the ground and treated us to some snow.

Beginning of walk
Wee pond on the way towards the forest

Other local hills such as Bennachie and Scolty enjoy far more fame than poor Kerloch, but I don’t understand why. If you’re looking a walk that won’t take all day but will get the heart racing, Kerloch is a steep unrelenting treat.

We parked at the car park along from Knockburn Loch. It’s not huge so get there early enough if you can.

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Obligatory selfie
Walk entry
The path soon donders up into the forest

I’m a big fan of forest walks. There’s something about the mix of Scots firs, the potential sightings of squirrels and deers, and the beautiful scenery that you just can’t get on vast heathery moorlands.

The trail starts of easy with a meandering walk towards the forest. We bumped into a couple of groups making their way back down but were surprised to make the rest of the walk without coming across a single soul.

Once you hop over the stile you keep on trucking along the path which gradually ascends towards what looks like an old hunting lodge.

“The Two Sheds” was sadly locked up. A nosey about the place uncovered what we thought might be a meat hanging shed, a shower (complete with a can of deodorant) and outdoor toilet. Envy set in as we spotted the chimney poking through the roof and dreamed about the joys of a dram in front of the wood burning stove. With views across lower Deeside, it’s a real shame the place isn’t open to the public.

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Jamie outside the Two Sheds
Meat hanger
50 shades of meat hanging?
Shower
Back to basics shower
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A toilet with a view!

We headed off up the hill expecting much more of the same meandering ascent. But after a turn off to the right where the path forks you’re in for a steep climb up through the forest. The port and cheese from Christmas caught up on us as we stopped talking (the tell-tale hill-walking sign of strength) and focussed on clambering over an uneven ground of rocks, water and ice.

From there its up, up and up. As we made our way out of the forest we knew we were about to  come into the heathery moorland which leads to the trig point. We ignored a path veering off to the left but my advice to you would be to take it! It’s a shortcut!

You’ll soon come to a cross-road which leads into the heather. Here you’ll need to turn right.

With the skies being misty and overcast our views were pretty poor, the clouds only opening briefly to reveal a mass of wind turbines below. Once Jamie had finished shouting about them (one of our classic hill-walking debates – we’re an exciting pair) we walked up towards the Cairn.

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Turn right at the cross-roads
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Walking up towards the Cairn
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Kerloch Trig point
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Jamie threatening to leave me in the shelter after our wind farm row

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The snow was easy over a foot deep on the trail up. I imagine in Spring the track could get pretty boggy so it’s worth taking your waterproofs.

To get back to the car park we retraced our steps, getting back to the car in about three hours all in all.

With plenty of time spent dawdling, Kerloch is the perfect Scottish Sunday stroll. We were home in plenty of time for a Sunday dinner and a well-deserved glass of wine!

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Home time in the Landcruiser

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Coming soon…Tartan adventures.

Tartan adventures

I’ve never blogged in my own capacity. In my professional life, I’ve made a good career out of writing for other people about professional things. In my personal life, my boyfriend, friends and me spend every spare minute we have going on adventures in our own back garden: Scotland.

We’re lucky to live here. This blog will be just a small window into the hills, trails, swims and wild campsites we get to explore along the way.

Until I get going, you might want to follow me on Instagram.