It was a dank dark Sunday morning as the
minibus hurtled round and out of Aberdeen catching the pickees-up
at Bucksburn and Blackburn slightly on the hop but without
Nevertheless, 15 souls (including those of
3 newcomers and that of Harvey the Dog, on his first trip)
safely reached the car park east of Ben Rinnes, where a little
snow lay on the ground as we started up the path.
Heavy cloud hung about, but there was a bit
of a view for the first rise, one of many, viz. Round Hill,
Roy’s Hill, Black Banks, Scurran of Lochterlandloch, en route to
the summit, and afterwards Scurran of Morinsh, Cairn Mulgainish,
Hill of Knocknashalg, Cairnnacay, Hill of Deskie – Ben Rinnes
certainly makes the most of its features! On the flat above
Roy’s Hill, we negotiated the first of several gates consisting
of two bent metal posts connected to uprights by chains.
Then it was up into the mirk on a
much-improved path, with increasing wind from the northeast and
snow underfoot. Near the top, the owner of an earlier-parked
landrover loomed up with dog, and warned us of severe conditions
near the summit – 50 mph wind, visibility 5 meters, path lost
under snow, etc. He was informed that we were the Cairngorm
Club, and feared no such conditions.
Onwards and upwards
Eventually, the summit rocks loomed up,
were quickly surmounted and as quickly abandoned in a search for
a bit of shelter from the spindrift.
Summit trig point
Just another Sunday afternoon !!
Nothing very satisfactory was discovered,
even to leeward, but an eight-person shelter created a haven of
(relative) peace and calm in which coffee etc. could be
partaken. At this point, Colin and Fiona turned back for the
(nasty) descent to the minibus, picking up Kris en route, while
the rest of us proceeded in a north-westerly, then westerly,
direction, guided by Judy’s map and compass and Alex’s
Leaving the summit
Sure enough, the Scurran of Morinsh
appeared dead ahead, though again offering little shelter except
for a young Scots pine cowering in a nook. So we headed
south-westerly down the increasingly heathery ridge until
something of a view over to the Cromdale hills (and windfarm)
emerged on the Hill of Knocknashalg. So we stopped to have lunch
(especially Harvey) in the doubtful shelter of a peat-hag but
with the very welcome surprise of seasonal mince pies and
something warming (in more senses than one) from Derek’s huge
Where are we?
Then it was more poor ground on the descent
to the landrover track near (the non-existent) Corrour, where we
headed north-west until we doubled back on the Speyside Way at
The Speyside Way
This turned out not to be a Council-paved
thoroughfare but rather a couple of stone-and puddle runnels
through rank heather, with the odd post here and there, but it
did lead via a long uphill slog in no-vis conditions and then
various twists and turns to overlook Glen Livet, with a fine
sub-Turneresque sunset ahead of us up Strath Avon.
Strath Avon sunset
And so down fields via more of the strange
gates (and slippery stiles), to meet the minibus around 4pm at
the Glenlivet village hall, with its toilets.
The return home was broken with a stop at
Keith, where the inviting tea shop was (naturally) closing and
the two pubs offered a revealing insight into the social habits
of rural Aberdeenshire on a bleak Sunday afternoon.
So to Aberdeen, after a
longer-than-expected walk but a satisfying day. Many thanks to
Colin for the driving, and to Judy for her guidance on the hill.