Blue Hill, Clochandighter Hill, Boswell Monument

I headed out on a crisp perfect blue skied day to explore further beyond Brodie Wood, in particular I wanted to have a look at the Boswell Monument, a tower set on top of a hill to the South West of Aberdeen.

Gulls enjoying the Sun beside King George VI bridge

Gulls enjoying the Sun beside King George VI bridge

Duthie park was absolutely rammed, looked great with all the crocuses coming into bloom. Headed along the river towards Stonehaven Road

A deer feeding in fields near  Redcraigs

A deer feeding in fields near Redcraigs

Only 100m away from the frantic traffic on the a90 a deer is nibbling

Looking back to the view over Aberdeen

Looking back to the view over Aberdeen

Took a quick look back as I climb up to the South West

Pheasant in the field near the reservoir

Pheasant in the field near the reservoir

I approached Blue Hill from a lane to the South West – there’s only one barely visible gap in the dense gorse at the bottom. Probably better to approach from the East side

Top of Blue Hill

Top of Blue Hill

Big chunks of granite jut out out of the grass as you approach the top. I can see there is a cairn, that has had the top reformed and a pillar placed on top. Decent panoramic view to the North from the Blue Hill’s 135m elevation.

View from top of Blue Hill

View from top of Blue Hill

 

Zooming in to Aberdeen

Zooming in to Aberdeen

On the top of the pillar is a plaque with a guide to the surrounding sights, made by W. Anderson of Sunnybrae back in 1997.

Plaque on top of Blue Hill

Plaque on top of Blue Hill

Heading down of the hill there’s a trail heading roughly South. It doesn’t look like it’s had any use any time recently.

Heading South from Blue Hill

Heading South from Blue Hill

It branches off in various directions at a crossroads, South and East both blocked by tree falls.

Tree falls blocking trails

Tree falls blocking trails

Not sure why anybody built a little tower for ‘authorised personnel only’, doesn’t look like it’s been used in a very long time.

Not many authorized personnel passing this way

Not many authorized personnel passing this way

The trail opens out into clearing. A small plantation of some type of broadleaf, too early in the year to see what they are. I need to brush up on my tree skills.

The trail opened out

The trail opened out

Back to another unused trail through dense plantation

Follow the wall

Follow the wall

Came to rock strewn clearing that was 100m from my trail onwards, surrounded by the most impenetrably dense plantation ever seen. Normally you can scrape through between the pines or firs, not here, only a rabbit could get through. My planned route had a gap showing on satellite view, a bit of searching found an old dyke with enough room to go through. Almost needed the bike light on it was so dark

Deep in the plantation

Emerged into the Sun just below the oddly named Drumth Whacket

Beautiful day back out in the sun

Beautiful day back out in the sun

Passing Hare Moss, was going to take a look but the car park was full – apparently the local RC aircraft club.

Jumping a locked gate I started up Clochandighter hill. An old sign indicates ‘shelter belt do not remove trees’

Leave our trees alone

Leave our trees alone

Climbing up I look across to the Boswell monument. I’d planned on accessing from the South but the terrain looks passable nearby

Looking across to Boswell tower

Looking across to Boswell tower

Climbing further up the track

Climbing up Clochandighter Hill

Climbing up Clochandighter Hill

At the top there is some water reservoir type works. This defunct tower was apparently a US Navy comms facility

Defunct US Navy tower

Defunct US Navy tower

Clochandighter hill is described on this site about the Portlethen area as “It is 545 feet above sea level, and is the second highest point in the triangle of ground of which Aberdeen, Stonehaven and Culter are the apical points, i.e. it is nearly the highest point in some forty square miles of country, and its nearness to the centre of this area gives it a common outlook.”  There’s also an old poem about some unlucky chap who has been dumped after getting too drunk.

There’s a nice view to the North

View to the North from Clochandighter

View to the North from Clochandighter

The view towards Portlethen isn’t great. Industry intrudes into fields. I didn’t realise at the time, but it’d prove a barrier on the way home

View from Clochandighter to the South East

View from Clochandighter to the South East

To the North the ring road works cut a swathe through the countryside. There’s some idyllic home owners that must be less than pleased that the motorway is coming to break their quiet and pollute their pristine air. I noticed a few for sale signs

View of ring road construction  from Clochandighter

View of ring road construction from Clochandighter

The view West. There’s a couple of trails descending off road. Looks like there may be a trail circling the hill, but a brief explore along one path fizzled out. Headed down this descent over the roots and stumps. At the bottom there’s a path which becomes barely passable on bike

View West from Clochandighter

View West from Clochandighter

Leads counter clockwise round the hill to Clochandighter quarry, which is frozen in the shade. Gorse and dense undergrowth make it hard to get close. Be careful if you visit as it’s a steep drop and a deep pool. Put the camera on an extension pole to grab this snap. They’re made for ‘selfies’ but you can attach a cmaera and are useful for adding a bit of elevation to a view

Clochandighter quarry

Clochandighter quarry

A brief exploration around the side of the quarry, then off to the hill of Auchlee

Tree by Clochandighter quarry

Tree by Clochandighter quarry

There’s no apparent path anywhere to the top. I crossed an empty field then hike-a-biked across another that had a grand crop of boulders. If you don’t want to cross a farmer’s field you can climb up the South side which is only moor.

Rocks below Hill of Auchlee

Rocks below Hill of Auchlee

Reached the brow of the Hill of Auchlee, target in sight

Over the Brow of Hill of Auchlee

Over the Brow of Hill of Auchlee

A few trees thin out to moorland and some shrubs. This old tree wreck stood alone

 

The monument in the distance

The monument in the distance

Looking back across the moorland

Moorland at the top of Hill of Auchlee

Moorland at the top of Hill of Auchlee

The sun was getting low so hustled on dragging the bike over the clumpy terrain

Sun setting over a windswept tree

Sun setting over a windswept tree

Parked up to inspect Boswell’s monument. The tower originally had a full crown at the top with a cross, which persisted until the 1980s, but now only a couple spars remain.

Boswell was reknowned for improving the estate land in the surrounding area (e.g. making it useful for agriculture by draining, clearing etc)

Parking up the bike to take a closer look

Parking up the bike to take a closer look

A more detailed history of Boswell and transcription of the memorial plaque can be found here

Plaque on the Boswell monument

Plaque on the Boswell monument

The door has fallen off so you can look inside

Taking a look inside

Taking a look inside

There are stairs head up and seem pretty solid

Stairs going up seem solid enough

Stairs going up seem solid enough

 

View out of a window

View out of a window

 

View looking up

View looking up

The stairs don’t continue all the way to the top. I imagine there would have been a wood floor below the crown and a ladder up originally.

Climbing back down, glad I had the bike light

Climbing back down, glad I had the bike light

 

Sunset Boswell Monument

Sunset Boswell Monument

Looking West as the sun begins to set

Time to grab the bike and head down

Time to grab the bike and head down

Tiny on the horizon, I zoomed in on the camera to take a look at the wind farm

Meikle Carewe wind farm away in the distance

Meikle Carewe wind farm away in the distance

The planned route back skirted an industrial park.

Deer beside Cairnwell hill

Deer beside Cairnwell hill

The path however couldn’t progress North because of high fences, a gully and a stream. I plodded onwards skirting a wood /marsh that I didn’t fancy going through in the dark

Sight the tower again

Sight the tower again

Came across this odd stone marked with a ‘K’ set into an alcove in a drystane dyke, while tramping through fields in the dark. I’ll have to have a look on http://otheraberdeen.blogspot.co.uk/ to see if any of their encyclopaedic articles on boundary stones mention it.

Unusual stone set into drystane dyke

Unusual stone set into drystane dyke

To view a map of all 3 locations click here

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