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.
Duthie park was absolutely rammed, looked great with all the crocuses coming into bloom. Headed along the river towards Stonehaven Road
Only 100m away from the frantic traffic on the a90 a deer is nibbling
Took a quick look back as I climb up to the South West
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
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.
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.
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.
It branches off in various directions at a crossroads, South and East both blocked by tree falls.
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.
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.
Back to another unused trail through dense plantation
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
Emerged into the Sun just below the oddly named Drumth Whacket
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’
Climbing up I look across to the Boswell monument. I’d planned on accessing from the South but the terrain looks passable nearby
Climbing further up the track
At the top there is some water reservoir type works. This defunct tower was apparently a US Navy comms facility
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
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
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
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
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
A brief exploration around the side of the quarry, then off to the hill of Auchlee
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.
Reached the brow of the Hill of Auchlee, target in sight
A few trees thin out to moorland and some shrubs. This old tree wreck stood alone
Looking back across the moorland
The sun was getting low so hustled on dragging the bike over the clumpy terrain
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)
A more detailed history of Boswell and transcription of the memorial plaque can be found here
The door has fallen off so you can look inside
There are stairs head up and seem pretty solid
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.
Looking West as the sun begins to set
Tiny on the horizon, I zoomed in on the camera to take a look at the wind farm
The planned route back skirted an industrial park.
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
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.
To view a map of all 3 locations click here