Culblean Hill

Today’s trip with the Marine Lab crew is to Culblean Hill, to the North East of Ballater.

P1140418

Heading in from the East through Auchnerran woods. This particular section has been earmarked for the chop, so this will be the first (and likely last) stroll through here presented as a nice bit of woodland, next time it’ll be forestry-nuked desolation.

P1140419

Somebody thought this was melting snow; ‘it’s life, Jim, but not as we know it’ – think this gloop is some type of jelly fungus

P1140422

 

P1140423

A blob of colour amongst the moss

P1140424

 

P1140425

Past Allalogie cottages, left to decay, kindling a flicker of Ruinenlust

P1140430

Old amongst the young

P1140433

 

P1140434

Green, silver and gold of autumn

P1140436

This silver birch is wearing a fancy hat

P1140439

Or is it a nose

P1140441

Out of the woods and across some farmland

P1140444

Lovely reds and oranges at this time of year

P1140445

Back through lichen festooned trees

P1140431

Autumn all around

P1140432

 

P1140451

Obligatory estate message to townies “we’re ruthless to nature other than the banker’s grouse, but it’s for their best, honest”

P1140455

Through the woods past Redburn

P1140458

Rusty things blend well with autumn colours

P1140460

 

P1140465

 

P1140466

 

P1140472

 

P1140475

Clearing the tree line can see it might be misty up top today

P1140476

A bonny wee burn down in the gulley, think there’d be a decent long-exposure photo down there but a bit steep wet and slippery for today

P1140478

 

P1140486

 

P1140487

 

P1140489

Unknown spikey thing on the path. A bit of googling later shows it might be a spiny puffball

P1140490

 

P1140491

 

P1140501

 

P1140502

Almost at the top

P1140503

Amongst the heather a contraption stands out. A few folk asked what it was – it’s a crow trap. They put live crows inside with food and water, the idea being it will attract others inside

P1140506

The trail has petered out as we make upwards to the wee cairn at 499m

P1140508

 

P1140511

There’s some slabs of granite here that make a good platform for a quick stop while the clouds scud by lower

P1140514

 

P1140519

A glimpse of Loch Kinord to the East

P1140521

Zoomed in, looks quite plush around the loch

P1140522

 

P1140523

 

P1140536

 

P1140541

Chilly winds up here, my old faithful Outdoor Research jacket is on, could have done with a 100gsm one today though

P1140554

There’s a few murky pools

P1140557

 

P1140558

And burned trees that were previously chopped down

P1140559

 

P1140560

Heading further East

P1140561

We reach the East most trig point as the furthest point of exploration on this hill

P1140579

However, if one continues Eastward for 100m to clear the curve of the top, one of the best views up here opens up with Loch Kinord in full view. I quickly yomp over to grab a few snaps

P1140577

A wee bit further

P1140572

You can see now also on the left, Loch Davan

P1140581

 

P1140584

 

P1140585

Telescoping in I think I can see a swan enjoying the tranquility of lower altitude

P1140587

On the left the iron age crannog. Behind it on the shore in amongst the trees, there’s a 9th century pictish cross slab

P1140589

Back the way we came, bit further onward to the main peak at 604m

P1140594

Avoiding the marshy bits

P1140596

 

P1140598

 

P1140601

Climbing up the side of the main peak

P1140602

 

P1140604

Bits of metal old and current

P1140605

Looking back to the loch

P1140606

Punk tree doesn’t want to blend in

P1140607

 

P1140608

 

P1140611

Following the rocky trail upwards

P1140613

 

P1140617

A wee cairn overlooking Ballater

P1140619

Bridge at Ballater, the fourth at the site, some of the previous having been swept away in floods

P1140620

Reached apogee

P1140628

 

P1140632

Heading back across the dour moorland

P1140633

 

P1140637

Looks kinda murky up there towards Morven and we abandon a section of the walk up there and begin to head back down

P1140640

Looking down to the farmland of the valley

P1140641

There’s loads of abandoned cottages down in the valley apparently

P1140642

Shame I’ve no wheels today to swoop through these bends

P1140646

Throughout the walk, pretty much every other stream and hollow has traps laid. The whole hill is jangling with the gamekeeper’s iron, never seen as much anywhere else, they really hate their predators up here. One wonders how much else goes on in the less accessible parts of the estate away from sight, and whether the regulated periodic trap checks, happen when they’re scattered everywhere far and wide

P1140649

 

P1140652

 

P1140656

Back at the Red Burn

P1140658

Past the ruins to end the day

P1140662

Leave a Reply