Glen Effock to Glen Clova

Today is my first outing with Aberdeen Hillwalking club. They’ve got a really good website, you can book online and they do a wide range of walk styles; not always hills. They have a big coach so it’d be a rare trip there wouldn’t be room. Arriving at Glen Effock, there’s no hanging about; everyone is off like a shot; I’ll no doubt catch them as soon as there’s an incline.P1200505

Gleneffock bridge, 1887 wrought iron from Clutha Ironworks Glasgow

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Shetland pony

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Lapwings tootling and wailing about the fields

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Climbing up the first slopes of Cairn Caidloch, the Maule cairn becomes visible

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More bird life. The skies are whirring with plenty activity, but always hard to get shots against the sky. Thanks Oystercatcher for standing still

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The crags of Easter and Wester Cruys

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Zoomed in past a stacked cairn

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Zoomed in down to the Water of Lee valley

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The Maule cairn on Hill of Rowan

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Lapwing aloft

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Further up

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First peak of the day, Cairn Caidloch 647

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The water of Lee upstream

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More cairns

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There’s lots of cloudberries up here, not ripe yet though (they go orange)

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Trail heading towards Burnt Hill

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Rather than following the path North to Craig Turner which involved a fair chunk of descent to re-ascend, we decided to go cross-country at 615 towards Skuiley

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It’s heathery n haggy but reasonably easy going. Loads more cloudberries n wee flooers

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Looking North over a pool

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Mount Keen with a very visible track

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Blue skies but breezy

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A peep of Loch Lee in the valley below

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A quick spot of lunch sheltered from the prevailing wind slightly, before cresting Wester skuiley 736

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Looking back at the hags we have dodged in and out of

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Nice skies

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I imagine the other side will be quite busy today

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I go off route on a sortie to find some wreckage

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Not found, but worth the detour to get some views not afforded if you stick the path

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Massive shadows sweeping across the landscape, should have shot some time-lapse

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Another set of co-ords and no wreckage here either

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Big skies and rolling plains though

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A snipe I think?

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My stravaiging has uncovered an unmarked cairn / ruin North of the path. I rejoin the others on path shortly afterwards. They must think I’m a feil running hither and tither exploring on untrod ground when there’s a path to follow

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Wouldn’t take much to turn this into a stealth-bothy. Don’t think you can see it from the path

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Can’t have blue skies all day

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Putting on the waterproof jacket

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.. of course, this tempts the sun back out

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This pond is popular with the locals

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Think we’ve reached the highest point at about 850. Better shot of a snipe

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To the South layers of mist and haze

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Golden plover peeps ‘me me me’ photo too plz

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There ya go. Looking splendidly golden in the sun

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Drawing closer to Glen Clova

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First glimpse of the Craigs of Loch Brandy

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There’s a pale gash in the cliff, not sure if this is recent landslide activity, or years, decades even

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A quick peek down the burn at the ford

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It’s banging down rain now and slippery so not going to get too close to the overhang

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Likewise along the ridge heading to the snub, staying well back from maybe-recent-landslidey edge

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Looking below to the Loch, you can see ‘the causeway’ it’s unclear whether this is purely geological (a “pro-glacial recessional moraine“?) or was some human endeavour of ancient times

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A great view

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The stairs down are rocky and steep. I doff my hat to the unknown labourers of old who hewed this out of the hillside

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A few minutes of careful step-picking later

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There are a couple auxiliary pools beside Loch Brandy

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Should have probably inspected it for a bit longer, or have kept a picnic snack for here. A lot of folk come up from Glen Clova here as there destination

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Final leg down to the awaiting bus in the glen

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I’m down well ahead of schedule. One of the party is well behind so like this swallow i’m going to have to wait and entertain myself

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Thankfully there’s a nice pub/hotel. The sheep being herded along the street look longingly across for a pint

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As the trip info on the website said ‘no pub stop’ I’ve only pocket change so after a pint and a slice of cake, I’m skint

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Take a wee wander down to the nearby burn. There’s an old kirk

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The River South Esk downstream

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Upstream looking further up the glen

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‘Rusticated red sandstone voussoirs’ apparently on the Gallows Knowe Bridge

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Tablet says 1898

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Better get back and not hold up proceedings. Past the kirk

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Sitting in the pub garden, watching swallows skimming the meadow. Essence of summer

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Locals have eyes on our crumbs

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Pounced within seconds of standing

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Don’t drink and fly little sparrow!

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Everybody now back on the bus, and on the road, past the distinctive shape of Airlie Monument

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