Hills: Mount Blair and Duchray Hill
Date: Friday 21st August 2009
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 4Hrs 15Mins

Got up nice and early this morning, to check out the latest Met Office forecasts. The forecast for the Braemar area looked best so after throwing a few things in a rucksack I was off by 05:30. I arrived at Cray on the B951, by 08:00, where I parked beside the boarded-up church. We set off up Mount Blair through the gate across the road from Cray Church.

Looking back to Cray church and across to Duchray Hill:

The ascent of Mount Blair was straight-forward, basically just go up.

Duchray Hill across Mount Blair heather:

Glen Shee:

After circa 30 minutes we came to a cairn and a fence with barbed-wire.

Cairn en-route to Mount Blair:

We followed the fence until we come to a junction of fences where I was able to lift and throw Beinn over. We then continued to follow another fence to eventually reach the summit. There is also a fence at the summit between the Communications Tower and the Trig Point and Compass. Fortunately, Beinn was able to crawl under this fence. At the summit Beinn was looking a bit happy with himself so I knew he had something. He was carrying around a dead mouse in his mouth.

Beinn at very large summit cairn of Mount Blair:

Large summit compass:

Summit trig point and communications tower:

From the summit we descended via a wide-path leading down towards the high-point of the B951 (probably where most folk set off from).

Duchray hill from summit of Mount Blair:

However, we abandoned the path about half-way down as there were cattle and sheep further down. We made for the edge of the forest leading down to the B951. We crossed the road, went through another gate, and started towards Duchray Hill. The initial section alongside the forest is wet underfoot and involves going through very long grass (above waist-high in places).

Duchray hill from B951:

We followed the edge of the forest NNW then NE towards Cairn Derig.

Mount Blair from Duchray Hill:

We then followed the dry-stane dyke all the way to the summit.

Dyke up Duchray hill:

Looking back at ascent:

Following the dyke to the summit:

Wee rainbow over Glen Shee:

En-route to the summit, I am not sure whether we got the biggest surprise or the herd of stags got the biggest surprise as we came within 50 metres of each other. I am glad Beinn was on a lead!

Stag Party:

Escaping from Myself and Beinn:

The highest-point of the dyke would appear to be higher than the cairn. They are not far apart and it's worth visiting both for the views.

Mount Blair from Dyke high-point:

Glen Shee from summit cairn of Duchray hill:

We returned along the dyke until I decided to take a "short-cut" that wasn't. This probably added at least 20 minutes so I would recommend returning via the edge of the forest. Walking back along the road there was wild raspberries on one side and also what appeared to be wild gooseberries on the other side.

Wild gooseberries:

These are a great couple of hills (once you get past the initial long-grass). Great to get out in the sun.