Hill: Coiliochbhar Hill (nr. Alford)
Date: Friday 14th May 2010
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 1Hr 30Mins

Parked at NJ499137, where there is room for a few cars.

After passing through the first gate, we followed a grassy track through a field. Beinn had to stay on his lead as there were lots of sheep and young lambs. At the end of the first field we passed through a second gate into a second grassy field.

Initial ascent through field:

A third gate, at the edge of a felled forest with newly planted trees, was tied securely shut with several ropes and knots. I climbed over it and Beinn managed underneath it.

Coiliochbhar hill:

After passing the forest, we followed a good track until reaching the edge of the next forest, just below the summit.

Track ascending Coiliochbhar hill:

Lord Arthur’s Hill (zoomed):

Looking towards Ben Avon:

I think it would be possible to skirt the forest near the summit to reach the summit cairn. I didn’t want to lose height by skirting the forest, I therefore passed through it. There is a fence through the forest that can be followed to the summit.

Entering the small forest near the summit:

Tap O’Noth from summit of Coiliochbhar hill:

We returned to the car via the same route.

Hill: Cairn William (nr. Monymusk)
Date: Friday 14th May 2010
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 2Hr 20Mins

My original intention was to start from Pitfichie Castle, however, on driving further along the road towards Tillyfourie, I found a small parking area between Brankinentum and Pitmunie - room for several cars.

I have included information on the cycle routes below. There are numbered marker posts on the tracks at the points shown on the map.

Cycle routes:

Parking area:

From the parking area, I followed a rough path for about 750m leading to the cycle track between “5” and “13”.

Path from parking area leading to cycle tracks:

There is a tall lone tree at the end of the path, which is a good marker for the path leading back to the car.

Lone tree:

The final section of the path is a bit muddy.

Muddy feet:

The cycle tracks are used for horse-riding as well as cycling. I didn’t see anyone on bikes but was passed by a fine-looking lassie on a fine-looking horse.

On cycle track:

After a kilometre or so, I was confronted with a number of “health & safety” signs, to paraphrase “No entry, turn back, tree felling going on”. Was I going to turn back? Not bloomin’ likely! I then passed along a section of track with the largest number of felled trees I have ever seen. The following photo shows only a small fraction of the number of felled trees. The forest has been completed devastated and continues to be devastated as the Forestry Commission are still felling. I found it quite sad.

Tree felling:

I then took a right turn onto the cycle track leading towards “16”. There was another sign advising that this section of cycle track was closed due to problems arising from the severe winter. I could see nothing whatsoever wrong with the track so I reckon it is probably closed due to the nearby felling. On reaching the “16” marker, I took a small very well-constructed path leading to the summit of Cairn William.

Path from “16” towards summit of Cairn William:

View from path:

Looking back to massive log stacks:

Was nice to see Clachnaben in the distance. Hoping to re-ascend it on Sunday.

Distant Clachnaben:

The views from the summit were pretty good. Lots of local hills on view including Clachnaben, Tap O’Noth, Brimmond Hill, The Buck, Millstone hill and most prominent Bennachie.

Kemnay (zoomed):

Beinn on granite slab:

Mither Tap (Bennachie) from summit of Cairn William:


Pitfichie hill from Cairn William:

Mither Tap and Millstone hill (zoomed):

From the summit of Cairn William, I descended towards “17”. It would have taken me all day to follow the zig-zagging Devils’ Staircase path, I therefore just took a direct line down the hill through thigh-deep heather. I then took a brief detour to the summit of Pitfichie hill.

Health & Safety eyesore just below summit of Pitfichie hill:

Looking back to Cairn William from Pitfichie hill:

From the summit of Pitfichie hill, I returned to “17”, descended via a good cycle track to “13” and then back as far as the “lone tree” before taking the rough path back to the car.