Hill: Hunt Hill via Craig Maskeldie
Date: Friday 7th January 2011
Company: Just me
Time: 7 Hrs
On checking the MWIS forecast last night, the forecast for the East today
looked seriously good: negligible wind, no precipitation, sunny, >90% chance of
cloud-free Munros and superb air clarity. I therefore decided to stay East and
head for Hunt Hill, my closest-to-home unclimbed Graham.
I set off from home at 4:20am to arrive at the car park at the end of Glenesk
at Invermark about an hour before sunrise.
On arrival at the car park, the temperature was -9C and the car park and track
were literally like a skating rink; crampons or ice skates essential. I opted
After trying and failing to get a decent photo of Venus, which seemed really bright this morning, I set off towards Invermark
castle. I was impressed with the sparks coming from my
crampons as I walked along the ice-coated tarmac track
First light at Invermark:
After walking approximately 1.5km, I reached the near-end of Loch Lee. The surface of the loch was completely frozen.
Frozen Loch Lee:
About two-thirds of the way along the loch, I passed a wee boat house. There
was an interesting crack in ice running the complete width of the loch. I
wondered what had caused the crack - possibly water flowing into the loch
beside the crack.
Boat house on Loch Lee:
As I approached the end of the loch, I was increasingly impressed with Craig Maskeldie.
It is an awesome hill/crag.
It isn't a Graham, it isn't a Marilyn, it isn't even a HuMP. It is a Graham top of the Corbett Ben Tirran
Craig Maskeldie from track:
Craig Maskeldie and Hunt Hill:
On reaching Inchgrundle, after a quick check of the map, I crossed a small wooden bridge and began the ascent of the Shank of Inchgrundle. The other track from Inchgrundle takes you to Glen Clova.
Loch Lee from Shank of Inchgrundle:
The ascent of Shank of Inchgrundle was really enjoyable, a gradual ascent up crisp neve.
About half-way up the Shank of Inchgrundle the sun appeared over the top of neighbouring Skuiley. Great to see the sun light up the mountains.
Sun appears above Skuiley:
I assume Craig Maskeldie has many rock and Winter climbing routes.
Carlochy below Craig Maskeldie:
Loch Lee from Shank of Inchgrundle (Mount Battock in distance):
Long shadow in first sunlight:
As I approached the top of the Shank of Inchgrundle, I got my first view of Mount Keen. It looked well-plastered in snow.
Mount Keen from Shank of Inchgrundle (zoomed):
Transport permitting, a walk from Glenesk to Glenmuick would be pretty-good. Was nice to see the cliffs of Lochnagar.
Lochnagar cliffs in distance, from summit of Cairn Lick:
Lochnagar cliffs (zoomed):
Hunt Hill from Craig Lick:
On reaching the summit of Craig Lick, which is also a Graham Top of the Corbett Ben Tirran, I made my way to the South Top of Craig Maskeldie.
Craig Maskeldie and distant Mount Keen from 683m South top:
Good views from the summit of Craig Maskeldie, definitely worth a visit!
Mount Keen from summit of Craig Maskeldie:
Loch Lee from summit of Craig Maskeldie:
From the summit of Craig Maskeldie, I made a diagonal descent towards the Falls of Damff and the bridge just beyond.
I stopped directly opposite the falls to get a couple of photos.
The falls were mostly frozen but with some water still flowing underneath the ice.
Falls of Damff:
Falls of Damff:
I crossed the wooden bridge beyond the falls and then made my way towards Hunt
Hill. There were lots of snow-white hares on the hill but I was too slow to get
photos of them.
I ascended Hunt Hill sticking to neve wherever possible.
Final ascent to summit of Hunt Hill:
Craig Maskeldie from Hunt Hill:
Looking back from Hunt Hill:
I visited the summit of Hunt Hill (NO 38003 80525 – no feature) and the cairn which is about 100m away from the actual summit.
View from summit of Hunt Hill:
Lochnagar Cliffs from summit of Hunt Hill (zoomed):
From the summit of Hunt Hill, I descended NNE towards the Stables of Lee in Glen Lee. The descent was quite steep, sufficiently so that I got my ice axe out.
Descent to Glen Lee:
Deer on Hunt Hill:
After crossing a small burn via stepping-stones and then another burn via the bridge, I stopped at the Stables of Lee. Quite small and basic;
probably still used as stables as there was hay inside.
Stables of Lee:
From the Stables of Lee, I followed the track heading back towards Loch Lee.
I also stopped for a quick look inside Johnny Gordon's bothy. I'd rather stay in the stables than use this bothy
as it was not very nice inside.
Johnny Gordon's bothy:
Craig Maskeldie and Hunt Hill:
Looking back to Hunt Hill:
The walk back alongside Loch Lee was a bit slow. Compeed is great stuff
Looking back towards Shank of Inchgrundle:
On reaching the castle I stopped for a photo as it was too dark earlier in the day.
I think Hunt Hill is a wee gem of a hill. Good start to the New Year, I hope
to get many more nice days like this in 2011.