Hill: Cairn William
Date: Friday 22nd July 2016
Company: Myself, Becky and Cuillin
Distance: 9.8km, Ascent: 425m
Time: 2Hrs 50Mins

We decided to visit Aberdeen yesterday undertaking another Aberdeenshire Sub2000ft Marilyn en-route. I drove towards Pitfichie for an ascent of Cairn William.

My only previous ascent of Cairn William was in May 2010 which, according to my log, started from somewhere between Brankinentum and Pitmunie. On locating what I thought to be my previous starting point yesterday, we set off walking along a track but had to turn back as it was overgrown. We therefore got back into the car and set off driving around the hill in search of a more appopriate starting point. We found an excellent starting point near Ord Mill where there was room for parking and an excellent track from the outset.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

We had two options from the parking area, set off clockwise or anti-clockwise on the track skirting round Pitfichie hill. We decide to undertake a clockwise circuit.

Becky and Cuillin near the start of the track:

During the initial walk, we passed a lass walking a number of dogs and stopped briefly to get a photo looking down to Pitfichie Castle.

Pitfichie Castle and the River Don:

Pitfichie hill has numerous waymarked cycle tracks and today we met several mountain bikers making use of these tracks.

On the track skirting round Pitfichie Hill:

On reaching a track junction, with waymarker signs advertising a red mountain bike trail (13), we ascended the track to the col between Cairn William and Pitfichie hill.

On the track leading to the col between Cairn William and Pitfichie Hill:

During the ascent towards the col we had to stop for a good drink as it was quite warm.

Cairn William from the col:

From the col, we followed a narrow zig-zagging path up Cairn William. The zig-zags are somewhat excessive but worth following to avoid trudging through deep heather.

A wee rest before the final ascent:

There are great views towards Oxencraig, Millstone Hill and Mither Tap of Bennachie during the ascent/descent.

View towards Bennachie:



It didn't take long to reach the summit of Cairn William where we stopped to check out the views and take some photos. This was Becky's 49th Marilyn. She is therefore on target to reach her own goal of ascending 50 Marilyns before her tenth birthday. Thereafter, Becky is keen to focus on Munros instead of wee hills!

Becky approaching the summit:

At the summit of Cairn William:

After descending back to the col, we decided to continue our clockwise circuit of Pitfichie hill i.e. take a different track back to the car. There was no way I was going to try to keep up with Becky as she decided to do a bit of fellrunning!


During the final walk back, we met a couple with dogs and stopped to admire numerous small butterflies. We could also see plentiful ticks, sitting waiting in the long grass and bracken at the side of the tracks. Ticks seem to be very prevalent this year.

Looking back to Cairn William:

Becky's next mountains are likely to be Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain on a forthcoming trip to France with dad. Thereafter I am looking forward to doing a nice hill for Becky's 50th.