Saturday, 28 January 2012
Local hills - Ben Newe
On a bright winter day with a cold northwesterly wind which was shrouding higher hills with cloud, Ben Newe seemed like it would give a pleasant half day walk. Sitting above the ruin of Glenbuchat Castle in Strathdon, it also promised some nice views over the Don. The direct ascent I estimated would take less than an hour, so I worked out a route to give a slightly longer walk with some variety.
The route goes from a forest car park just off the road through planted forest then out onto the open moor along a higher wood edge. The patchwork of light and shade was creating some really nice effects. One feature of this walk is that it is well sheltered from strong westerly wind apart from the very summit of the hill
The view north over Glenbuchat to the Buck o' the Cabrach which lies on the boundary of Speyside. There was still almost no snow about, this winter is certainly different from last. At least the colder condtions are turning the land the "proper" bleached winter shades rather than the green of a few weeks ago.
The summit of Ben Newe, like many other northeast hills, is a small tor. It's said to have a very ancient well at the summit area. Perhaps this pool in the summit rock is part of it as there is a channel leading from it and traces of an inscription in the rock next to it.
At 565 metres, Ben Newe is a small hill, but being reasonably isolated it does have good views, which is why it was used as a triangulation point for the Ordnance Survey.
As I wanted a longer route than just up and back down I descended south west on another of the waymarked paths - this one would lead down to a car park to the west of the hill. Initially through larch wood, the path meets a forest track which is blocked for a way be windblown trees brought down in December's storms. A bit of a detour soon had me at the minor road which joins the main Strathdon road at Coull of Newe.
Near the junction is a flour mill and this fine example of a typical stone built house in the Scottish vernacular style. The brightly painted windows and door stand out really well.
Leaving the road I wandered through woodland alongside the river Don to this road bridge.
The Don has it's source about twenty kilometres upstream from this point and eventually empties to the North Sea in Aberdeen, one of the granite city's two rivers.
A riverside path enabled me to keep off the road on the way back to complete a really enjoyable day - and just twenty minutes from home.