Just a short way from home, the Correen Hills give the opportunity for a variety of hillwaking routes with spacious views. This particular route doesn't start with much of a view except for ahead and astern though!
The morning was damp and misty with light rain, but it cleared to give quite pleasant conditions by lunchtime. The beauty of having this on the doorstep is that a hillwalking trip can be planned in a couple of minutes with little more effort than puttting a few bits in a rucsac and pulling on boots. I cheated a bit and got dropped off at the top of the Suie Hill road, meaning that the biggest ascent of the day was already done. A broad forest track heading west from the summit of the road is followed until it reaches a high point in the forest; then a much narrower and overgrown track leads gently uphill to emerge from the tree cover near to the summit of Badingair Hill.
A tiny pool nearby reflected the sky, but beneath the surface it was anything but still - tens of thousands of tiny Tadpoles newly emerged from spawn were crowding the edge of the water where it was slightly warmer.
The view to the north is largely dominated by the distinctive flattened cone of Tap o' Noth, the summit of which is a large hillfort. This view has been altered substantially by the erection of three 81 metre high wind turbines at Cairnmore above the village of Rhynie. Planning permission for a further five turbines has recently been refused. Many of the views from these hills are now altered by wind turbines - I was able to see four wind factories from this one viewpoint.
The walk southwest is on good ground for doing effortless distance, turf and cropped heather with a bit of a track. Brux Hill and Edinbanchory Hill rise barely 20 metres above the general level of the broad ridge so the views stay wide and spacious. Near to the point where the ridge arcs sharply to the southeast is a reminder that stamping a mark on the landscape is nothing new. A Victorian boundary marker, one of several along the ridge, is incised with a large letter D, probably denoting the Deskie estate boundary.
Looking across to the east the view was marked on an altogether grander scale, the gentle spurs radiating from the Correen Hills ridge forming a series of contasting colours, the bright burnt orange of the sunlit heather backed by the purple of the ridge in cloud shadow followed by the rich green of the forest near Suie Hill. Beyond is Bennachie, which is ever-present in this part of Aberdeenshire.
A herd of Red Deer were moving across the ground ahead of me, just visible in the heat haze shimmering off the ground in the spring sunshine. I continued southeast towards the highest point of the day; though the ascent wouldn't be at all hard going.....