Sunday, October 10, 2010

Knock Hill

Stone by Stone
Knock Hill Summit

An interesting encounter on a local Marilyn..

During a trip to Portsoy, I decided to nip out and get up Knock Hill, a prominent Marilyn which lies beside Glenbarry, between Huntly and Portsoy. I parked up just past Swilebog (parking for 2 or 3 cars) and went through the gate onto the start of the path. After a few hundred metres, the woodland is left behind and you cross through a gate onto the open hillside.

A few minutes after starting onto the hillside I was passed by a hill-runner. Before I was 3/4 of the way to the top he had passed me on his descent. Here he is, with a view to the Moray Coast and Banff..

First Descent
His first of 4 trips up and down the hill during my visit.
The air quality was excellent and the views were expansive.

Durn Hill, Portsoy, Boyndie Windfarm, Banff and Macduff along the coast.

South East
South East To a distant Bennachie.

Summit Approach
A fence skirts the edge of the summit of Knock Hill.

After around 40 minutes, I was at the summit - all 430 metres of it. It's an unusual summit, with a trig point, cairn, memorial and stone circle, all surrounded by two arcs of peat hags.

Knock Hill Trig Point
Knock Hill Trig Point
I would be intrigued to find out more about this memorial. There seems to be no mention of it on line. Perhaps the information will have to come from someone with a local knowledge of the area. I did find a reference to a race from Cornhill to the summit but no mention of Martin James Gillies.

Martin James Gillies Memorial
Martin James Gillies Memorial
While I was on the summit taking photos, the hill runner appeared again. He dropped a stone onto the stone circle and then stopped at the trig point for a drink. I took the opportunity to speak to him and it transpired that the stone circle was all his work. He cycled from Banff regularly to train on Knock Hill and every time he summited he brought up a quartzite stone from the bottom. "Just for something to do" was his reason for the circle. Fair enough..

Stone by Stone
The stones are being brought up one at a time, several times a day by a hill runner while he trains.

Congested Summit
Three of the four summit additions.

I hung about on the summit, hoping to get a shot of him dropping a stone on his next ascent but there was a cold wind and little meaningful shelter on the top of the hill so I started my descent. The runner did another complete circuit while I was on my return journey and was just starting his fourth ascent by the time I got back to the car!

Approaching Weather
Dark clouds approach from the South West.