Monday, July 18, 2011


Coiliochbhar Hill from Pressendye
Coiliochbhar Hill and Tap o' Noth from the slopes of Pressendye.

Another evening on the local hills..

I've been meaning to climb Pressendye for a long time now. It's the closest Graham to where I live (11km away) and now I had an opportunity to get up there. Rather than stick to the usual trade route from Tarland, I decided on an approach from the north. According to the map, there was a track which led from Balnakelly almost directly up to the summit.

On arrival at Balnakelly, it turned out to be a private steading with no public parking. I asked at the house if I could leave my car there for a short while and got permission from the owner. The end of the public road turns into a farm road for West Balnakelly and I walked down the hill and though the farmyard.

Farm road between Balnakelly and West Balnakelly.

West Balnakelly
West Balnakelly.

Once through the farmyard, there was an indistinct track that led downhill between two fields into the Glen of Cushnie and towards the forestry. I briefly spoke to the farmer in the field who suggested I was going the wrong way but I had seen a gate into the forestry and decided to press on. After falling in more than one ditch and crossing a barbed wire fence, I came to the Cushnie Burn which was forded via stepping stones. Over the burn, a gate led into thick dark forestry.

Glen of Cushnie I
Crossing Cushnie Burn.

Glen of Cushnie II
Across the stream, through the gate and into the forestry.

Once into the forest, the track curves to the right, then shortly afterwards to the left. After that, it takes a direct line up the hillside. Several forestry tracks appear at right angles as you progress but don't be distracted by them - continue upwards. The quality of the path varies, as can be seen in the photographs below. It's well used though, and there is evidence of horses (watch what you tread in!) - probably from the riding centre near Cushnie.

Hill Track I
Hill Track I.

Hill Track II
Hill Track II.

Eventually, you leave the trees behind and come to a recently cleared section. There's a new fence that needs stepped over and a gate at the other side of the cleared section. The path then curves round behind and above an old section of forestry before emerging onto the open hillside. The views behind start to open up.

Coiliochbhar Hill from Pressendye
Coiliochbhar Hill and Tap o' Noth from the slopes of Pressendye.

Open Hillside
Out of the forestry and onto the open hillside, approaching the summit of Pressendye.

Bennachie from Pressendye
Bennachie from Pressendye.

Here, the track towards Tarland direction cuts across the shoulder of the hill. There's a small path however which leads directly to the summit, between a line of grouse butts.

Grouse Butt
A row of Grouse Butts stretch across the hill. Bennachie in the distance.

From there, it's a short stroll to the summit. There's a large cairn containing a shelter and a trigpoint. One a clear day, I imagine that the view from the trigpoint down towards Royal Deeside would be magnificent. The cloud unfortunately was beginning to lower so no such views were to be had this evening. I sat in the shelter for around 15 minutes, hoping for a break in the cloud before sunset but I was not to be rewarded this evening.

Pressendye Summit I
Pressendye Summit I.

Pressendye Summit II
Pressendye Summit II.

I returned the way I had come, bemused to find the following sign on the back of the gate at Glen of Cushnie.

No Public Right of Way
An old sign on the back of the gate in the Glen of Cushnie.