Date/TimeDate(s) - 25/10/2009
Walk DetailsPub Stop?: No O/S Map Sheet No.: 37 and 38 Grid Ref. Start: Grid Ref. Finish Walk (Miles): 12 Walk Hours: Bus Time to Walk: Bus Time from Walk: Departure time from walk:
The walk today follows two sections of the West Gordon Way from Suie Hill through Whitehaugh Forest and then on to Bennachie where it contours the ridge on the south side of the range before descending to Esson’s car park. The route is waymarked at intervals by wooden posts bearing a hexagonal ‘GW’ insignia.
The walk commences at the highest point of the road from Bridge of Alford to Clatt where there is a car park (NGR.547.232). Take the track on the east side of the road heading towards Suie Cairn and then proceed over the tops of Suie Hill (415m., 1361ft.), Black Hillock, and then Knock Saul (412m.,1351ft.). The track then leaves the trees near the 315m. spot height on the map and contours the south side of Satter Hill before descending to the B.992 Whitehouse/ Auchleven road below the Brindy Hill. Look for a marker post a little south of this point on the east side of the road and take the track past Towmill which climbs up round the north shoulder of Corrie Hill and then over Black Hill heading towards Hermit Seat. The track contours south of this latter top and round the south shoulder of Watch Craig to the dip between it and Oxen Craig (NGR.657.223).
At this point those wishing a high level route can leave the Way and climb north-eastwards to reach the summit of Oxen Craig (528m.,1732ft.) which is the highest point of the Bennachie range. A faint path then leaves the summit and heads across the intervening dip eastwards heading towards the prominent outcrop of the Mither Tap (518m.,1699ft.) from whence a steep descent eastwards leads directly to Esson’s car park (NGR.698.217).
The waymarked route, however, continues round the south shoulder of Oxen Craig to cross the Garbat Burn before descending through the trees towards a forest road at the location known as the Heather Brig (NGR.679.212). Do not take the forest road but pick up a waymarked path just before reaching it which heads eastwards through the trees on the north side of the Clachie Burn for about a mile before joining up with the path coming down from the Mither Tap. The combined track then descends from here to Esson’s car park where the bus will be waiting. (NGR.698.217).