Each year we organise a sponsored walk to support aid-projects for Tibetans. The proceeds typically are split 50/50 between a campaigning group, and a group offering support to Tibetans in need.
This was our 21st Walk. It was at Bennachie, and covered the four main peaks of this rock formation. Bennachie is a popular venue for walkers in the Aberdeenshire region, being a rocky outcrop standing on its own in the midst of flatter lands, hence with panoramic views in all directions.
The forecast on the Saturday evening was for extreme weather overnight and possibly extending into the next morning, and we were thus not too sure what to expect on the day.
Despite the rather dire weather forecasts of rain, and Bennachie shrouded in cloud as we arrived at the start point, the day turned out well. We had good views from the tops, and only a little light rain on the final top, Oxen Craig.
Sixteen of us started off, and we were joined en route by four late-comers. One of these had experienced transport difficulties, so he, plus dog, had walked from Old Aberdeen to the railway station, got a train to Insch, then walked to the starting point – a total distance of about 5 miles before even starting the walk proper! We were also accompanied by four dogs.
The path started off through the trees, and we took a slightly round-about route to ameliorate the initial steep ascent. When we got out of the trees we were delighted to find that the hill was now clear of cloud, and at the first top, Little Oxen Craig, we had beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. We had a coffee stop here, looking over at the remains of a granite quarry at the base of the crag. This had operated for about 40 years until 1891, specialising in the production of lintels, some of which were still scattered around.
The next top was Craigshannock, where we enjoyed a similar northward facing panorama, before continuing on to Mither Tap. We circled round to ascend on the Maiden Trail through the remnants of the impressive thick walls of a Pictish (400 – 800 AD) hill fort. We had our lunch stop sitting in a secluded grassy area, looking out towards Aberdeen - hoping that the rain clouds we could see there wouldn’t be coming towards us! Apparently there was torrential rain in Aberdeen, but we only got light rain towards our final – and highest - top Oxen Craig. Not much could be seen from the summit in the rain, so we hurried back down to the car park, and then to the near-by ‘Gaddies’ restaurant for tea, where we enjoyed a most friendly welcome, and delicious scones and cakes with our tea or coffee.
Thanks to all who took part, this annual event does raise quite a substantial sum for various needy Tibetan causes.
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