17/11/2013 – Mulloch, I said I’d never go back yet here I was standing next to the cairn again. It’s a great cairn but the view from it is even better. Morven just looks fantastic and glazing over Loch Kinord to the far hills is wonderful. Well worth the effort and it is an effort! One word – broom. It’s everywhere. We came from the SW last time but today was from the NE. There is a vague path if you can find it. We left the top to head SW down the hill. I was really pleased to see a lot of the broom had been burnt back on this side of the hill. Only problem now is that it had given a chance for the gorse to grow. A painful descent but some things are worth a little pain and this cairn is one of them.
Having managed - somehow, or other - to survive the night without a tree falling on my head, the arrival of dawn brings conflicting emotions... relief at still being in one piece after the storm, and regret at the leaving of Aberdeenshire for the much more brutal landscape of the Cairngorms. Jeez. Let's hope the weather improves a bit, then.
However the excellence of the Blue Cairn last evening persuades me that, perhaps, a encore upon Mulloch Hill would be a good idea prior to penetrating the fastness of The Highlands once again. I choose a different approach to The Drewbhoy... but then variety is supposedly the spice of life, is it not? At Dinnet, a small settlement astride the A93 west of Aboyne, the A97 heads north towards The Grampian Mountains. Take this and, a little before Ordie, follow a minor road to your right (east)... if you pass Monadavan Farm you're on the right track/road (delete as appropriate)... so carry on until, upon passing a right fork to Mullochdhu Farm, it should be possible to park upon the verge. Walk up the road, which terminates at Burnside Farm, and take the obvious track to the right, passing two drystone buildings, also on your right. One assumes the fallen tree blocking the track - no doubt a victim of last night's winds - will no longer be an issue.... judging by the sounds of a chainsaw heard later in the morning, that is. Then, just beyond the 'backdoor' to Mullochdhu - once again on the right - veer steeply to your left (this time) and ascend Mulloch Hill.
That's the theory, then. Trouble is there's a caveat... in that the traveller needs to locate a path literally hacked through the gigantic, mutant heather (at least that's what I think it is?) to stand any chance - at all - of reaching the summit from this direction. Seriously, the vegetation is otherwise impenetrable to these eyes.... not to mention shins. So, a seemingly simple, easy visit to a small hill turns into nothing of the sort. Consequently it's a relief to eventually see the cairn emerge upon the horizon... of another such monument, which (apparently) lies upon the western flank of the hill, there is no sign. Not surprised, to be honest. It's therefore a pleasure to report that Drewbhoy's estimation of the summit cairn is quite correct... it's a sizeable stone pile crowning an excellent viewpoint, the outlook particularly fine looking westwards towards the twin lochs Davan and Kinord (the latter with crannog) and the cairn crowned, high peak of Morven. Nice. Despite a shower front sweeping in, I reckon I ken why this hilltop was chosen as a suitable spot to send someone to eternity.
I've a bit less time than that, however... so... upon checking the map, head approx east towards the far side of the woods spied through the gloom. If my direction finding isn't that off kilter the reward should be another long cairn. Yeah, as Mr Cope (himself) once sang whilst careering around in that jeep... 'I long to accept my reward'. Da!da!dah! Da!da!dah!
After the disastrous attempt of last summer, hours and hours toiling away in hot conditions getting nowhere, an alternative route was required. Thelonius suggested an alternate route which I think I followed. (thank you)
Head east from Dinnet taking the first track north indicated St James. Follow the road until the track veers east towards the last house. This leads to the ruined farm of Knockenzie. By this time Mulloch Hill will have been passed so head north thru a field until the heather appears and head up hill. A path eventually appears which leads straight to the cairn, on the west of the hill.
This would have been perfect for the hillfort but the cairn has pride of place with tremendous views over to Loch Kinord and Morven, in fact good all round views. The cairn is some 15 meters in diameter and 1.4 meters high. Almost unbelievably easy after last years trials.
From here its a long walk east to take in several other cairns.
Antiquities. -- There is a hill in the parish of Aboyne, called Mullach's hill, in which there are a great number of cairns, said to be burial-places, after a great battle, in which one Mullach was killed.
As you'd expect really. From the first Statistical Account for Aboyne, of the 1790s. The second version likes to think Mullach was a Danish king or general, but calls it a 'confused tradition'. Actually 'Mullach' seems to mean the hilltop in Gaelic...