Somebody once wrote that "the past is another country". It's not of course! The past is the same country but it was just a while ago. Different times.
Been a few years now since me and Mrs HD climbed Auchterhouse Hill. She grew up at the bottom of the hill but the last of her family passed away a few years back and we no longer have anywhere to stop up here. However, delights like the Sidlaws keep boomeranging back into the mind and while on a wee holiday in Blairgowrie this week we decided to return via Auchterhouse and stretch our legs.
(Turn off the Newtyle Road for Kirkton of Auchterhouse, head past the phonebox and make your way up the long straight of Auchterhouse Brae. Keep going straight on till the houses run out and you come to a gate beside a forestry plantation on your right. Go through and follow the path. The hillfort summit is the one with trees on it.)
The walk up the actual hill is a leg-stretcher but only for about twenty minutes. The path is very good. Watch out for doggy-dirt on the first few hundred yards as locals walk their hounds here. Indeed, on a number of occasions in the early/ mid 1990's we met Dundee legend and Whippet-lover, the late great Mr MacKenzie walking his dugs here. The past eh? It's a different time zone...
The evolving views are massive. Far to the West the great pyramid of Schiehallion stands clear and proud. There is a panorama which takes in the Vale of Strathmore, the Highland Massif, Fife and the mighty Tay Estuary. We even picked out the spine of the Pentlands showing between the Lomond Hills in Fife (I'll bet Tinto might even be seen on a clearer day).
The hillfort's ramparts and ditches are still pretty intact, despite being in an area planted with a little forestry. At some places there were five ramparts and ditches. The deepest being about six feet from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the rampart. The defences around the North and West are fairly sheer natural rocky crags. Someone had placed some flowers on the remains of a cairn in the centre of the fort.
We were back down at the car in twenty minutes. A great wee climb and a welcome opportunity for us to visit the past, but in the present. Our nine and three-quarter year old had never been up before and he practically ran it up and down! Do this one if you are in the area, if its a nice day - take a picnic and take your time.