Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Author: Fhithich

  • The Queen’s View — Fact or Fiction?

    The Queen’s View — Fact or Fiction?

    A panorama unfolds from the Queen’s View, revealing the distant Grampian Mountains, with Lochnagar and Morven distinctly towering above the horizon. Curiously, the information board at the viewpoint remains silent on whether Queen Victoria ever actually beheld this scene or remarked upon its beauty. The view extends over the broad expanse of Cromar, a region…

  • From Mither Tap to Oxen Craig: Bennachie’s Story

    From Mither Tap to Oxen Craig: Bennachie’s Story

    Bennachie stands as an icon to the people of Peterhead and Aberdeen, much as Roseberry Topping is revered by the citizens of Teesside. It is actually a range of hills, with Oxen Craig reaching a height of 528 metres. Though modest in elevation compared to other Scottish peaks, Bennachie’s isolation and the flatness of the…

  • Burn o’Vat

    Burn o’Vat

    As the world grew warmer at the close of the last Ice Age, powerful rivers coursed beneath the melting glaciers. Boulders and gravel tumbled along these currents, scouring the riverbed with relentless force. The water, under immense pressure, surged through fissures in the harder rock, forming powerful whirlpools akin to a giant plughole. Over centuries,…

  • Tap o’Noth

    Tap o’Noth

    Yesterday we climbed to the highest hillfort in Scotland, Ben Griam Beg. Today we ascended to the second highest, Tap o’Noth, on the edge of the Grampians. Here the similarities end. Least of all the weather. Though the hillfort was first excavated in the 19th century, archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen have recently uncovered…

  • Ben Griam Beg

    Ben Griam Beg

    Ben Griam Beg and Ben Griam Mòr, though neither Munros nor Corbetts, are distinguished by their remoteness and prominence in the flat expanse of the “Flow Country.” This view is taken from Ben Griam Beg — “little dark hill” — looking towards its taller sibling, Ben Griam Mòr — “big dark hill” — which surpasses…

  • Ruins of a Sweep Net Salmon Fishery

    Ruins of a Sweep Net Salmon Fishery

    Another unexpected gem discovered on our daily exercise is the remains of a Sweep Net Fishery station. The site, nestled at the mouth of the River Naver, boasts an ice house, a ruined dwelling, and a storehouse. The structures date from around 1811, coinciding with the Clearances, though salmon fishing here has been documented since…

  • Baile Mhargait

    Baile Mhargait

    As I cycled the steep climb into Bettyhill, my mind drifted back to our recent walk from Torrisdale, skirting the coast of Druim Chuibhe to Baile Mhargait, or Margaret’s Town. This region, as the map reveals, is abundant in prehistoric features. I stopped to take this photo. On that walk, we found a large gravelly…

  • Ruins on the Promontory: Borve Castle

    Ruins on the Promontory: Borve Castle

    Borve Castle, a relic of medieval intrigue, draws attention today with its storied past. Tradition holds that it was built by Torquill, a Norwegian, and later became the residence of the MacKays of Farr. The castle met its fate in 1544, 1565, or 1655—dates vary—when it was besieged and demolished by the Earl of Sutherland.…

  • Kirtomy Bay

    Kirtomy Bay

    In a stretch of coast with no natural ports of refuge, this harbour, the most quaint imaginable, is accessible by a zigzag path descending the steep cliffs from the landside, and from the sea through a narrow channel in the rocky reefs, which looks easily navigable at low tide and in calm seas. In 1910,…

  • Caisteal a’ Bharraich

    Caisteal a’ Bharraich

    Castle Varrich is steeped in enigma. Was it the ‘Beruvik‘ where Thorfinn waged a sea battle in the eleventh century; a residence of medieval bishops; an early stronghold of the Mackays; or a reconstruction on much older foundations? This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the imposing wooded rock on which Varrich stands…