Ian and Steve went to Kinpurnie for this week’s training hike, as high winds forced a change to their original plans.

By Ian
2nd February 2022

The weekly walk was scheduled to take us to Dunsinane and Kings Seat. Wind speeds of over 40 miles an hour encouraged me to look for something slightly less exposed. I chose Balkello Woods to Kinpurnie and back.

Grant pulled out at 8:00am feeling unwell and citing strong winds. I rearranged meeting details with Steve. We met at Tesco at 10:00am and headed to Balkello Woods car park. It was quiet, the wind discouraging the casual walker, and only the dog walker vans were there in usual numbers. Boots on, we left the car park around 10:45am.

The route up

A brisk pace gently uphill through the trees soon brought us to the boundary fence and onto the path at the foot of Auchterhouse Hill.  The path was fairly dry evidencing the recent clement weather.

Our route took us to the west slopes of Auchterhouse Hill on main paths, then we departed onto trods through the bracken. Many of the trods evident on my last visit here have overgrown. That’s my excuse for ending up traipsing cross country over bracken and dried marshland. Fortunately we regained the intended path which took us across the open moorland to the tree line ahead.

The wind was buffeting us as we walked but it wasn’t as strong as the forecasts had suggested. It was sunny and the temperatures were higher than last week.

I first did this route last year and it exists only in my memory. This is my second excuse for missing a turn off from the main path. This misdirection turned out in our favour as we continued on a forestry track round the outside of a forest plantation, instead of the intended less defined tracks. After rounding a couple of bends we came across a fire break on our left and walked up it. There were a number of fallen trees in the forest and one across our path which we had to navigate round. The fire break brought us back to our intended route and we continued across a field with the trees on our right now. The field was very rough grazing pasture. It meant the walking was difficult, stressing ankles and knees and requiring care not to twist either.

At the end of the tree line we could see Kinpurnie Hill ahead. We walked on in the clear with the forest on our right, until after crossing a stile we headed up the steep grassy slope to the summit. As we proceeded up the hill the wind hit us more strongly. It was not an arduous climb, and with path all the way we soon reached the summit. Standing still was not possible in the strong gusts. 

At the summit

The views from Kinpurnie are usually spectacular. Over the vale of Strathmore to the Cairngorms to the north, the coast to the east, Dundee, the Tay and Fife to the south and standing out, Schiehallion, the fairy mountain to the west. Unfortuantely today the wind meant the more distant sights were obscured.

It was too windy to eat on the summit so we retraced our steps to shelter at lower levels before stopping for lunch. It was a brief stop to avoid getting too cold.

The return journey basically retraced our steps, apart from minor deviations as we corrected the errors on our outbound leg. As it transpires the errors made for an easier walk. As mentioned earlier the trods used last year have become overgrown and provide more a challenging walk than I remember.

We were soon back to Auchterhouse Hill. Walking over the uneven ground had taken its toll. Steve need a Compeed for a blister on his heel, and I needed some anti-inflammatories for my ankles which were giving me some discomfort.

It was another mile and a half back to the car. As we descended back towards the woods we saw the first walker of the day coming in the opposite direction.

We reached the car at around 2:50pm. A good walk, slightly more testing than the Paps, though of similar length.