A First for Some

A posse of Brothers gathered for two major events in the past few days. The first was the Scotland-England rugby match at Murrayfield, and the second was the first group training hike of the year. Derek had travelled up from England for his first foray into the hills for 50 years. Would his knees cope?

By Ian
8th February 2022

After the excesses of the weekend (more of that elsewhere), The Brothers got down to the serious business of hillwalking; Sidlaw Hills walking to be precise. Six brothers were out; Billy, Doug, Derek, Steve, Grant and Ian.

The walk started with a group photo complete with our banner. The banner created some interest from a few walkers who wanted to know the background to what we are doing.

After the delivery of our kit over the weekend we also had the opportunity to show off the T shirts, hats and fleeces.

Auchterhouse Hill

It was approaching 11 am as we left the car park. A gentle stroll uphill through the trees towards the foot of Auchterhouse Hill. The weather was dry and bright, though there was a fairly steady westerly breeze. The forecast predicted sub-zero temperatures when the wind chill was taken into account.

We were well wrapped up and continued on the path which became increasingly steep. Derek had too many layers so we stopped while he sorted his wardrobe. Grant and Billy continued ahead as the rest of us took the opportunity to have a drink.

We were soon round the back of Auchterhouse and a path toward the summit appeared on our right. This was narrower and steeper than before and another rest and drink break was needed.

It was only another 10 minutes until we summited. A quick stop for photos and on we went.

Balkello Hill

It was descent followed by ascent to Balkello Hill and the Sid Scroggie memorial. 25 minutes later we were admiring views from the top.


The next target was Craigowl. The track down the fence to the gully between the two hills provided the only real test of this walk. It is steep, uneven and muddy. Walking poles were working overtime to keep us all upright. Derek slipped a couple of times getting used to the challenge of the track.

We were soon at the bottom and enjoying another drink and some home made chocolate cake provided by Doug’s wife Diane.

The final ascent takes about 20 minutes and includes climbing a stile just before the summit.

The wind was at its most biting so there was no tarrying atop Craigowl. We turned and as we descended we were walking directly into the wind.

The weather has been relatively dry of late so our descent was fairly uneventful until we reached the Balkello Woods path network. Here the path turned to slippery mud and poles again had to be deployed.

It was 1:40pm when we got back to the cars. Fist pumps all round then we headed to the nearby Pinecone Cafe to enjoy some lunch.

An enjoyable outing on the hills with six Brothers present. The training really has begun.

Special mention to Derek who coped very well today on his first hike in the hills.