Our group of 16 travelled to Tarland in shared cars and met at the village square (NJ 480045). The weather was dry with good visibility and no frost but fresh SW winds were forecast for the tops.
The walk was a clockwise circular route from Tarland and the group set off around 9:30am. We headed NW from the village on tarmac road towards East Davoch then on track to the edge of a forest plantation before turning NE uphill to a gate where we entered the woods. The wind was starting to pick up so we took advantage of shelter at the edge of the woods for our first refreshment break. From this vantage point, we had fine views of the hills around Deeside with clear tops visible on Clachnaben, Mount Battock and Mount Keen although the tops of Lochnagar and Morven were in cloud.
After the break, we continued uphill on good track through the established forest then into a vast area of newly planted trees covering the flank of Broom Hill, enclosed by a new deer ,,fence. Our route joined a track heading ENE up the ridge to the summit of Broom Hill (576m) before dropping to a saddle just south of Humphrey's Well, then ascending again to the summit of Pressendye (NJ 490090, 619m). We had our lunch break in the shelter of the summit cairn with fine panoramic views across the Deeside hills to the south and the hills to the north, including The Buck, Tap o'Noth and the Bennachie range. The cloud had lifted revealing the summit of Morven although Lochnagar remained in cloud.
The return route headed SE down a steep flank on good track and into open woodland where we took a short detour to the viewpoint cairn on Pittenderich (NJ 496079, 508m). We then returned to the main track, descending though woods then open moorland, where we were rewarded with good views back towards Pressendye and across the farmland to Morven. The route skirted the woodland above Douneside, a country house retreat in the grounds of the MacRobert Estate and finally through an avenue of tall beech trees to join the road back to Tarland and finish our walk in the village square at 2:15pm.
This had been a fine walk to start off the New Year, covering some 16km with great views across Deeside and Donside although very little wildlife was visible, apart for some buzzards and geese. Our group stopped for refreshments at the Commercial Hotel in Tarland where we were joined by 4 members from the club who had done the shorter walk to Pittenderich. A great attendance from the Club and many thanks to all the drivers for providing transport.
Sunday Saunter, January 2020, Pittenderich
As far as I remember, the last time the Club did this walk was in December for a Christmas walk and the leaflet "Walks Around Tarland" is very useful for this route since not all the paths are marked on the OS map and the route taken is a mixture of different colour-coded routes. When we parked in Tarland, it was remarkably windy and colder than at home and we wondered if we were wearing sufficient warmth. We set off up the long drive to Allastrean House, turning left off the main track to stop briefly at a pleasant viewpoint with a seat before crossing the Queen's View Road and heading upwards past Cock Forest Lochan to enter the woods and our first real respite from the wind. We therefore had lunch here and continued up to the summit of 508m from which there was a good view and the sun was beginning to shine.