Duration: 3 hours.
Despite the proximity to rolling farmland, this feels like a real hill-walk, taking in pine forest, heather moorland and rocky granite tors. The initial ascent is fairly unrelenting, but the scenic rewards are soon manifested. On the way up to Oxen Craig there is an opportunity to visit the 19th C quarry at Little Oxen Craig, a rocky knuckle on the hillside where there is an information board and some abandoned examples of the granite lintels produced there. A road from the quarry was washed away in 1891 when a waterspout hit the hill. The partially dressed stones could not be removed and have remained ever since. Oxen Craig is the highest point of the Bennachie range and provides a fine viewpoint. The nearby tors of Craigshannoch, Mither Tap, Millstone Hill, and Watch Craig are prominent, and a viewfinder enables you to identify more distant visible summits. On a clear day you can readily pick out the following hill-tops: Clach na Ben; Mount Keen; Lochnagar; Morven; Ben An; Buck of Cabrach; Tap o’Noth; Ben Rinnes. From Oxen Craig we leave the popular and well-maintained route going east to the Mither Tap to instead go west to the summit of Watch Craig, about 1 km away. There are tremendous views from this top of the Don valley and the Vale of Alford. At the rocky top, carved into the bedrock, are the letters A, A, P, standing for Ardoyne, Auchindoir and Premnay, and referring to the land allocation to the three estates on the division of the commonty of Bennachie in 1859. The return route, between Hermit’s Seat and Hummell Craig provides ample opportunity to appreciate the rolling Garioch countryside below you.
Book recommendations for this region:
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Blister kit
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.