Hill: Hunt Hill via Craig Maskeldie
Date: Friday 7th January 2011
Company: Just me
Time: 7 Hrs

On checking the MWIS forecast last night, the forecast for the East today looked seriously good: negligible wind, no precipitation, sunny, >90% chance of cloud-free Munros and superb air clarity. I therefore decided to stay East and head for Hunt Hill, my closest-to-home unclimbed Graham.

I set off from home at 4:20am to arrive at the car park at the end of Glenesk at Invermark about an hour before sunrise.

On arrival at the car park, the temperature was -9C and the car park and track were literally like a skating rink; crampons or ice skates essential. I opted for crampons.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

After trying and failing to get a decent photo of Venus, which seemed really bright this morning, I set off towards Invermark castle. I was impressed with the sparks coming from my crampons as I walked along the ice-coated tarmac track .

First light at Invermark:

After walking approximately 1.5km, I reached the near-end of Loch Lee. The surface of the loch was completely frozen.

Frozen Loch Lee:

About two-thirds of the way along the loch, I passed a wee boat house. There was an interesting crack in ice running the complete width of the loch. I wondered what had caused the crack - possibly water flowing into the loch beside the crack.

Boat house on Loch Lee:

As I approached the end of the loch, I was increasingly impressed with Craig Maskeldie. It is an awesome hill/crag.
It isn't a Graham, it isn't a Marilyn, it isn't even a HuMP. It is a Graham top of the Corbett Ben Tirran .

Craig Maskeldie from track:

Craig Maskeldie and Hunt Hill:

Craig Maskeldie:

On reaching Inchgrundle, after a quick check of the map, I crossed a small wooden bridge and began the ascent of the Shank of Inchgrundle. The other track from Inchgrundle takes you to Glen Clova.

Loch Lee from Shank of Inchgrundle:

The ascent of Shank of Inchgrundle was really enjoyable, a gradual ascent up crisp neve. About half-way up the Shank of Inchgrundle the sun appeared over the top of neighbouring Skuiley. Great to see the sun light up the mountains.

Sun appears above Skuiley:


I assume Craig Maskeldie has many rock and Winter climbing routes.

Carlochy below Craig Maskeldie:

Loch Lee from Shank of Inchgrundle (Mount Battock in distance):

Long shadow in first sunlight:

As I approached the top of the Shank of Inchgrundle, I got my first view of Mount Keen. It looked well-plastered in snow.

Mount Keen from Shank of Inchgrundle (zoomed):


Transport permitting, a walk from Glenesk to Glenmuick would be pretty-good. Was nice to see the cliffs of Lochnagar.

Lochnagar cliffs in distance, from summit of Cairn Lick:

Lochnagar cliffs (zoomed):

Hunt Hill from Craig Lick:

On reaching the summit of Craig Lick, which is also a Graham Top of the Corbett Ben Tirran, I made my way to the South Top of Craig Maskeldie.

Craig Maskeldie and distant Mount Keen from 683m South top:

Looking back:

Good views from the summit of Craig Maskeldie, definitely worth a visit!

Mount Keen from summit of Craig Maskeldie:

Loch Lee from summit of Craig Maskeldie:

From the summit of Craig Maskeldie, I made a diagonal descent towards the Falls of Damff and the bridge just beyond. I stopped directly opposite the falls to get a couple of photos. The falls were mostly frozen but with some water still flowing underneath the ice.

Falls of Damff:

Falls of Damff:

I crossed the wooden bridge beyond the falls and then made my way towards Hunt Hill. There were lots of snow-white hares on the hill but I was too slow to get photos of them.

Hunt Hill:

I ascended Hunt Hill sticking to neve wherever possible.

Final ascent to summit of Hunt Hill:

Craig Maskeldie from Hunt Hill:

Looking back from Hunt Hill:

I visited the summit of Hunt Hill (NO 38003 80525 – no feature) and the cairn which is about 100m away from the actual summit.

View from summit of Hunt Hill:

Lochnagar Cliffs from summit of Hunt Hill (zoomed):

From the summit of Hunt Hill, I descended NNE towards the Stables of Lee in Glen Lee. The descent was quite steep, sufficiently so that I got my ice axe out.

Descent to Glen Lee:

Deer on Hunt Hill:

After crossing a small burn via stepping-stones and then another burn via the bridge, I stopped at the Stables of Lee. Quite small and basic; probably still used as stables as there was hay inside.

Stables of Lee:

From the Stables of Lee, I followed the track heading back towards Loch Lee.

Glen Lee:

I also stopped for a quick look inside Johnny Gordon's bothy. I'd rather stay in the stables than use this bothy as it was not very nice inside.

Johnny Gordon's bothy:

Craig Maskeldie:

Craig Maskeldie and Hunt Hill:

Looking back to Hunt Hill:

The walk back alongside Loch Lee was a bit slow. Compeed is great stuff .

Looking back towards Shank of Inchgrundle:

On reaching the castle I stopped for a photo as it was too dark earlier in the day.

Invermark Castle:

I think Hunt Hill is a wee gem of a hill. Good start to the New Year, I hope to get many more nice days like this in 2011.