Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 17 September 2018

Thursday 6 September - Tap o’ Noth 563m Marilyn

In July 1997 we escaped the worst weather we'd  had in the NW by going to Craigellachie in Moray. As well as climbing The Buck o' the Cabrach, Mither Tap and Bennachie, Tap o' Noth was on our list because Lynne wanted to see the the Iron Age hillfort, one of the largest in Scotland. That was not to be because the turn into the narrow road up to the small carpark at Brae of Scurdargue was too tight for our motorcaravan. Why we didn't park the van in Rhynie and walk from there remains a mystery.

Now, some twenty one years later we set off from Braemar for the fifty two mile trip to Rhynie and the Tap. The A97 is not a fast road but we were in no hurry and enjoyed the drive, the scenery being pleasant rather than remarkable. Using the car instead of the motorcaravan makes life easier on some of the narrower hill roads hereabouts.

It was dry and bright as we took the grassy track through farmland, but with darker skies to the north there was always a threat of showers we thought. It was easy going all the way and it took about forty minutes at a leisurely pace to the trig point.

The second highest in Scotland, the remains of this hillfort are impressive having been constructed of stone walls 6m thick and 3m high,vitrified in places. 
Unfortunately those darker skies mentioned earlier soon produced heavy rain so good photographs were well nigh impossible to take. On a clear day the views would be extensive, an information board just short of the top showing exactly what might be seen: the Cairngorms to the west, the Moray Firth, the North Sea at Aberdeen and the Angus Hills plus lots more. The outer circle on the board was 50km if I recall correctly.

Today we could see Morven, Mount Keen, Lochnagar, Bennachie, The Mither Tap and The Buck o' the Cabrach so we didn't do too badly.

We spent a fair time examining the walls - Lynne is fascinated by hillforts, standing stones and so forth. She should have been an archaeologist really.

Our plan for the day had included a walk out to Hill of Noth but it did not appeal in the grey conditions. Did the weather improve once we were off the hill? Of course it did, so we stopped off in Rhynie and had a look at the war memorial in the well kept village green. This is no tourist destination and given the mayhem being caused in the west by the appalling North Coast 500 I regard that as a big plus.


  1. Success with photographs - sort of.

  2. You have so much to go at over and above the popular Munros. The whole of that area of smaller hills labelled Blackwater Forest on the map looks appealing. I'm glad your hill fort lived up to its reputation; so many such items marked on the OS maps are more a figment of the imagination of the archaeologists with perhaps a couple of indeterminate wrinkles in the grass.

    1. Sir Hugh - all the small hills mentioned are worth doing although since we were last in the area many windfarms have appeared unfortunately. Even so, I think you’d enjoy them. I can’t comment on the availability of cafes though...

      We’ve had several days repeating the Munros here - some for the 7th time - but having posted about such ascents several times I decided that ‘enough was enough’ but I might do a summary post once home.

    2. I’ve enjoyed catching up, Gibson. I hope you continue to succeed with iPhone postings. With the Samsung phone I use, draft emails have a tendency to disappear (as did the first version of this comment) so I use Notepad to draft postings, then copy and paste into an email before adding the images.
      Have fun in Braemar...

  3. I’ve sometimes used Pages for drafts on the iPhone because the font size can be changed. I’ll be using it all the time now Martin!