Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Scolty Hill & the Burnett Monument

Friday 17th February,

There was a certain amount of deja vue at the start of this walk. Last week we'd gone to Hill of Rowan so that we could visit a monument we had driven past many times. So this week we decided that, since Mo was still feeling good, we'd do the same again by climbing Scolty Hill and visiting the Burnett Monument. We'd tried this once before, on a Saturday, and hadn't been able to find a parking space in the car park! Being the anti-social pair that we are, we left and found somewhere less busy to visit.

Our goal for the day
We took the long way round to the start of the walk at Banchory so that I could photograph the goal for the day but we were still parked and booted by 10 o'clock. The car park this time was relatively quiet but I guess if we had been truly dedicated in our walking habits we would have parked in Banchory and walked from there. But let's face it if somebody's gone to the trouble of laying out and maintaining a car park it would be churlish not to use it.

Car park

The walk itself is, in the main, a typical forest walk along distinct and easy paths following the white waymarked trail, (well for most of the way anyway since we went walk about later). Once past the "planted" forest there's a steeper section up through some birch trees and a couple of very green holly trees. The path on this section was less well maintained but still very easy to follow. There's no navigation involved in this walk!

Easy paths


Uphill and muddy

The steady uphill pull slowly opened up the views over Banchory and Deeside and although breezy it was a pleasant walk. The tower finally showed itself through the last of the trees and is set in an area cleared of heather. There's a tirg point and a couple of cairns with directions and distances of hills and other landmarks, (do these things have a proper name?). The only problem with this type of information is that the game of arguing over what you can see loses a bit the fun!

First glimpse

The Burnett Memorial

What are these things called?

Banchory and the river Dee

The tower is a memorial to General William Burnett an officer in the British army in the late 18th century. He served in France and in South America as well as the West Indies where he was Commander of Forces. When he retired he acquired the Banchory Lodge estate which included Scolty Hill. All of this information, and more, came from one of the information boards dotted around the woods and paths. The tower itself has been refurbished on a few occasions, the latest being in 1992 on its 150th anniversary. Unlike a lot of these types of towers this one is open to the public and has a modern, and secure, spiral stair inside so we duly climbed the 100 or so stairs to the viewing platform but the safety barrier around the top made taking photos almost impossible. It was also windy and cold so we didn't linger and decided that photos from the base would need to do.

Looking east

Towards Clachnaben

From the top we continued to follow the waymarked trails down and around the flank of the hill until we came to an unnarmed path that looked more interesting and decided that we'd go exploring, (or get lost as Mo suggested would be a better description). We spent a couple of very pleasant hours wandering along forest tracks, firstly down towards Banchory then back up towards the tower before coming across waymarks and heading back to the car park.

Exploring or lost?

Looking back towards the Tower

Unmarked forest trails

This was an easy walk along good trails and could be comfortably completed - up to the tower and back - in a couple of hours. There's no navigation involved and a decent pair of walking shoes would be more than adequate. There are other trails, some marked some not, that can be explored if you wanted to extend the day a bit.

More Photos


  1. I have been up Scolty many times but never been to the monument. Again, a well written blog my friend!

    1. Thanks for looking in Ewan. I never really believed you when you said you read it!!.............J