A short but quite demanding hill walk involving an initial ascent through pleasant woodland and farmland, becoming grass and heather hillside as you climb higher. The views at all stages of the walk are very good, with the panorama at the summit being especially satisfying.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport to this location. The parking area at the walk start/end point will take more than one vehicle.
Length: 6.090 km / 3.81 mi
Height Gain: 353 meter.
Height Loss: 353 meter.
Max Height: 530 meter.
Min Height: 197 meter.
Surface: Moderate. See Waypoint 1 for directions to walk starting point. Mostly on fairly good forestry and moorland land-rover tracks. The footpath diversion at Waypoints 6 and 7 is quite rough and overgrown in places.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent. This walk involves a considerable ascent over a fairly short distance.
Dog Friendly: Keep dogs on lead near to farm animals. The low fence to be crossed at Waypoint 7 has a gap that allows dogs to pass through.
Refreshments: Options in Alford (if open, during continuing Covid-19 pandemic).
This is a fairly straightforward “there and back” hill walk over a relatively short distance of 6km. The ascent to the summit at 533 m above sea level is on good tracks but is quite steep at times and is certainly unrelenting, so you should be prepared for the necessary level of physical exertion! Coiliochbhar Hill (also known as Callievar Hill and Coillebharr Hill) marks the western end of the Howe of Alford. The long ridge, heavily forested on the northern slopes, dominates the left-hand view on the A944 road west of Alford towards Mossat. The walk starts and ends in the Milltown of Kildrummy area, although on the opposite side of the River Don from the hamlet. As you start to gain height in the early stages of the walk there are wonderful views over farmland and the Don valley, with the “whale’s back” mass of Morven dominating the skyline. In the final section, making a direct ascent on a fairly steep heathery hillside, the views looking back to the southern and western perspective are increasingly wide-ranging, with the Cairngorm peaks prominent in the distance, as the Donside farmland falls away below you. Arriving at the obvious summit cairn there are tremendous views in all directions. Going clockwise from the northern aspect, notable hills to spot are: Tap o’Noth; Lord Arthur’s Hill; Manabattock; Knock Saul; the Bennachie range; the Menaway range; Hill of Fare; Clachnaben; Mount Battock and Mount Keen; Lochnagar; Morven; the Buck of Cabrach; Ben Rinnes. It’s an impressive panorama, so we recommend that you try to pick a clear day for undertaking the walk. Coiliochbhar, at 533 m high (1749 feet), is a “Marilyn” hill. Marilyns are defined as peaks with a prominence above 150 metres (490 feet). The name Marilyn was coined as a humorous contrast to the Munro classification of Scottish mountains above 3,000 feet (910 m), and makes a punning reference to the film actress Marilyn Monroe!