The Angry Corrie 11: Feb-Mar 1993

The Hills to the East of Aberdeen

In days of yore, before baggers had access to Butterfield, Bennet or Brown, everyone - absolutely everyone - read the octavo-size tomes of an ex-classical pianist given to climbing jaggy hills wearing jazzy makeup. In TAC 10 we wondered where all these ex-readers had vanished to. Well, at least in Robert Bradbury, we've found one...

The Hills to the East of Aberdeen by W.A.Plunger (being a distant cousin of the late mountain photographer, guidebook writer and author of The Scottish Peaks, W.A.Poucher)

Ben Bore - 3,843 feet

Stob Ninian - 3,821 feet

Climbers acquainted with these mighty-towered summits will agree they are unparalleled in all Britain. On departing the quaint fishing village of Aberdeen on your journey east down Glen Echofisc, you first skirt the massive bulk of their lofty sentinel Ben Piper, and then on reaching Loch Echofisc their tremendous towers burst into view, their tremendous western ramparts falling vertically and stretching as far as the eye can encompass. As you marvel opposite their Cyclopean masonry and Cycloneptunean pillars, on a clear sunny morning you will raise your eyes aloft and observe their glittering caps of titanium, often mistaken for snow and the crowning feature of their lofty architecture. The complete traverse of Ben Bore and Stob Ninian offers a magnificent excursion for the tough Climber, provided he be adequately equipped and suitably experienced, but save for the ascent of Ben Bore from Ben Bore Farm, their steely knife-edged ridges are fraught with difficulties and should be left severely alone by the ordinary pedestrian.

Lying directly beneath the tungsten-tumulted face of Stob Ninian, Echofisc Castle, the ancestral home of the Earls of Echofisc, stands suspended above Loch Echofisc on a gigantic platform supported by concretaceous columns rising from the Stygian depths of the loch. As a frequent visitor, I became well-acquainted with the seventh Earl and I have often been extended an invitation to occupy a suite in the castle's lower basement for the duration of my Climbing in the vicinity. For less fortunate climbers, the Echofisc Hotel provides satisfactory accommodation and has a unique reputation for the quality of its piscatorial cuisine, whilst the Youth Hostel at Lerwick in the north of the region is suitable for young climbers of more limited means. The intervening three hundred map-miles should not impose an insurmountable obstacle to the youthful enthusiast in fit condition.

Route 75. Ben Bore from Ben Bore Farm

The ascent of Ben Bore from the farm offers no obstacles save for the long and tedious tramp up Glen Bore, often desperately liquescent underfoot. At the terminus of the track the collar-work begins, the walker being faced with the prospect of a long, unremitting and seemingly endless slog up the unattractive spheropygian eastern aspect of Ben Bore. There are no difficulties to be encountered, save in mist when the white line painted by my valet along the route for the purposes of Plate 251 will provide an aid to navigation. When resting from the ardours of the ascent, note the sandy nature of the terrain, clearly indicative of submersion of the entire range under the liquescence of the oceans at some distant epoch of geological aeons. Otherwise there are no features to rivet the eye until the summit is attained, whereupon an unbelievably stupendous panorama gushes upon the view.

From this supreme Monarch of the east your gaze will be held across the entire arc of the horizon by a perfect galaxy of titanium-capped peaks. Under conditions of outstanding atmospheric clarity the incredible vista stretches from the desolate Cairngorm plateaux on its utmost western periphery to the superb splendours of Norway's remarkably distant Jotunheimen at the furthest easternmost prospect. Nearer at hand, the awesome chasm of Corrie Bore leads the eye into an immense secretagogue of Cycloneptunous depth, while beyond, Stob Ninian displays tungstenous buttresses of menacing aspect. Ahead lie the sensational pinnacles and Titanic castles comprising the airy, tortuous and exposed traverse to Stob Ninian. These should not be tackled by the ordinary pedestrian, who after a farewell reverie from his lofty perch must reluctantly return adhering strictly to my white line.

Route 76. The Traverse of Ben Bore and Stob Ninian

The key to completing this long and strenuous undertaking in time for dinner lies in arranging for the Earl's ghillie to row the Climber along Loch Errathic and to pick him up in the late afternoon, thereby avoiding the long and tedious tramp along the glutinous shores of the loch, the level of which fluctuates daily with remarkable synchronicity still not fully understood even in the modern scientifically enlightened era. Upon reaching the northernmost perimeter of Loch Errathic, proceed E to adjacent Loch Errothic. Having sent your valet ahead to nearby Errothic Bothy to prepare morning coffee, pause awhile to admire the mighty excrescence of the Errothic Pinnacle, rising gigantically above the Scyllian gloom of the loch.

From the bothy contour W below the mighty concretinous masonry of Stob Ninian and then surmount a rocky platform. Since your route ahead lies along a north-south axis, illumination of significant sections of the mighty traverse for photographic purposes is seriously impaired, and for these components of his sporting course the Climber is recommended to resort to backwards motion to guarantee optimal lighting conditions for his Leica. Exercising utmost care, ascend N the arduous razor-sharp Ninian Arete with sensationally abysmal drops on all sides, finally emerging on the tungstenous tower of the lofty summit. At this coign of vantage even the astounding cornucopia of titanium-capped peaks which attempts to grasp your gaze will be overwhelmed by the fantastic, awe-inspiring prospect of your route ahead.

Commence with extreme caution the severe and sensational skywalk suspended above the supreme secretagogue of Corrie Ninian. Hereabouts I once underwent one of my eeriest Climbing experiences, convinced that I could sense the crashing of wondrous waves, the screams of soaring seagulls and the invigorating inhalations of pungent seaweed. To this day I can offer no explanation for these bizarre phenomena. After surmounting the perpendicular protuberance of the Pinnacle, linger awhile in sublime contemplation at the climax of this noble eminence, before descending the near vertical overhang to Bealach Nan Bore, from where by careful scrutiny you will detect your route's sporting continuation over Ben Bore's gigantic boilerplates. With frequent deployment of manual assistance, boldly bestride the convex contours of the colossus until you eventually complete your rigours by attaining the reigning peak, on which your gaze will be seized in awestruck admiration at the dynamic prospect of tumultuous tower and distant ocean, sublimer than any artist's artifices in oil.

Descend briefly toward Glen Bore, then traverse the mighty eastern flanks into the vast amphitheatre of Corrie Bore, through whose subliquescent depths you will finally return to Errothic Bothy. Having instructed your valet to await with afternoon tea and a piping hot bath, synchronise your embarkation upon Loch Errathic to capture the last rays of the setting sun reflecting off the mighty Pinnacle into the lens of your Leica. Ensure your return in time for dinner at the Echofisc Hotel, the supreme digestive experience of which should be finest piscatorial digits, garnished with freshly harvested toxic algae and bathed in a delicate sauce of North Sea sewage outflow...

TAC 11 Index