Ben Rinnes - Overlooking the Spey

Climbed by year and month


You have climbed 107/282 munros.

Climbed by year and month


You have climbed 14/221 Corbetts.

Ben Rinnes has been on my 'to visit' list for a while. An isolated Corbett standing on the south side of the River Spy between Glen Livet and Dufftown, not so much at the heart of whisky country but on the edge. It's not an easy place to get to from Nairn. I chose the middle route, direct, as far as possible. It took me past a lot of distilleries. But more on that later.

Date started:03/03/17
Distance:5.1 miles
Time taken:4:02
Moving time:2:53
Average speed:1.76mph
Maximum speed:3.42mph

Ben Rinnes

Ben Rinnes from the north
Ben Rinnes from the north

Despite cars parked all over the scenery I pulled into a space at the end of the car park, at around 10:30. Jessie, as ever, was talking to me. Letting me know she was very excited. People were arriving back at their cars as I got ready, obviously a popular blast up first thing in the morning kind of hill. One guy remarked it was relentless with no break from the climb - not sure I'd agree with that!

Roy's Hill and Ben Rinnes
Roy's Hill and Ben Rinnes

An easy, if rough, track climbs from beside the car park zigzagging it's way onto Round Hill. Here the gradient relaxes a bit before another climb to Roy's Hill. On the otherside of which, descending to and crossing the bealach you see the rest of the climb before you. This is really where it gets steep as the track becomes a path and is stone pitched in places. A whistle above me. The whistler is pointing at a white blob which promptly bounds off in that way only a mountain hare can. It's winter coat blending in well with the snow patches, and even amongst the rock it was fairly well camouflaged. How lovely to see it. Long may it successfully hide from the estate guns.

Eastern Cairngorms from Ben Rinnes
Eastern Cairngorms from Ben Rinnes

The summit is a tor, or rock plinth with an OS trig point which is topped by a 'toposcope' featuring the Speyside distilleries. Here, there was a young lad, no more than 6years old enjoying a sandwich, with his father and his grand-father. Starting them young, perhaps! Jessie and I wandered over to settle on a piece of tor, on the tor, just away the trig and slightly higher. We had the real summit! We'd made the top without deploying my ice axe. Snow barely covered the path, and what there was, was thin and slushy. The extensive view was marred only by muir burning - burning off old woody heather in winter so new shoots come up in the spring for the grouse to eat. And so be shot later in the year. A little haze settled over the Moray Firth to the north. I could still see Sutors, and the entrance to the Cromarty Firth. Along with the two tankers stationed just outside.

Ben Rinnes trig point
Ben Rinnes trig point

We stayed for a while. The three boys had left before us, as we packed up and were leaving the summit a bloke appeared. As we passed he muttered the usual pleasantries and something about dying for a cigarette. Hmm. We left him to it. Heather smoke was bad enough, but I'd prefer not to have my lungs turned inside out by cigarette smoke up here, ta. I looked out for more hares but didn't see any. We finally passed the youngster on Round Hill as they'd stopped for a break, so they were making good progress.

As for whisky. I came back through Dufftown. It has a whisky shop. So tonight I opened a bottle of Craigellachie 13yr old. It's typical Speyside, light, with a good punch, and a balanced malty-ness. Finish is quite dry. Online reviews are divided, but I like it. It's not been chill-filtered, or coloured. Result.

Tags: outdoor, scotland, whisky Written 03/03/17 

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