Ben Rinnes, a Corbett in Aberdeenshire, had been on my mind for months but the route seemed too short for the drive of some 80 minutes to reach the hill. However, a day of unsettled weather in many areas of Scotland and the option to do a longer circuit to visit some impressive granite tors, therefore made the hike seem more worthwhile.
My friend Victoria, who is new to Scotland and keen to get out and about at every opportunity, needed little persuading to join me and we headed off on a wet Sunday morning from Inverness.
As we drove east, we were delighted to find the weather improving with sunshine and fewer clouds.
2 walk options of Ben Rinnes
There is a walk of around 7.5km (return) from the east to reach the summit of Ben Rinnes at 840m elevation. Meanwhile, our alternative route extended to 11.5km and started at Benrinnes Distillery car park.
A track headed south and upwards, mostly at a steady and fairly gentle incline, until we reached an abrupt end at a bank of peat and heather. From here, the path became much fainter and we followed bits and pieces of narrow trod through the thick vegetation.
At no point was the gradient that steep, however, and we enjoyed the ever more expansive views over picturesque rolling countryside.
At around 730m elevation, we reached a small hill plateau, marked with a cairn, from where we headed south-easterly to gain more height through heathery moors.
Our first target was a series of large tors, which are landforms created by the erosion and weathering of rock, at a high point called Scurran of Morinsh.
I confess my sights became more focused on a whippet, which was accompanied by two walkers, rather than the great tors at first. I have long been drawn to whippets and espsecially after our Wispa Whippet died last year.
After an extended pat and cuddle with Wally Whippet, plus a chat with the two women who were looking after the dog for a friend, I explored the fabulous tors, which are huge and deeply lined and grooved, then joined Victoria as we surveyed the superb views all around.
We left the tors to head easterly and then, south-easterly, to reach more tors and also the summit proper of Ben Rinnes, named Scurran of Lochterlandoch on the OS Map.
Did you know?: The Gaelic word “scurran” means a peak or pinnacle on a hill, specifically of Ben Rinnes. Meanwhile, Rinnes means “sharp point – and refers to the granite tors.
The top is marked by a trig pillar but we didn’t hang around because the midges were out in force even at this height. Warm conditions and very little breeze had created the perfect climate for the frustrating biting insects.
Return via more tors
Our return to the start saw us detour to a more easterly path to visit the most impressive tors of the route at Scurran of Well.
The rest of the walk headed downhill, first on a trod through heather and then to rejoin the track at the start of the walk, which returned us to the distillery.
The walk offers a great half-day outing and brings my total of Corbett’s bagged to 130.
- See route of 11.6km and 665m total ascent on Strava.