Looking northwards from Banchory, the Hill of Fare dominates the skyline in an understated but fascinating way, the colours of the landscape changing with the weather and the seasons. Whilst some may say that viewed from Banchory, the hill looks brooding and featureless, those that make the effort to visit Hill of Fare will appreciate the extent and variety of this upland moor environment. Many who hike up the hill, start from the south side via Raemoir and the path known as “The Skairs”. This route is highly rewarding as it offers spectacular views over to Clachnaben and Mount Keen, with the higher mountains of the Cairngorms opening up as you gain elevation.
Once past the forestry plantations, hikers start to see many native species, including Scots Pine, Birch, juniper, rowan and other self-seeded trees, which support a noisy blue-tit and finch population, before the landscape gives way to the vast heather-clad moor. A pair of peregrine falcons have been viewed swooping and calling on the south side of Hill of Fare, close to their nest, and other raptors can be spotted gliding on the currents. The Skairs make way to the highest and steepest point on the south side of the hill, Craigrath and it’s from here that the views extend right across to Bennachie, Aberdeen and the sea.
People in Banchory and the surrounding area highly appreciate the precious natural environment that they are lucky enough to have on their doorstep. Many take advantage of the hill for mountain biking, walking and just enjoying the feeling of remoteness that being on Hill of Fare provides. At night, local inhabitants are very fortunate to have dark skies looking north from Banchory and occasionally the northern lights are visible over Hill of Fare, a unique and unforgettable sight.
Hill of Fare is not a dramatic hill, it is not a munro, it doesn’t have cliffs and corries, but it is a special natural environment, a habitat of many native species of flora and fauna. It holds a unique place in the hearts of the people of Banchory and must be preserved in its pristine state for future generations.