(027) Aboyne Loch-Mortlich Hill Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
The walk enjoys a particularly rewarding section around Aboyne Loch, followed by fine hillside and summit views taking in lower and upper Strathdee. There is a steep ascent to the historically interesting summit. The route is best walked when the bracken has died back!

Duration: up to 4 hours.

 

Route Overview
Duration: Up to 4 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach run regular bus services to Aboyne. Check timetables. The start-point is about 1 km NE of Aboyne centre, off the A93 road to/from Aberdeen. You may consider parking in the golf-course car-park. Otherwise, find a place as close as possible to the walk start-point.
Length: 8.030 km / 5.02 mi
Height Gain: 281 meter
Height Loss: 281 meter
Max Height: 374 meter
Min Height: 132 meter
Surface: Rough and steep summit section. We found route-finding difficult between Waypoints 12 and 14 due to the path being heavily overgrown with bracken, gorse and broom. We advise doing this walk in Springtime when the bracken will have died back and the route between these points should be clearer.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent. Please note comments in terms of route-finding in heavy bracken.
Difficulty: Hard.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on the golf course and near to any livestock.
Refreshments: You are likely to be welcome for a snack meal at Aboyne Golf Club. Ask in the club-house to ensure that you are welcome. Otherwise, various options in Aboyne.

Description
The Deeside area is well known for its scenic qualities and this fairly energetic* walk achieves some fine views over the vale of Strathdee, to east, south and west. The walk at first crosses the attractive undulating fairways of the Aboyne golf course, before hugging the side of beautiful Aboyne Loch. A stone and earth dam wall was constructed around 1834 to retain the loch. At that time It also served as a reservoir for a nearby mill. The loch is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest owing to its aquatic flora and fauna and rich reed-bed and fen vegetation. It is also an important site for butterflies. It provides a valuable habitat for waterfowl, including wigeon, goosander and whooper swans, with osprey regularly seen fishing there. After a section on the old Deeside railway line, now part of the Deeside Way, the route ascends Mortlich Hill with a final very steep section. The summit of Mortlich Hill comprises a large pile of granite stones forming a cairn and obscuring the remains of a hill fort. Although partly obscured by trees in some directions, there are some great views from the top. The age of the fort is unknown, but is possibly Pictish or earlier. It seems that it has been dismantled, partly to build field boundaries and partly to build the large modern cairn within the fort area. In the 19th C this cairn was topped by a cemented peak of stones in which a heavy cross of cast iron was implanted to commemorate the life of the 10th Marquis of Huntly. The cross has now fallen, and lying among the ruins is a slab inscribed ‘Charles 10th Marquis of Huntly died 18th September 1863. Erected by Mary Antoinetta his widow and the tenantry of Aboyne‘.

*Note: We found route-finding difficult between Waypoints 12 and 14 due to the path being heavily overgrown with bracken, gorse and broom. We advise doing this walk in Springtime when the bracken will have died back and the route between these points should be clearer.

Links:
Photos from walk
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on Viewranger
Access Walk on Wikiloc  

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