(032) Millstone Hill-Heather Brig-Bennachie Forest Loop (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
In our terms, at 12 km, this is a long walk, with almost 500 m of overall ascent. However, the slopes encountered are generally gradual in nature. The views from the summit of Millstone Hill are tremendous, and the peaceful mature forest environment is also very satisfying.

Duration: 4 hours.

 

Route Overview
Duration: 4 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport links nearby. The Donview car-park is a small car-park at the start/finish of the walk.
Length: 11.980 km / 7.49 mi
Height Gain: 483 meter
Height Loss: 483 meter
Max Height: 394 meter
Min Height: 112 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly well surfaced paths and forest roads.
Child Friendly: This walk exceeds our normal limits for distance and overall height gained. Be very sure that children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Hard.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead near to any livestock.
Refreshments: Options in Kemnay or Inverurie.

Description
This leg-stretching ramble in the Bennachie range of hills is longer than our normal limit, caused by encountering forestry operations that required us to re-route on the fly! The walk ascends steadily to Millstone Hill, a southern spur of the Bennachie hills, from the fairly quiet Donview car-park near the beautiful banks of the River Don, in an area known as “My Lord’s Throat”, on the Monymusk side. The surrounding conifers are in various stages of maturity as you climb, eventually clearing to open, natural pine forest and heather as you start to get nearer to the hilltop. The final approach to the 409 m summit area, where there is a stone cairn, is surrounded by wind-blown heather moorland. The going here is fairly steep, but you are rewarded with fantastic panoramic views. To the north, the hugely impressive profile of the Mither Tap of Bennachie stands out, with the eye also drawn west along the other tops on the massif. Turning to the western aspect, on a clear day, you can pick out Mount Keen, Lochnagar, Morven, Buck of Cabrach, Ben Rinnes, to name a few of the more prominent peaks. Our route then descends the northern hillside, wonderfully open now as a result of major tree-felling work in recent years, to the boggy area known as the Heather Brig, Here two burns set off in opposite directions – the Clachie to the east, and the Birks to the west. From here the route gently ascends the southern flank of Bruntwood Tap, amongst mature pine forest, before gradually looping back through the trees to the Donview start-point, passing the dry-stone dykes of hill farmland on the way.

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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