This is a good moorland walk with gentle ascents and easy route-finding. There are excellent and varied views near and far throughout the walk, especially from the summit of Baderonoch Hill.
Duration: 3 hours.
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport nearby. There is a firm grassy area at the walk start-point. suitable for 2 cars.
Length: 6.470 km / 4.04 mi
Height Gain: 196 meter.
Height Loss: 196 meter.
Max Height: 467 meter.
Min Height: 332 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Entirely on good land-rover tracks. May be wet at start.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead after the gate just before Waypoint 2. You are likely to encounter sheep and, possibly, cattle.
Refreshments: Options in Alford.
This route offers some wonderful low hillwalking. The walk starts at the Right of Way sign for “Tarland via Lazy Wells” on the minor Towie-Boultenstone Road. Leaving upland farm fields behind, after a gradual climb up a track on a grass and heather hillside with grazing sheep, views open out on your left side to a green valley, with the abandoned Oldtown croft below you. Further away, the valley stretches out to join the River Don valley between the Mill of Towie and the Mill of Brux. As you progress along the land-rover track, you will also pass the scenic Lazy Well lochans and a small natural pine wood. At the mid-point of the walk, the route briefly enters mature trees before climbing up the shoulder of Ballochbuie Hill, heading eventually towards the summit of Baderonoch Hill. Marvellous views open out below you towards Migvie, Tarland, the Howe of Cromar, and distant hilltops like Clachnaben and Mount Keen. Nestled under the hill, but not immediately identifiable, is the grand mansion of Tillypronie House. At the trig point and cairn at the summit of Baderonoch Hill there are tremendous panoramic views, dominated by the massive bulk of Morven, close by to the south-west. Often characterised as a sleeping giant, Morven Hill (“A’ Mhòr Bheinn”, in Gaelic) presents an imposing “whale’s back” profile, immortalised in verse by Lord Byron: “…when I rov’d a young Highlander o’er the dark heath, And climb’d thy steep summit, oh Morven of snow …”. The route, entirely on the Tillypronie Estate, partly enters the Cairngorms National Park area and, on a good day, you will get glimpses of the peak of Lochnagar and the tors of Ben Avon. Happily, we didn’t chance upon the image of a giant playboy bunny cut into the heather landscape by previous estate owner, Philip Astor. Now, the “bunny” has been burned out, and the estate is apparently owned by a hedge fund manager who wants to use the land to create a “hub” for shooting activities.