(151) Linn of Quoich-The Punchbowl (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This walk visits a place of extraordinary beauty where the Quioch Water is forced through narrow channels in an otherwise peaceful spot amongst heather and tall pine trees. The complete route is only suitable for experienced walkers who are up for an “assault course” experience!

Duration: 2 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport nearby. Park at the National Trust for Scotland Linn of Quoich car-park, which is almost 6 km east of the more popular Linn of Dee car-park on the C1M minor road to Allanaquoich, on the Mar Lodge Estate. Fee is £3 at May 2021.
Length: 5.090 km / 3.18 mi
Height Gain: 104 meter.
Height Loss: 104 meter.
Max Height: 408 meter.
Min Height: 337 meter.
Surface: Very rough. The route is partly on good estate roads, but the riverside section up-stream from the bridge at Waypoint 5 to Waypoint 7 is extremely arduous in sections where the path has been eroded. See guidance in the main walk description.
Difficulty: Hard.
Child Friendly: No, not suitable for young children.
Dog Friendly: No, unlikely to be suitable due to sheer slopes caused by extreme riverbank erosion in places
Refreshments: Options in Braemar.

The rushing waters of the Quoich, cascading through a series of narrow ravines, makes for a stunning and unforgettable experience in an idyllic Highland setting amongst mature pines. However, if planning to undertake the complete circuit, walkers must clearly understand that the route from the Linn of Quoich footbridge at Waypoint 5 to Waypoint 7, at the upper bridge, is extremely arduous in places due to riverbank erosion.

*** DO NOT UNDERTAKE THE COMPLETE CIRCUIT UNLESS YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCED WALKER who is prepared to scramble down and up the eroded riverbank gripping on to branches and heather for support. The path is also unclear in places, and there is a fast-flowing burn to cross on irregular stones. ***

The initial path to the Linn of Quoich (“Linn” is an old Scots word for waterfall, or torrent) is, however, easy and safe. One of the scenic highlights at the Linn, is the “Punchbowl”, an extraordinary, comma-shaped, water-carved hole in the otherwise flat rock formation. Reputedly, in past times, the Earl of Mar, and his hunting parties, would toast their success after a hunt, by supping from a punchbowl supported by this stone feature. This spot was also popular with Queen Victoria, who had a small lodge built (now in poor repair) above the Linn. From this spot it is possible without too much effort or jeopardy (although the path is in poor condition in places), to walk upstream 450 m to a more conventional, but no less attractive, waterfall. The Linn of Quoich is on the Mar Lodge Estate, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It is made up of more than 29,000 hectares of a quintessential Highland landscape: heather-covered moorland, Caledonian pine forest, towering mountains and the Quoich wetlands, home to wading birds and otters. Within the estate there are 15 Munros. It is the largest National Nature Reserve in the UK.

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


2 thoughts on “(151) Linn of Quoich-The Punchbowl (Aberdeenshire)

  1. There is a bit of scrambling involved, but we found it manageable and it didn’t spoil a fantastic route. The views of the river from both sides are fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In 1715 the Jacobite rebellion Led by the Earl of Mar had a rendezvous with highland clansmen and as support swelled for Mar at the meeting, a natural bowl carved into the rock at the Linn of Quoich was filled with brandy or whisky. From here, the men drank – and toasted the rising to come. Might attract a lot of visitors now!!


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