There are great views, particularly of the Howe of Cromar, on this vigorous little hill-walk on the eastern slopes of Morven Hill, steadily gaining more than 300 meters ascent over a relatively short distance to achieve some fine outlooks in all directions.
Duration: 3 hours.
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: No public transport nearby. See Waypoint 1 for directions to the walk start point by car. Rough parking for about 8 vehicles at the walk start/end point.
Length: 6.270 km / 3.92 mi
Height Gain: 327 meter.
Height Loss: 327 meter.
Max Height: 535 meter.
Min Height: 213 meter.
Surface: Moderate. There are some boggy sections near the start, otherwise on a rough but well-defined moorland path. The return is on land-rover tracks, with a short section on a very quiet minor tarred road.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but must be on lead at all times as sheep may be encountered throughout the route.
Refreshments: Options in Logie Coldstone, Tarland, Alford, Aboyne, and Ballater.
This is a straightforward but very enjoyable short hill walk on the heathery slopes of Morven, an imposing Corbett hill that sits between Deeside and Donside, on the eastern boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. On both the ascent and descent, there are marvellous views of the broad bowl of the Howe of Cromar, with its appealing patchwork of fields and woodland, protected by surrounding hills, with Loch Davan at Muir of Dinnet visible for most of the time. After crossing a moorland “saddle” where the Coinach Burn bursts out of the hillside and down a grassy ravine, the mid-section of the route crosses over the broad top of Roar Hill where there are fine views back towards the summit of Morven to the north-west, and a far-ranging, wild and mountainous landscape to the west and south. The imposing “whale’s back” mass of Morven Hill (“A’ Mhòr Bheinn”, in Gaelic) is a recognisable feature throughout much of western Aberdeenshire, immortalised by Lord Byron in verse as follows: “…when I rov’d a young Highlander o’er the dark heath, And climb’d thy steep summit, oh Morven of snow …”. Hill sheep, from a large flock managed by the Auchnerran Demonstration Farm, may be encountered throughout the walk. The farm is operated by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and aims “… to demonstrate how agricultural practices, livestock management, wildlife conservation and game management can co-exist to form an economically viable system …”. Auchnerran occupies 1,030 acres of hill-farming land, with over 1,000 sheep. The heather moorland above the farm is owned by the Dinnet Estate and is grazed in summer by the hefted sheep flock. See: https://www.gwct.org.uk/auchnerran/about/