There are great views, particularly of the Howe of Cromar, on this varied walk up to and around the summit area of Hill of Allamuc, on the north-eastern slopes of Morven Hill. After visiting an ancient burial cairn and stone circle on the wooded ascent, a steady climb through moorland achieves some very 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 one or two vehicles at the walk start/end point.
Length: 9.2 km / 5.7 mi
Height Gain: 310 meter. Height Loss: 310 meter.
Max Height: 520 meter. Min Height: 211 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of hard-surfaced access roads, rough farm/forest roads, and moorland land-rover tracks. Suitable for an offroad mobility scooter, with the probable exception of the 30 m diversion to visit the Blue Cairn stone circle. Also, the steep and rough descent to Waypoint 8 may cause difficulties.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but on lead on public access road.
Refreshments: Options in Logie Coldstone, Tarland, Alford, Aboyne, and Ballater.
This is a varied and very scenic walk through upland farmland and mature conifer forest onto the heathery slopes of the Hill of Allamuc, one of the rounded hilltops to the north-east of Morven, an imposing Corbett hill that sits between Deeside and Donside, on the eastern boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. Particularly on the descent, there are marvellous views from on-high of the broad bowl of the Howe of Cromar, with its appealing patchwork of fields and woodland, protected by surrounding hills, with the village of Tarland visible to the east, and Loch Davan and Loch Kinord at Muir of Dinnet, visible to the south-east. At the mid-point on the route, on undulating high ground, with wide-open views over a far-ranging wild landscape, there is an exhilarating moment as the gloriously imposing mass of Morven, with a peaked summit from this perspective, suddenly appears, towering above, ahead of you. Morven Hill (“A’ Mhòr Bheinn”, in Gaelic) and its surrounding lower summits, 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 …”. At an early point on the ascent, in Balronald Wood, the route passes the “The Blue Cairn of Ladieswell”, so named because of the blue tinge to the stones of the ancient cairn (although this coloration was not immediately apparent to us!). Surrounding the Neolithic burial cairn are the diminished remains of a large recumbent stone circle. The stone circle and cairn have been considerably damaged by human intervention, with the cairn being apparently broken up by amateur archaeological activity in the 19thC. The large and impressive recumbent stone from the circle has a very flat and level surface. It is missing both its flanker stones and other stones from the circle are either missing or mostly fallen. The 19thC Ordnance Survey Name Book indicates that there had been upright stones during the lifetime of a neighbouring farmer, but that various stones, presumably including the flanker stones, had been removed for building purposes. For more info on the Blue Cairn Stone Circle, see: https://bit.ly/34YR8X4 (Circle #14, p 314).
Photos from walk
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