Walk: Burn o' Vat - pothole of epic proportions

[Burn o' Vat]

20,000 years ago the landscape of upper Deeside was covered by large glaciers. As the ice retreated, a torrent of meltwater exploited weaknesses in the bedrock to carve a huge, pink granite pothole. Even though sediment has long filled up the base of the pothole, 13-metre cliffs forming the top half remain. The river is also a shadow of its former self, allowing access by scrambling across stepping stones at the narrow entrance. The high walls, enclosed space and limited light makes it difficult to appreciate the sheer scale and grandeur of the place ("pothole" rather undersells it), but in real life it's an excitingly dramatic sight with a real "wow" factor when you first peer through the constricted opening.

[Ice formations inside the Vat]

Name: Walk: Burn o' Vat - pothole of epic proportions ★★☆☆
Length: 1 km / <1 mile
Ascent: 30 metres
Points of interest: Burn o' Vat Visitor Centre; Burn o' Vat; Muir of Dinnet NNR
Start / finish: Car park on B9119 at Burn o' Vat Visitor Centre, G.R.: NO 430997 / collects summit standards

Route: Car park & visitor centre - Burn o' Vat via southern path along Vat Burn - start by northern path. Route in red here.
Terrain: Good paths; entering Burn o' Vat is on rough stepping stones (submerged after heavy rain) hemmed in by boulders.
Wildlife today: Robins in the snow.
Weather today: Cold, dry and mostly cloudy; around freezing with lying snow - interesting ice formations inside Burn o' Vat.

[Burn o' Vat]


Route credit: Scottish Natural Heritage

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