Walk: Mar Lodge Estate - bash through the Clais
The National Trust for Scotland's Mar Lodge Estate covers 7% of the Cairngorms National Park, incorporating four of the UK's highest five hills. Taking a hike here doesn't have to involve climbing Munros though, as the region also contains some of the most beautiful glens in Scotland. The treeless Clais Fhearnaig (Hollow of the Alders) connects the pine-filled glens of Quoich and Lui, concealing a sheltered lochan in its narrow confines: an idyllic spot and perfect place for a picnic. Don't miss the Linn of Quoich near the start (attractive rapids rather than a dramatic waterfall), with the round Punch Bowl pothole just above the footbridge. Depending on which legend you believe, the Earl of Mar poured spirit inside to toast either successful deer hunts or the Jacobite cause.
|[There are great views of Beinn a' Bhuird from Glen Quoich]|
Name: Walk: Mar Lodge Estate - bash through the Clais ★★★☆☆
Length: 16 km / 10 miles
Ascent: 410 metres
Points of interest: Mar Lodge Estate; Linn of Quoich; Clais Fhearnaig
Start / finish: Space for a couple of cars at Victoria Bridge, on minor road 3 miles west of Braemar, G.R.: NO 102895 ///gloom.risk.gold
Route: Start - cross bridge into Mar Lodge Estate - Linn of Quoich car park - east bank of Quoich Water (stay on west bank in 2018 due to destroyed bridge, but detour to see the falls) - cross back at Linn of Quoich - Glen Quoich - cross Allt Clais Fhearnaig - Clais Fhearnaig - Glen Lui - Doire Bhraghad - Claybokie - Victoria Bridge via footpath along River Dee - start
Terrain: Good paths and tracks, mostly gentle gradients.
Wildlife today: Forest birds; lots of newts in the puddles alongside the track below Doire Bhraghad.
Weather today: Sunny with light winds, with fresh snow on surrounding hills.
Anything else? If no space to park, park at Linn of Quoich, a few miles into the circuit.
Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)