Walk: Burn o' Vat - pothole of epic proportions

Aberdeenshire | Dinnet | Short walk | ★★★

[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]

📌 Walk: Burn o' Vat - pothole of epic proportions ★★★
Start / finish at Burn o' Vat car park, on the B9119 2 mi northwest of Dinnet, G.R.: NO 430997 ///collects.summit.standards

▶ 1 km / <1 mi | ▲ 30 m | ⌚ Short | Moderate
Features: Burn o' Vat Visitor Centre; Burn o' Vat; Muir of Dinnet NNR
Terrain: Good paths; entering Burn o' Vat is on rough stepping stones (submerged after heavy rain) hemmed in by boulders.

Route & map

Car park & visitor centre - Burn o' Vat via southern path along Vat Burn - start by northern path. Route in red here.


Route credit: Scottish Natural Heritage

On our visit

Wildlife: Robins in the snow.
Weather: Cold, dry and mostly cloudy; around freezing with lying snow - interesting ice formations inside Burn o' Vat.

[Burn o' Vat]

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