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Showing posts from March, 2012

Walk: Raise a glass for Brandy

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Most visitors to Glen Clova make a beeline for the head of the glen on a trip to see Corrie Fee. But Loch Brandy above the east side of the valley is equally beautiful; here, majestic crags frame a stunning loch, a stiff but shortish climb from the Glen Clova Hotel. Ascend the flanks on either side of the coire and the plateau revealed above is a different world: often boggy and pathless, but with mountain hares scampering in all directions and a remote feel. Ben Tirran is the underwhelming high point (vertically speaking), but it sits above Loch Wharral, an slightly less dramatic clone of Loch Brandy. Returning to the busy hotel for food or drink afterwards can come as a bit of an atmosphere shock on a summer weekend.


📌 Walk: Raise a glass for Brandy ★★★★☆
▶ 15 km / 9 miles | ▲ 750 metres | ⌚ Full day walk
Main summits: The Goet / Ben Tirran (896 metres, Corbett)
Points of interest: Loch Brandy; Loch Wharral
Start / finish: Car park on B955 just west of Glen Clova Hotel, G.R.: NO 32773…

Walk: Sub-par signposting on Mortlich

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Many tourists can't wait for Aboyne's 30 mph speed limit to come to an end as they pass impatiently through this sizeable but quiet village bound for upper Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park. But there's good walking in these parts too. Mortlich's forested slopes rise up to the north of the village's golf club, with a picturesque and varied circuit possible which takes in both. It's no stroll in the park though: the few waymarkers are woefully inadequate and vegetation growth can hinder progress especially in late summer. Pity the fool who doesn't take a map.


📌 Walk: Sub-par signposting on Mortlich ★★★☆☆
▶ 9 km / 6 miles | ▲ 290 metres | ⌚ Half day walk
Main summits: Mortlich (381 metres)
Points of interest: Loch of Aboyne
Start / finish: Street parking on Golf Road, half a mile east of Aboyne village centre, G.R.: NO 532990 ///falls.fiery.nibbles

Route: Start - Loch of Aboyne - leave bank at G.R.: NJ 535000 - Mortlich - return to G.R.: NJ 533014 -…

Aberdour Bay

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A little way north of the village of New Aberdour, a narrow road drops down from Aberdeenshire farmland to reach Aberdour Bay. But this is no sandy tourist hotpot: instead there's just raw, beautiful coastline with dramatic sandstone arches and caves at the eastern end of the long, shingle beach. All of this is best explored when the tide's out, as well as the rock pools exposed by the receding water level.


📌Aberdour Bay ★★★☆☆
Location: Minor road end a mile north of New Aberdour, G.R.: NJ 886646 ///october.boom.uplifting

Aikey Brae Stone Circle

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Even the approach path to this beautiful stone circle is an atmospheric journey. The dirt trod plunges abruptly into dense woodland: only a small thicket but seemingly huge when you're in the middle of it. Just as you think you might have lost the path, the stones suddenly appear ahead on an open hilltop overlooking Old Deer and the nearby ruined abbey to the north-east. As is often the case with ancient monuments such as this, the beauty is in how the site has survived undisturbed by 4,000 years of change all around.


📌Aikey Brae Stone Circle ★★☆☆☆
Location: Off minor road 2 miles west of Old Deer, G.R.: NJ 959471 ///beginning.ramps.giant
Anything else? There's just space for a small car (only!) at the signpost off the minor road at G.R.: NJ 956470 ///advice.raven.link (don't block entrances). The stone circle is a 5-min walk away: head uphill on the track for a short distance before turning right onto a path. This soon heads into thick forest before suddenly emerging at the…

Deer Abbey

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Founded in 1219, the ruins of Deer Abbey are today found next to the A950 as it passes between two low hills just west of (dear old) Old Deer. Not much remains above ground-floor level, but the layout of the buildings is still fairly easy to make out. The abbey library is believed to have once held the Book of Deer, from an even earlier monastery nearby. Parts of this (dating from about 1100) are the earliest examples of written Gaelic still to survive from Scotland. Aikey Brae Stone Circle is barely a mile away - also worth visiting.


📌Deer Abbey★★☆☆☆
Location: A950 a mile west of Old Deer, G.R.: NJ 969481 ///calculating.straws.walls
Open: Daily
Cost: Free

Walk: Dunbuy the Bullers of Buchan

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The Buchan coast alternates between long, sandy beaches and dramatic cliff sections. The stretch to the north of Cruden Bay is in the latter category, with a succession of spectacular rock stacks and jagged headlands. One highlight is Slains Castle, a ruin which may have inspired the Dracula novel; another is Dunbuy, an austere rock stack with an unlikely arch right through its middle and hundreds of seabirds. The three superb miles of coast path culminate in the Bullers of Buchan: an enormous collapsed sea cave now featuring a majestic arch leading out to sea.


📌Walk: Dunbuy the Bullers of Buchan ★★★★☆
▶ 5 km / 3 miles | ▲ 70 metres | ⌚ Short walk
Points of interest: Cruden Bay; Slains Castle; Dunbuy stack; Bullers of Buchan
Start: Cruden Bay village centre, G.R.: NK 090363 ///newer.flamingo.dolphins. N.B. this is not a circular route.
Finish: Car park on A975 at Bullers of Buchan, 2 miles north-east of Cruden Bay, G.R.: NK 107380 ///mixed.looked.rural
Transport to start: Park at the fin…