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Abernethy Forest and Ryvoan Circuit

Abernethy Forest and Ryvoan Circuit

Postby RicKamila » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:37 pm

Route description: Abernethy Forest and Ryvoan circuit

Date walked: 07/07/2013

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 16.2 km

Ascent: 370m

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With this glorious weather continuing to bathe Scotland in its warmth, we chose to venture away from Aberdeenshire and set sail for Nethy Bridge. We had read on here about the Abernethy Forest circuit and it really excited us seeing as we hadn't been on a long walk for ages and wanted to get some distance under our belts before heading back into the hills again. We found the parking spot at Forest Lodge very easily, although please read the information board as it tells you where cars are permitted to park.

Gathering all of our things, we set off at 1145am in the hot sun along the path marked Nethy Bridge and passed by some old boarding kennels. The shade was helping to keep the temperature down, but as we came around the back of the field and headed towards Cairngorm, we could feel our arms starting to sizzle. The colours of Scotland were amazing in this light and there were so many shades of green to be seen.

The path just after the kennels

Abernethy Forest 1 by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

The path was very easy to walk on as it was a 4x4 track, well most of the way it was easy (more about that later..). We crossed a bridge and let a vehicle past (and got a large beaming smile and a very friendly wave from the driver). This part of the walk led us through the ancient Caledonian Forest and we admired the different types of trees on display, along with the many little birds putting on a singing show for us.

50 Shades Of Green part 1

50 Shades Of Green part 2

Meall a' Bhuachaille starting to show from behind the trees

Starting to feel the arms burn here

Dead Tree by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We reached a three-way fork and followed the walk descriptions advice to follow the middle path.

Take the middle path here

Further down the track, Kamila came to a sudden stop and crouched down to inspect the biggest beetle we have seen in Scotland so far. Some detective work when we got home led us to discover that the beetle was a Carabid Ground Beetle. It was over 2 inches in length.

Carabid Ground Beetle by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

After a good hour and a half of walking, our tummies started to rumble in unison, so we made a plan to reach the open moorland and then find somewhere to sit for lunch. The trees were starting to thin out a bit now and we knew it wouldn't be long until we were exposed to the sun's full force on the open moor.

Tree's were starting to thin out a bit now

Looking back down the path

Meall a' Bhuachaille appearing ever closer

Abernethy Forest 2 by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

After another 20 minutes or so, we reached the moorland and were greated by an amazing view. You could see the back of Cairngorm Mountain. Bynack More was also visible. With the suns rays getting even stronger, we set off towards a small hillock to grab a bite to eat. We passed by a couple of small lochans and reached a stream that we had to wade through. Kamila made it through easily with her shoes off, but advised that it was slippery. Rick with his shoes off took one step and almost landed in the water, only making it across in four steps out of sheer desperation not to land on his backside.

What a view!!

The slippery stream...

On the bank of the stream, a Thistle was getting ready to bloom. Such a beautiful flower indeed.

Thistle by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We stopped for lunch and after a quick drink and some Fruit Pastells, we set off along the ever-fading path towards the hills, passing a ruin that was a Croft once.

Old Croft Ruins by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We jumped another stream, quite easily this time, and found the path had all of a sudden disappeared. A quick scan of the route description informed us of this and we followed the advice to walk in a straight line until we reached a river and then follow it upstream at height. We reached the river via some heather bashing and then tried to find a way to where we assumed the bridge we needed to reach would be. Fortunately, a bloke walking in the opposite direction passed us, so we said hello and then asked if the bridge was in the direction we assumed. He pointed out a good way to go and we thanked him and carried on our way.

Heather Bashing by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

After what seemed like an eternity of heather bashing, we saw the bridge and with renewed vigour, set off at a fast pace in the heat to the bridge. We took off our shoes and socks, Rick re-filled one of his water bottles in the fast flowing stream and we sat on some rocks to have a rest in the sun. A man and his dog had a wee rest at the stream too and we said hi to another couple heading off towards Bynack More. After 20 minutes, we felt we should carry on the walk, but wanted to sit here forever as it was such a peaceful location and the sunshine felt glorious. Our arms started to look very pink at this stage...

The Bridge... Yippee!!

The big rock by the bridge was perfect for resting on

Scenic Scotland by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We set off on a lovely man-made path. Oh it felt good to be walking on terra-firma again after all that heather. Meall a' Bhuachaille loomed large and we eventually caught our first glimpse of Ryvoan Bothy with a lovely lochan nearby.

Meall a' Bhuachaille

Ryovan Bothy 1 by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

As we got closer, we could see people making their way along a path that would be our return path back to Forest Lodge and some folk up near the summit of Meall a' Bhuachaille. There were some interesting clouds forming above the hill.

Meall a' Bhuachaille Clouds by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

Ryvoan Bothy looked very picturesque from here.

Ryvoan Bothy 2 by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We reached a t-junction by a sign that points to Nethy Bridge and Braemar and carried on towards the bothy. There was nobody inside when we got there as we peered in through the window, but didn't venture inside and took a couple of photos and carried on our way, our arms starting to tingle and our necks getting the full force of the sun.

Ryvoan Bothy 3 by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

The little lochan we saw above the bothy was an absolute stunner of a lochan. It was very blue and provided Rick with a good foreground for some photos. There was another small lochan further up.

Blue Lochan by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

Glorious Scotland by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We stopped again on the path as Kamila discovered some interesting blue Dragonflies, so we stalked them a little bit and finally got a photo of one.

Blue Dragonfly

The path continued along at a reasonable height, giving us a lovely few across towards the Speyside hills.

Abernethy Forest 2 by CullenEllermanPhotography, on Flickr

We reached the Caledonian Forest again and it was a relief to have the shade as our faces, arms and necks were now burnt. The track meanders along high above a river and you pass a couple of houses on the left before reaching another track that crosses over. We took this track to the right and 4.5 hours after we set off, we were back at our car. A lovely drive back to Aberdeenshire and an ice-cream from the shop around the corner capped off a truly wonderful day.
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