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Escape from Angus - Morven

Escape from Angus - Morven

Postby KatTai » Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:06 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Morven

Date walked: 19/04/2021

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 762m

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I decided to leave taking advantage of the travel restrictions easing over the weekend instead heading out today (Monday). I had a few walks in mind, but opted for a repeat of Morven only a different way to the WH route which I'd done previously. Reading previous walk reports, I found one with a route from Tullich on the A93 just East of Ballater. It's a longer route, but I hoped it would be quieter than the normal route plus no single-track road to worry about!

There is parking for a few cars at a layby at the ruined church and it is a short walk along the verge to take the first turning on the right which goes up through a farm yard with lots of old tyres and passed a barn filled with cows to reach a gate by a new house with a handy signpost pointing the way.


The path goes through pleasant native silver birch woodland, lots of bracken so I kept an eye out for adders but didn't see any. Did glimpse a lizard though! A loch is reached which is getting pretty overgrown with vegetation, the path running through the trees a short distance away heading gently uphill as it climbs above the valley and the forest becomes a mix of silver birch and conifers, the latter replacing the birch as the altitude increases.

Silver birch woodland

heather and conifers

Morven comes into view

The path remains clear, in fact it looks as if some path repairs may have been done in places, switching from rocky to gravelly to mud, eventually reaching the 'Welcome to the Moors' sign where the heather and trees are left behind and the path, which remains clear, crosses grassland with a couple of small burns that cause no issues to cross. Here we spotted a red kite, and a wheatear that seemed to decide sticking close to us was a good idea while the kite was overhead!

Red Kite


A main track is reached, and here the first decision had to be made. The route I had found headed up the steep slopes of Morven, but it did look steep! I saw what looked like a gentler route to the east, and there was the option of following the track round to reach the main route up.

I headed to the west, taking the steeper option. Coming across a faint ATV track I followed that towards Morven, should have checked my GPS because this wasn't the route in the previous report I'd read! Still, the track was heading in the right direction passing a pool where we stopped for some refreshment.

ATV track

Time for some refreshment!

Shortly afterwards, the track disappeared. I could see two potential routes, one which I guessed was the one in the post I'd read, another which looked a bit steeper headed up to a snow patch...yeah, we took the snow patch route. It was worth it Zena had loads of fun playing in the snow!

That happy face makes climbing up to the snow patch worth it!

She also did some posing on the slopes as well...

Zena posing

Eventually though we had to return to the ascent, climbing up above the snow patch finding little paths here and there and working our way around the rocky patches. A hare made things a bit easier, Zena pulled on the lead a little bit but it didn't last long and soon she was back to walking nicely,

Mountain hare

Eventually the gradient eased as we headed towards the summit. The haze meant the views weren't great and the wind was a bit strong up there so we didn't hang around before having a think about how we were going to get down!

Zena at the trig point windshelter

We started by following the track to the east, I didn't fancy the steep descent downhill, figuring we'd head round towards the main tracks round but just beyond Mid Cairn the descent looked a bit better so we left the track to head down near the Rashy Burn, this would have been the route I'd considered for the ascent.

It was a great way down, at least to start with. The ground was springy and bouncy so it was a lot of fun to walk on and we saw a few more hares too. We were on the east side of the burn but found a good spot to cross over to the west side continuing the descent over a grassland and then heather, and then more boggy grassland heading towards the path that came up from Tullich. We ended up on the track almost right where the path joined it! From there it was a case of following the path all the way back to the start.

Hadn't really planned to do so much off-path stuff on our first hill walk out, but it was a lot of fun getting back into it and the walk back through the woodland was pleasant and quite, only saw one mountain biker heading up, the only person I met aside from a couple at the summit. Certainly a quieter way to head up Morven!
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Posts: 930
Munros:52   Corbetts:16
Grahams:10   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:34   
Joined: Feb 12, 2015
Location: Angus

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