Morven on a windy Sunday

Route: Morven, from near Logie Coldstone

Corbetts: Morven

Date walked: 22/07/2012

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 8.5km

Set off from Aboyne after lunch, on a rather grey windy afternoon. Left turn to Groddie is signposted off the A97 Dinnet-Logie Coldstone road. The parking area is nearly at the end of this road, and is a triangular patch of rough ground housing a large, fairly permanent-looking pile of old tarmac road scrapings. The ruined cottage of Balhennie is clearly visible across the fields to the west. The local farmer has obviously been busy recently installing new fencing and gates, and in the absence of anything more obvious, I went through the nearest gate to the parking area and made my way through some rather noisy sheep, keeping close to the fence line on the left after the first 50 yards or so. A second (new) 5 bar type gate at the top of the first field had a small pedestrian gate at the side. A third gate just up from Balhennie was wide-open, so no need to use the stile next to it. From this point the path is not obvious. Fitter Route 1 types need to bear right, up the hill, and will soon encounter a well-marked narrow path through the grass and heather, which attacks the hill head-on - I know this because I used it to come down. If you are like me, and prefer a longer, less sweaty approach, head for the large lone tree up the hill to the left, and you will soon strike a good path.
So far I had had the hill to myself, but there were 4 other cars in the parking area, and I soon met some of the occupants on their way down. A large family party with 2 dogs, a girl on her own(or possibly a laggard from the first party), then 3 girls out with Grandma & Grandpa, and finally 3 student types.
The path deteriorates a bit towards the end, becoming rather boggy just before it hits a wide grouse-moor access track. Turn right along this track and head up past some newish-looking wooden grouse shooting butts. No views to speak of in this section, which flattens out near the top before the turn uphill towards Little Cairn.
The first 50 yards or so of this next uphill section are not particularly well marked, but from then on the path is obvious all the way to the top.
The wind was fairly blasting, but not cold, and there was no threat of rain despite the racing grey clouds.
Reached the trig point at around 4pm, and settled down in its lee, out of the worst of the wind, to eat some refreshments and text my achievement to the rest of the family. Great all-round views as expected, but given the howling gale and grey skies, I didn't stay long and retraced my steps back down to Little Cairn, where I decided to take the alternative route down - a clear path to the north of the fence. This really steepens up once Balhennie comes into view, and there are good views over to Loch Davan and Loch Kinnord. Although a very direct return route, it was quite tiring on the knees (well, mine anyway), and being mostly narrow, I had to take a lot of care with foot placement. My main thought going down was that I would not have enjoyed coming up that way.
Back through the sheep to the last gate, which (shock-horror) was unfastened. Red card to the previous party who went through :roll:
Boots and backpack in the car at 5:30 and then home for a well-earned shower and beer. :wink:
As this route is right on my doorstep, I'll be back when some sun is forecast, as I am sure the colours and views will be magnificent.

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Activity: Mountaineer

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Trips: 1
Distance: 8.5 km
Corbetts: 1

Joined: Jul 22, 2012
Last visited: Nov 28, 2020
Total posts: 1 | Search posts