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Royal Deeside : Ballater Walking Festival
Programme of Walks


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Ballater Royal Deeside Walking Festival takes part in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. The programme is based on three series of walks spread over six days, Sunday through to Friday. On each day there are three walks of varying difficulty denoted Easy, Moderate or Strenuous/Long and walkers may choose between them as desired. These are listed below.

Experienced and competent guides are provided on all walks, with a fully qualified advisor and professional guide leading the higher level walks. Our guides are responsible for safety of participants. Most of the walks are situated within the Cairngorms National Park, though a few will stray into parts of West Aberdeenshire which border the Park or the Angus Glens to the south of it.

Details of the programme for the 2015 festival are given below.

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View Walks Programme 2015
EASY Walks MEDIUM Walks STRENUOUS Walks  

  Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
Easy
3
6
9
12
15
18
Medium
2
5
8
11
14
17
Strenuous
1
4
7
10
13
16

 

 

The EASY Programme, 2015


Date of Walk

Sunday 17th May

Walk 3: Braemar circular

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

10km, 6 miles
130m, 430ft
Landranger 43
NO152916
4 hrs
1000 / 1430

This is an attractive and variable walk, starting in the village and following the Clunie Water downstream, then the Dee upstream before climbing to the duckpond. From here we head for the golf course and the Queen’s Drive which takes us up to the Lion’s Face before dropping to the roadside and so back to our start point. There are many points of interest throughout this walk.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent  x        
Steepness    x      
Rough Ground    x      

 

Date of Walk

Monday 18th May

Walk 6: Abergeldie, Genechal, Distillery circular

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

9km, 5.5 miles
90m, 300ft
Landranger 44
NO286951
3.5 hrs
1000 / 1430

This is an interesting walk in an area rich in Royal connections. The start point is near Abergeldie Castle and takes us up a very quiet road which soon ends at Khantore and we enter the forest on a mere track. A short detour leads us to a ruined cottage, Genechal, much used by Queen Victoria. Rejoining the track, we soon leave the forest and a superb view over the Balmoral area opens up. We descend to the Royal Lochnagar Distillery then down the road we started on to our pickup point. .

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent  x        
Steepness  x        
Rough Ground  x        

 

Date of Walk

Tuesday 19th May

Walk 9: Tarland, Drummy, Tomnaverie, Culsh

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
t

10km, 6 miles
110m, 360ft
Landranger 37
NJ481044
4.5 hrs
1000 / 1530

The Howe of Cromar, with Tarland at its centre is an area of great antiquity with many ancient sites and artifacts. This walk takes us round some of them. We leave Tarland by the Drummy road, visiting Drummy Hill with its Bronze Age sites, then on to Tomnaverie stone circle aligned on Lochnagar. Crossing the Tarland Burn, we make our way to a new view point followed by a visit to Culsh Earth House. Finally it’s back to Tarland via the Muirton Woods..

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent  x        
Steepness    x      
Rough Ground    x      

 

Date of Walk

Wednesday 20th May

Walk 12: Dinnet to Ballater via Haugh

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

12km, 7.5 miles
Negligible
Landranger 44
NO459987 / NO370958
4.5hrs
1000 / 1500

This is a straightforward walk from Dinnet to Ballater but with an interesting diversion to the old farm of Haugh, followed by a beautiful stroll along the banks of the Dee at the peak of the salmon fishing season. We return to Ballater on the Deeside Way.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent  x        
Steepness  x        
Rough Ground  x        


Date of Walk

Thursday 21st May

Walk 15: Keiloch to the Linn of Quoich

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

10km, 6.5 miles
Negligible
Landranger 43
NO188913 / NO106910
4 hrs
1000 / 1500

This is a gentle and attractive walk following the Dee valley, with lovely views of the Lion’s Face, Creag Choinnich and Braemar. We also pass close to Invercauld House with its interesting new array of sculptures. Just before our pickup we can visit the Devil’s Punchbowl which Bobbing Jock allegedly filled with punch in 1715.


Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent  x        
Steepness  x        
Rough Ground  x        

 

Date of Walk

Friday 22nd May

Walk 18: Glentanar School, Glentanar circular

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

8km, 5 miles
150m, 500ft
Landranger 37
NO473982
4hrs
1000 / 1430

We start at Glentanar School, which is not in Glentanar, and follow the Firmounth Road to just beyond Belrorie, where we turn on to the Queen’s Road, contouring around and above the Home Farm and the Big House. Our route now takes us down past the fishing loch and on to the Knockie Bridge before passing the Chapel of St Lesmo, on to the visitor centre at Braenaloin then over the hill back to the school.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length  x        
Ascent  x        
Steepness    x      
Rough Ground  x        


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The MEDIUM Programme, 2015

 

Date of Walk

Sunday 17th May

Walk 2: Glenfenzie circular via Cairnagour and Mona Gowan

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

11.5km, 7.5 miles
510m, 1700ft
Landranger 37
NJ314028
4 hrs
0900 / 1400

This circular route takes us through lands once owned by the Keillers of marmalade fame. We walk from the A939 past the ruined Glenfenzie farm and on to Cairnagour Hill on the watershed of Dee and Don, followed by Mona Gowan. We now turn southward to regain the estate track which takes us down to where Morven Lodge once stood. A good stony track takes us back to Glenfenzie but involves an interesting burn crossing. .

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent      x    
Steepness      x    
Rough Ground      x    

 

Date of Walk

Monday 19th May

Walk 5: Camock Hill and the Old Military Road
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
12km, 7.5 miles
350m, 1150ft
Landranger 37
NJ258087 / NJ262086
5 hrs
0900 / 1600

We start from the A939 and follow a track heading southward above the Cock Burn to the top of Carn Meadhonach and on to Camock Hill. From here we turn NW and head for Carn Leac Saighaeir with its flat rock features. The track now drops steeply to the Old Military Road which takes us back to the A939, crossing two old Caulfield bridges on route. This road was built by the army in the aftermath of the 1745 Rebellion.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length    x      
Ascent    x      
Steepness      x    
Rough Ground      x    

 

Date of Walk

Tuesday 19th May

Walk 8: Fungle, Glentanar, Bridge of Ess
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

18km, 11.5 miles
430m, 1400ft
Landranger 44
NO525977 / NO504973
6.5 hrs
0900 /1630

The Fungle is another of the Drove Roads over the Mounth and we start off from just outside Aboyne. After a little over a mile we leave the Fungle and head westward , soon taking to open heather moor, but on tracks all the way. We pass to the east of Baudy Meg where the unluckiest stag on Deeside met its end then drop down to the Firmount Road. We leave this shortly and descend to the Water of Allachy which we follow down, then the Tanar all the way to Bridge of Ess

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length        x  
Ascent      x    
Steepness    x      
Rough Ground    x      

 

Date of Walk

Wednesday 20th May

Walk 11: Carn Liath
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
15km, 9.5 miles
500m, 1600ft
Landranger 43
NO089893
6hrs
0900 / 1600

From the car park in Inverey we cross the Water of Ey then follow it upstream to its junction with the Allt Cristie, which we the follow westward on a three mile ascent to the end of the track. A short excursion from here should take us to the grave of Sgt Davies, then it’s on to the summit of Carn Liath where the view of the entire Cairngorm range is breathtaking. The return is down the ridge to Carn na Moine and on to Inverey. Given decent weather, this is a stunning walk.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length      x    
Ascent      x    
Steepness      x    
Rough Ground      x    

 

Date of Walk

Thursday 21st May

Walk 14: Cambus o’ May, Dinnet, Kinord circular 
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
16km, 10 miles
120m, 400ft
Landranger 37
NO406981
6hrs
0900 / 1530

This is a circular walk through varying terrain. Starting at the Cambus o’ May forest, we follow the Deeside Way eastward to Dinnet but with a detour along the river bank to Haugh. A circuit of Loch Kinord takes us to the Burn of Vat. After visiting the Vat itself, we climb steeply out of the valley to join the old track from Tarland to Tullich, which we follow back to Cambus o’May.


Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length      x    
Ascent  x        
Steepness    x      
Rough Ground    x      

 

Date of Walk

Friday 22nd May

Walk 17: Culblean Hill
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
14km, 9 miles
460m, 1500ft
Landranger 37
NJ432023 / NO370958
5.5hrs
0900 / 15000

This rewarding walk, close to Ballater, starts on tracks to Redburn and a little way beyond. For the next two miles we are on heather, although mostly short and we climb initially to a trig point with an open vista of the Howe of Cromar The next section is slightly more demanding as we head for the highest point of Culblean where there are great views of Morven, Ballater, Glen Muick and Lochnagar. Our descent is to upper Glen Culsten where we pick up the good path to Tullich then the Deeside Way back to Ballater. Of course you will be familiar with the significance of the Battle of Culblean (1335)..

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length      x    
Ascent      x    
Steepness        x  
Rough Ground        x  


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The STRENUOUS Programme, 2015


Date of Walk

Sunday 17th May

Walk 1: East Glenshee Munros
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
17.5km, 11 miles
770m, 2530ft
Landranger 43
NO 142775 / NO148799
7 hrs
0830 / 1700
 

Starting from the Cairnwell Ski Centre, we climb a fairly steep path to Meall Odhar then on to Glas Maol. An excursion from here to the SW takes us along the narrow stony ridge to Creag Leacach then back to Glas Maol and on to Carn of Claise. Our final summit is that of Carn an Tuirc and from here we start the steep descent to our pickup beside the Sean Spittal bridge. Four Munros in a day and a large part of the day above 3000feet..

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length        x  
Ascent          x
Steepness        x  
Rough Ground        x  

 

Date of Walk

Monday 18th May

Walk 4: Ben Avon traverse
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

25km, 16 miles
900m, 3000ft
Landranger 36,43
NJ188027 / NO188913
9 hrs
0800 / 1900

Ben Avon is one of the six big Cairngorms. Our route, a traverse, is possible due to the kindness of Invercauld Estate and local 4x4 drivers. We start walking at Loch Builg and climb Carn Dearg, Carn Drochaid, Clach Choutsaich and on to the main top, Stob Dubh Easaidh Mor. Our descent is by the Sneck and the Quoich Water before climbing over into Gleann an t-Slugain, down past Invercauld House and on to our transport at Keiloch.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length          x
Ascent          x
Steepness        x  
Rough Ground        x  

 

Date of Walk

Tuesday 19th May

Walk 7: Tomintoul to Keiloch (Long walk)
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
30km, 19 miles
400m, 1300ft
Landranger 36, 43
NJ171184 / NO188913
10 hrs
0800 / 1800

We start this walk on the edge of Tomintoul, and follow the River Avon (pronounced A’an ) with its clear waters, to just beyond Inchrory where we head for Loch Builg then on to a crossing of the Gairn. Soon after this we start climbing to the Bealach Dearg, the high point of our route. From here it’s downhill all the way (almost) to Invercauld and Keiloch where our transport awaits. This is one of the ancient Drove Roads of Scotland.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length          x
Ascent      x    
Steepness      x    
Rough Ground  x        

 

Date of Walk

Wednesday 20th May

Walk 10: The Three Lochs 

Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

19km, 12 miles
420m, 1400ft
Landranger 44
NO310852
7 hrs
0800 / 1600

This route covers the three lochs in upper Glen Muick. We start at the Spittal of Muick and head up the south side of Loch Muick to where we meet the path to the Dubh Loch. We climb this to the gloomy loch lying under the Dubh Loch Crags. From here we take to the heather to find Lochan Buidhe, the most remote of the three, then it’s back via the Glas Allt Falls and Sheil to the Spittal.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length        x  
Ascent      x    
Steepness        x  
Rough Ground        x  

 

Date of Walk

Thursday 21st May

Walk 13: Ben Macdui 
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return
29km, 18 miles
940m, 3100ft
Landranger 36,43
NO063897
10hrs
0730 /: 193
0

Ben Macdui is Britain’s second highest mountain and this is a serious walk, not to be undertaken lightly. Our route from the Linn of Dee goes past Derry Lodge, up Glen Derry, Coire Etchachan, past Loch Etchachan and on to the summit at 4296 feet. Our return will be southward down Sron Riach to the Luibeg Burn, back to Derry Lodge and eventually finishing at the Linn. This is a most satisfying walk requiring a good level of fitness but highly dependent on the weather.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length          x
Ascent          x
Steepness        x  
Rough Ground        x  

 

Date of Walk

Friday 22nd May

Walk 16: Sgor Mor and An Socach 
Distance
Ascent
OS Map
GR Start/End
Time
Depart/Return

16km, 10 miles
760m, 2500ft
Landranger 43
NO138832
7hrs
0800 / 1630

From the A93 we pass Baddoch farm and almost immediately start a steep ascent of Sgor Mor in a short, sharp burst. Thereafter progress is more leisurely over undulating ridges to the main (west) summit of An Socach. Descent is by Socach Mor to the glen below and back to the A93. Yet another Munro.

Ratings 1 2 3 4 5
Length      x    
Ascent          x
Steepness          x
Rough Ground        x  


 


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