Footprints Across Scotland

Why not make a few of your own!

3rd August 2008

A run out to visit Scotland's most easterly Munro, Mount Keen.



Just across the River Dee from Aboyne is the Glen Tanar estate which provided the starting point for my trip. Using my mountain bike helped cut down what would be a fairly long excursion by at least a couple of hours. A good track eased my way through the sizeable Glen Tanar forest running alongside the water of the same name.

Water of Tanar












Water of Tanar

Stretches of the track resembled a cobbly road and "shivered me timbers" at times but smoothed out as I progressed. The half way hut was soon passed and reminded me of an old drinking haunt back in Liverpool, the Half Way House. The forest eventually thinned and gave way to more open countryside bounded by rounded hills starting to turn to their late summer shade of pink.

The path out to Mount Keen












The path out to Mount Keen

I left my bike in the heather just after a second bridge crossing the river. Mount Keen could be seen in the distance sitting under rather grey skies. The Month road, my route ahead stood out prominently on the northern shoulder of the mountain.

Mount Keen above Water of Tanar












Mount Keen above Water of Tanar

Stone Chats chirped noisily as I approached a new looking footbridge that would take me across the river to the base of the hill. A fairly steady climb meant I was soon approaching the top, but the last few hundred meters required a bit more effort as the gradient increased fairly sharply. I contoured around to my left slightly shepherding a number of Ptarmigan for a while before they took flight. A Wheatear seemed less inclined to move away as it flittered from rock to rock. A rain shower greeted me as I made the top signalling what was in store for the next couple of hours. After lunch I headed east down and across to Braid Cairn, Grouse and young Ptarmigan erupting from the under growth as I neared their cover.

Gathering Cairn and Braid Cairn












Gathering Cairn and Braid Cairn

Gentle slopes of mainly short heather and grass lead down to Gathering Cairn and its prominent well built pillar of stones. Slightly deeper heather made for rougher going as I headed for the track near Black Craig. Another feint track led across the hillside to cut down to the west of Red Craig and the bridge where I had left my bike.

Path down toward Etnach












Path down toward Etnach

I was only on the bridge a short while before I had to make a hasty retreat from a hoard of marauding midges. The breeze at the next bridge allowed me to stop and enjoy a cuppa in peace before continuing my journey back. The rain came down more heavily as I neared the Forest making for a wet but swift return to the car park.



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