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Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail

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Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail
Author: Deeside Walks, Published: 27 Sep 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deesidestar1 Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deesidestar1 Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deesidestar0 Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deesidestar0 Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deeside
Aberdeenshire, Dinnet
Walk Type: Woodland
Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deeside boot Muir of Dinnet: Little Ord Trail Deeside
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7 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 24 mph S
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A 3 mile circular walk within the Muir of Dinnet in Deeside, Aberdeenshire. This lovely walk takes in some of the ancient history of Deeside. You will see evidence of the earliest settlements in the area in the form of stone circles, the crannog (a man-made island believed to have been created by iron-age dwellers to protect themselves from attack) plus the beautiful Kinord Stone (an intricately carved Celtic cross which stands overlooking Loch Kinord and whose precise origins are unknown). Another iFootpath walk, Burn O’Vat, starts from the same car park and makes an excellent extension to this route.

The walk is relatively flat with just some gentle undulations. If follows a mix of paths through woodland and grassland, with some sections of Land Rover tracks and one stretch along a quiet road. Some stretches, especially by the loch, can be wet underfoot. You will need to negotiate several gates, but there are no stiles on route. Allow 1.5 hours.

The walk starts and finishes at the Burn O’Vat Visitor Centre on the B9119, about 2.5 miles from Dinnet village (between Cambus O’May and Tarland). The centre is signposted from the A93 Aberdeen to Ballater road. Approximate post code AB34 5NB.

Walk Sections

Start to Viewpoint
Start to Viewpoint

Start point: 57.0849 lat, -2.943 long
End point: 57.0877 lat, -2.9362 long

From the Burn O’Vat visitor centre car park, cross the B9119 and take the grass path on the opposite side. There is a wooden sign with a number of trails marked, you will be following the Little Ord Trail. After a few metres the footpath forks. Take the left-hand branch.

Follow the footpath as it leads on a fairly flat, easy route through the woodland around you. You will pass a junction where a path to the left leads back to the main road, ignore it. At some points the path broadens out into a Land Rover track. A short distance later, there is another junction where another path leads to the right. Ignore this also and bear to the left instead.

A short distance after this junction, the path broadens out into what appears to be a small car park. At the far end is a viewpoint across Loch Kinord with a marker stone.

Viewpoint to Old Farmhouse
Viewpoint to Old Farmhouse

Start point: 57.0877 lat, -2.9362 long
End point: 57.0882 lat, -2.9246 long

Continue to follow the track. You will now notice that the terrain resembles a series of winding ridges with depressions around them. These ridges are called eskers and are believed to have been formed by sediment left by streams flowing under glaciers at the time of the last ice age.

There is a junction with another footpath from the right. Bear left, continuing to follow the direction of the path you have been on. Continue on this undulating footpath through the woodland. Eventually the path meets another footpath (which approaches from the left). Bear right. The path from this point is covered with red gravel.

Follow this path down a gentle hill. You will come to a junction (you will return to this junction later in the walk). Turn left. The path leads out into the open. To the right of the path is a dry stane dyke - a very old and traditional style of wall that does not require cement. The path passes an old abandoned farmhouse. You will have some beautiful views of the moorland around.

Old Farmhouse to Road
Old Farmhouse to Road

Start point: 57.0882 lat, -2.9246 long
End point: 57.0883 lat, -2.9088 long

Continue following the grassy path, passing through a bridle gate (alongside an old iron farm gate). The path becomes beautifully well-tended grass under-foot, like walking on the most luxuriant carpet.

After a couple of hundred metres, the path opens out into a wide open area of moorland on the left. In the open ground you can perhaps make out wide circles of stones, now half-buried in the grass and bracken. These are the remains of an iron-age settlement.

Continue to follow the path. After a short distance you will reach a metal gate across the path. Go through this (remembering to close it behind you). There will be a road to your left. Follow the path down to this road.

Road to Woodland Gate
Road to Woodland Gate

Start point: 57.0883 lat, -2.9088 long
End point: 57.0867 lat, -2.9122 long

There is a car park a short distance to the left along the road, however for the walking route turn right along the road. It will pass behind some cottages and then will run alongside some more farm buildings. Beyond the farm-buildings is another gate. Go through this gate.

Woodland Gate to T Junction
Woodland Gate to T Junction

Start point: 57.0867 lat, -2.9122 long
End point: 57.0855 lat, -2.9142 long

The road becomes a Land Rover track leading through woodland. After a short distance the track begins to turn to the right. To the left is a footpath that leads out into some open fields. I recommend taking the footpath to the left leading out into the fields.

Follow the footpath straight across the open grassland. You are now very close to Loch Kinord. You should see another marker post in the undergrowth marking a T-junction, with a footpath which leads left or right. Go right.

T Junction to Loch Kinord Shore
T Junction to Loch Kinord Shore

Start point: 57.0855 lat, -2.9142 long
End point: 57.0846 lat, -2.9169 long

Now the path leads west with grassland on your right and undergrowth on your left. Up ahead is Loch Kinord. On a clear day the view can be spectacular. The path reaches the shore of the loch. On the other side you are looking at the hills of Black Craig, Craigrae Beg and Knockie Branar.

Loch Kinord Shore to Kinord Stone
Loch Kinord Shore to Kinord Stone

Start point: 57.0846 lat, -2.9169 long
End point: 57.0857 lat, -2.9254 long

Follow the path to the right along the shores of the loch. It can be a bit wet underfoot. You can often find people fishing here, although you need a permit to do so. There are two islands on the loch. The second one you come to, which is significantly closer to the shore, is believed to be a crannog, a man-made island built around the time of Christ by people who had settlements in the area.

The crannog was originally built of wood and stone and would have had a number of dwellings on it and a wooden causeway or jetty leading to the shore. At times of attack the jetty could be withdrawn or destroyed leaving the owners safe on the island. Some believe that the crannog remained in use until medieval times when King Malcolm III had a hunting lodge there. What we do know is that in the 1800s several dugout canoes were retrieved from the loch - after lying there for around 1800 years. One was retained by Charles Wilson a local landowner. Unfortunately he took the ancient canoe with him when he moved to Lincolnshire - sawing it in half first to ensure it would fit in a railway carriage.

Once you have reached the shore directly opposite the crannog, the path turns right (away from the loch). You are approaching the last special place of interest on the walk: the Kinord Stone. A few metres away from the shore of Loch Kinord, half-hidden in the bracken is a fenced enclosure. Within it is a standing carved Celtic cross.

Kinord Stone to Path Junction
Kinord Stone to Path Junction

Start point: 57.0857 lat, -2.9254 long
End point: 57.0875 lat, -2.9259 long

There are two theories regarding the origin of the stone. First of all, it is thought that it may have been commissioned by St Furnoc around 800AD, in the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire and when Christianity was sweeping across Europe. Alternatively, some believe that it was carved 200 years later, around 1058AD, on the instructions of Queen Margaret, the wife of Malcolm Canmore. Malcolm Canmore, or Malcolm III of Scotland (1031 - 1093) is the Malcolm in Shakespeare's Macbeth. In 1040, Macbeth killed Malcolm's father Duncan I and Malcolm fled to England. He returned in 1057, defeated Macbeth in battle and killed him in Lumphanan, near Loch Kinord. The Cross was lost and was only re-discovered in the 1820s when it was dug up at a site near where it now stands on the shores of the loch.

Once you have taken in the Kinord Stone follow the path past it and up the gentle slope to the top of the hill. The footpath re-joins the Land Rover track you were on earlier. Bear to the left, joining the Land Rover track and following it away from the loch.

Soon the path will lead you into some woodland and back to a junction which you should recognise from earlier (this is where you turned left by the dry stane dyke in the outward leg of the walk).

Path Junction to End
Path Junction to End

Start point: 57.0875 lat, -2.9259 long
End point: 57.085 lat, -2.9434 long

This time just keep walking straight on, across the junction, and back the way you originally came. Now it is simply a question of re-tracing your steps. That means at the first junction in the path bear to the left. At the second junction bear to the right and finally, when the path reaches another path which leads up to the main road, take a left. Eventually you will return to the mouth of the path, opposite the car park at the Burn O'Vat. Congratulations! You have completed the Little Ord Trail around the Muir of Dinnet.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author deesidewalks and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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Uploaded: 27 Sep 2018
Kinord Stone



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