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Lary to Morven

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Lary to Morven
Author: Deeside Walks, Published: 19 Oct 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guidestar0 Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide
Aberdeenshire, Ballater
Walk Type: Mountains
Lary to Morven
Length: 9 miles,  Difficulty: boot Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide boot Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide boot Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide boot Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide boot Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide
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0002_sunny_intervals Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking GuideToday's weather
7 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 4 mph SE
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0006_mist Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide 0007_fog Lary to Morven, Aberdeenshire Walking Guide

A 9 mile ‘there and back’ walk starting from Lary and climbing to the summit of Morven, near Ballater in Aberdeenshire. At 871m above sea-level Morven is almost a Munro and on a clear day offers spectacular views down the Dee valley. However, this walk should only be attempted in good conditions and by experienced hill-walkers.

This is a strenuous and challenging hill walk, with a total climb of 520 metres. Whilst the route follows Land Rover tracks for some of the climb, the final part is off the tracks and climbs (for the final 350 metres) through the very rough ground of grass and heather. You will need to ford several streams so waterproof boots are a must. The weather can close in quickly, so you should also be prepared with warm clothes, waterproofs, snacks and conventional navigational aids. There are no stiles on route and there are free-roaming sheep on the hills. Allow 5 hours.

The walk starts from a small parking area, close to the farm buildings at Lary. From the centre of Ballater, take the A93 west towards Braemar. As you leave the village you pass the hotel complex on your right, then the turn-off for the Pass of Ballater on your right (which you should ignore). Immediately after, pass a lay-by on your left and turn immediately right onto a very small side road (signed as a no-through-road). The tarmac single-track road continues for a couple of miles before coming to an end just past some farm buildings (Lary). At the end is a junction of two Land Rover tracks and a stone area for parking. Leave your car here. The nearest post code is AB35 5XB, which will take you most of the way along the single-track road.

Walk Sections

Start to Northbound Track
Start to Northbound Track

Start point: 57.089 lat, -3.0967 long
End point: 57.0972 lat, -3.0846 long

From the stone parking area, take the right-hand of the two Land Rover tracks that leads northeast (pictured). Follow the Land Rover track northeast for approximately 2km, the Lary Burn will be on your right-hand side, beyond that is the Hill of Candacraig. The Land Rover track then veers left, or northwards, round the shoulder of the Lary Hill.

Northbound Track to Track Fork
Northbound Track to Track Fork

Start point: 57.0972 lat, -3.0846 long
End point: 57.1064 lat, -3.0891 long

The track opens out into the spectacular plain with the distinctive wood called The Tom at the far end, and Morven Lodge to the left. In the photograph, Tom Liath is the summit to the left, Mona Gowan is the summit just to the left and behind The Tom woodland, and Morven is to the summit to the right of The Tom.

Track Fork to Burn Crossing
Track Fork to Burn Crossing

Start point: 57.1064 lat, -3.0891 long
End point: 57.1065 lat, -3.0886 long

As you walk across the plain towards Morven Lodge, the Land Rover track branches (pictured). Take the right fork. Stay with this track to reach the first of the burns (or streams) crossing the track.

Burn Crossing to Western Track
Burn Crossing to Western Track

Start point: 57.1065 lat, -3.0886 long
End point: 57.1106 lat, -3.0842 long

Stay with the Land Rover track as it crosses over this burn and another (Garchory Burn) soon afterwards. The second one is wider than the first. If you look a little bit uphill of the track, you should be able to find somewhere narrow enough to jump across - just. After the burns the track meanders ahead and then swings right to point due west.

Western Track to Second Burn Crossings
Western Track to Second Burn Crossings

Start point: 57.1106 lat, -3.0842 long
End point: 57.1102 lat, -3.0582 long

Walking west, Morven is the summit ahead and to the left. To your right is the slope of Peter's Hill (568m) and the Hill of Candacraig behind it. You'll pass another branch of Land Rover track on your right, heading south at a place called Tom Garchory, but don't take it. Likewise, a short distance later you should also ignore what appears to be a Land Rover track branching to the left (it peters out after a few metres anyway). By now you will have walked about 2km since the first two burns you crossed.

Second Burn Crossings to Final Ascent
Second Burn Crossings to Final Ascent

Start point: 57.1102 lat, -3.0582 long
End point: 57.1097 lat, -3.0385 long

You will reach another two burns crossing the path that you have to cross. The first is called Little Burn. Once again it is a case of finding a narrow spot to jump across. In the summer it is not so wide as shown (pictured). About 500m after Little Burn there is another burn across the path. Cross that. Now the peak of Morven should be directly to your left.

Final Ascent to Summit
Final Ascent to Summit

Start point: 57.1097 lat, -3.0385 long
End point: 57.1226 lat, -3.031 long

There is no path to the top so, pick a likely looking spot, turn left off the path - and start climbing through the grass and heather. You've got about 350 metres to climb, watch out for rock fields as you get higher up. The ground will become increasingly rocky as you climb, watch where you are stepping. Remember to always ensure you can see the Land Rover track below and behind you. If the clouds close in and this becomes obscured, my advice is to turn back immediately to avoid the risk of getting lost. After about 20 minutes you should reach the plateau on top. First of all you will come over the shoulder and onto a flatter area, but the actual peak is still about 100m north, it is marked by a marker post and a small stone cairn. Take your pick from the various rabbit tracks that run towards it.

Summit to End
Summit to End

Start point: 57.1226 lat, -3.031 long
End point: 57.0894 lat, -3.0967 long

Congratulations on reaching the summit of Morven (871 metres). The picture shown here was taken on the same days as the other photographs and shows just how quickly the weather can close in. If you are lucky and the weather is clear you should have a spectacular view east across Loch Davan, Loch Kinord and down the Dee valley. If the weather is like it was this day though - well at least you've got the satisfaction of reaching the top.

You now need to retrace your steps back to the start. Turn around and retrace your steps as well as you can, going south down the southern slope of Morven, back to the Land Rover track. Turn right along the track and follow it west back to Lary where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

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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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