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At present there are 13 walks to choose from, from around Ballater and Loch Kinord - and with more walks added regularly.

Lary to Morven

The toughest walk on Deesidewalks - but worth it.
Starting point: Lary, 3.5 miles west of Ballater village centre.
Distance: long (11 miles / 17 km)
Climb: difficult, 520m 
Underfoot: mostly on Landrover tracks but the final part is off paths through heather
Estimated time to complete: 5 hours
Scenic value: 9/10
Overall rating: 8/10

View Lary to Morven in a larger map

Comments: A challenging hill-walk involving going off marked tracks and climbing 350m through heather and undergrowth. 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. Walking boots, warm clothes and water-proofs are a must.  

Starting from the centre of Ballater, take the A93 west towards Braemar. As you leave the village you pass the Hilton Hotel on your right, then the turn-off for the Pass of Ballater on your right and almost immediately after it is a small road leading Right. Take that.  

The tarmaced road continues for a couple of miles before coming to an end just past some farm buildings. At the end of it is a junction of two Landrover tracks and a pebbled area for parking. Leave your car there and take the Landrover track to the right, that leads northeast (pictured). 

Deeside Walks: the path leads from Lary car park towards Morven

Follow the Landrover track northeast for approximately 2km, the Lary Burn will be on your right-hand side, beyond that is the Hill of Candacraig (pictured, and the view south across the Dee Valley beyond). 

Walkers to Morven can look south across Deeside

The Landrover track veers left, or northwards, round the shoulder of the Lary Hill, and then opens out into the spectacular plain with the distinctive wood "The Tom" at the far end, and Morven Lodge to the left (pictured). In the photograph, Tom Liath is the summit to the left, Mona Gowan is the summit just to the left and behind the wooded "The Tom" and Morven is to the summit to the right of The Tom. 

A view of Deeside from the trail up Morven

As you walk across the plain towards Morven Lodge the Landrover track branches (pictured). Take the right fork.

Climb Morven, Deeside, near Ballater

The Landrover track crosses two burns, the second one 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. 

The hillwalk up Morven, Deeside, Cairngorms National Park

After the burns the track points due west, Morven is the summit ahead and to the left (pictured).

The route up Morven, Deeside, Cairngorms

Walking west, to your right is the slope of Peter's Hill (568m) and the Hill of Candacraig behind it (pictured).

A view across Deeside from the hillwalk up Morven

You'll pass another Landrover track on your right, heading south at a place called Tom Garchory (pictured) but don't take it.

The countryside around Morven, Deeside, for walkers

Likewise, what appears to be a Landrover track a short distance beyond. Ignore it, it peters out after a few metres anyway (pictured).

A branch in the path up Morven in Deeside, Cairngorms

By now you will have walked about 2km since the two burns you crossed. This is where you reach another two burns crossing the path that you have to cross. The first is "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).

A river over the path up Morven, Deeside, guide for walkers

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 (pictured). There is no path to the top so, pick a likely looking spot, turn left off the path - and starting climbing through the grass and heather. You've got about 350 metres to climb, watch out for rock fields as you get higher up. 

hillwalking path up Morven, Deeside, Cairngorms National Park

The ground will become increasingly rocky as you climb, watch where you're stepping. Remember to always ensure you can see the Landrover 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.

Hillwalking, a view across Deeside for walkers, Morven
A view from the southern slope of Morven.

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. The picture below was taken on the same days as the photographs above and shows just how quickly the weather can close in.

Climb up Morven, hillwalking, Deeside, Cairngorms National Park
The peak of Morven (871m).
If you're 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.

My advice would be to turn around and retrace your steps as well as you can, going south down the southern slope of Morven, back to the Landrover track and following it west back to Lary.


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