Balauc one
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By a Slow Ways Volunteer on 07 Apr 2021







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This is a Slow Ways route connecting Ballater and Auchronie.

Know of a better route? Share it here.

This is a Slow Ways route connecting Ballater and Auchronie.

Know of a better route? Share it here.


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Is this route good enough? -  Yes (1)

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Geography information system (GIS) data

Total length

Maximum elevation

Minimum elevation

Start and end points

Grid Ref NO3701595792
Lat / Lon 57.04886° / -3.03981°
Easting / Northing 337,015E / 795,792N
What3Words reworked.stops.haven
Grid Ref NO4466780365
Lat / Lon 56.91128° / -2.91032°
Easting / Northing 344,667E / 780,365N
What3Words booms.yield.tribal

Balauc One's land is

Moors 84.4%
Pasture 6.7%
Urban 1.5%
Woods 7.1%

Data: Corine Land Cover (CLC) 2018



11 Sep 2022 (edited 27 Jan 2023) Summer

This is a tough 14 miles over estate tracks of varying qualities, bog and paths, fording streams. On a good day it is challenging. The day I walked it visibility was very poor, the rain varied between drizzle and downpour and the whole landscape was, well, soggy.

In the Scottish hills you need to have the skills and equipment to be safe, I can't emphasise enough that not having these puts you in danger. Mountaineering Scotland are an excellent resource and they run courses from basic navigation to winter skills and rock climbing. Please do not go on the hills unprepared.

After crossing the bridge over the Dee to the south of Ballater you go onto a minor road, but there is a path through the trees that keeps you off it. It's not long before you turn up a level grass track and climb through woods onto a good track climbing steadily round the side of Craig Vallich to a tangle of track junctions, make sure you take the right one that joins the path that drops down onto a level boggy area, this is the Mounth. There is a helpful signpost at the bottom.

I happened to be there during deer shooting season. The advice is to stay on the paths, be visible and obey any requests. The ghillie by the landrovers waved me on and I guess the shooter I could see on the crags above me waited for me to go...

This bit of the walk is tough. This is a mounth: one of the mountain tracks over the hills linking Angus and southern Aberdeenshire with Royal Deeside. But just because it's important doesn't mean it's a good path. The flattish area had a slight path that was squelchy underfoot, and the muddy route round and down to Glen Tanar was an exercise in water finding the least path of resistance which was usually the actual path.

Glen Tanar is quite lovely. As you come down to the bridge the good track path Aboyne goes down to the forest to the left. Your road is the pale snake in front of you climbing up towards Mount Keen. Which I'm sure you will be able to see. I was walking in light to heavy rain, light to strong winds and poor to very poor visibility.

This part of the path is good and very clear: fine grained stones, intact path raised up from the peat hags
on either side, with stone steps and stone rills to drain the water.

You can jink left here to go up Mount Keen. It's an unusual munro, the furthest east it is stuck out on its own. On a good day it's a spectacular viewpoint

At Knowe of Crippley the path joins an offroad landrover track and from here on it's a tough walk down to Glen Mark, the track is made of large rocks so shifts easily underfoot, and there are great gouges in the track scoured out by heavy rain.

But it is beautiful coming down alongside the Ladder Burn. Though you now face 2 more hazards: the fords across the Ladder and Easter Burns. Usually you can paddle across, however, I was doing the walk after heavy rain and both were in spate and it's not a crossing I would have made without my confidence I had the skill to do so.

The path is now a thankfully easy farm track past Glenmark house alongside the Water of Mark down to Auchronie. You go past the Queen's Well, a crown shaped stone monument built over the well Queen Victoria used when traveling over to Glen Esk from Balmoral

Worth the effort. But a lot of effort.

I did the route in reverse, walking over from Brechin on Aucbre the day before. Public transport options south of the Angus Glens are very poor and there are no services at Auchronie, the closest are the buses 11-15 miles away at Brechin and Edzell, the nearest trains are at Stonehaven on the coast.

If you wanted to stop at Auchronie you would be best camping as you come down Glen Mark, I tucked in behind Glenmark at the foot of the Easter Burn (in Scotland we can wild camp if we follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code).

When I came down into Ballater I was able to get one of the hourly buses to Aberdeen. There are plenty of facilities, I was very glad to get a good coffee after 2 very soggy days. They have a great second hand bookshop and an outdoor gear store, along with lots of cafes. Very busy in the summer.

I would recommend this route but you need the skills and equipment to deal with Scotland's ability to throw three seasons in one day at you, and to cope with a variety of difficult terrain. You also need to know etiquette for being on a shooting estate, this walk crosses 2 of them.

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