A Hike Around Loch Muick

by David Drage July. 11, 2017 1748 views
Four Miles in...

Four Miles in...

A few days ago I took my two sons for a hike around Loch Muick in the south east part of the Cairngorms National Park in North East Scotland.

The walk around the loch is just under 8 miles and at our leisurely pace it took around 3 1/2 hours to complete. The route rarely gets more than 20 or 30 metres away from the shore of the loch, at one point actually walking on the beach. It is a low level walk, at it's highest point only reaching 170m. Most of the route is on landrover trails (dirt roads), however there is a stretch that get narrow and needs some careful negotiation as it is fairly rocky and can be treacherous.

Glen Muick Panorama. This is a full 180 degree panorama, the road at each end of the photo is the same road!

Glen Muick Panorama. This is a full 180 degree panorama, the road at each end of the photo is the same road!

The day we chose was not particularly bright, with a fair bit of rain on the hour and half drive out from Aberdeen. By the time we reached the car park the rain had eased off and we were hopeful of a dry walk, if a bit chilly for a summer hike. The wind soon dropped though and by the end of the hike we were stripped down to our t-shirts...

From a photographers perspective, the weather was not great. It was dull and there was very low cloud for the whole day. Most of the hills around us were topped with clouds, with no sign of the sun at all.

About 15 minutes into our walk we encountered the some deer. Unfortunately, they were well up the hill from us and even with my Nikon 70-300mm lens (on my crop sensor camera gives about 450mm) these were the best shots I got.

Deer showing little concern for the hikers.

Deer showing little concern for the hikers.

Keeping their distance, these deer stayed well up the hillside and out of decent range of even my long lens...

Keeping their distance, these deer stayed well up the hillside and out of decent range of even my long lens...

The area is usually well known for it's deer, but these were the only ones we saw all day, so we moved on and tried to cover some decent ground as the morning progressed.

While moving through the area approaching the loch there were quite a few Meadow Pipits around us. These are small birds (about the size of a sparrow) and they kept their distance, however, a few did pose long enough for me to get a couple of decent photos.

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

As we continued around the lochside we saw less wildlife, but could experience the ever changing views. Looking back the way we had come we had this view.

Halfway along the south side of Loch Muick.

Halfway along the south side of Loch Muick.

Behind us was one of the many tributaries that flow into the loch.

The waters running down from the misty hilltops above Loch Muick.

The waters running down from the misty hilltops above Loch Muick.

Looking forward on our route we could just see Glas-allt Shiel, the hunting lodge built by Queen Victoria, amongst the trees on the other side.

Glas-allt Shiel the royal hunting lodge sits on the far shore of the loch.

Glas-allt Shiel the royal hunting lodge sits on the far shore of the loch.

Time to push on. This next stretch is the most difficult as in places we are almost scrambling over damp rocks.

Finally, we make it to the far end of the loch and stop for a bite to eat. The path, at this point runs on the small beach, right at the lochs edge.

At the westernmost end of Loch Muick

At the westernmost end of Loch Muick

After refreshing ourselves with some lunch and giving out legs a rest we decide to push on. The weather has brightened up a little by this time and I managed to get what I feel is my best photo of the day. The one I have used at the top of this article.

There are many small burns running into the loch at this point and we have to cross several crude bridges.

Looking east.

Looking east.

The bridges at the west end of Loch Muick

The bridges at the west end of Loch Muick

As we turn the corner and start heading east again we encounter a few midges, they are, fortunately, not biting, so that is a relief.

Midges are rife on this part of the walk, although they don't last long and once we reach the trees we are out of them...

Midges are rife on this part of the walk, although they don't last long and once we reach the trees we are out of them...

As we walk through the trees we pass right by the front door of Glas-allt Shiel, shutters on the windows and ghostly quiet. There is a small round island in the loch at this point and my amateur eye wonders if it was a crannog.

We don't linger long in the trees, as we are getting tired now and really want to get back to the car and get our boots off, but I do manage to take this next photo.

In the woods around Glas-allt Shiel.

In the woods around Glas-allt Shiel.

The next part of the walk is a bit of a slog. Our feet are getting sore and the lochside is somewhat obscured by a deer fence, so we push on back towards the eastern end of the loch. Just as we pass this corner of the loch we pass a boathouse. I took a couple of decent photos, but I feel that if I had been fresh I could have done a lot more with this location.

Remains of a small pier by the boathouse.

Remains of a small pier by the boathouse.

Boathouse on the northern shore of Loch Muick

Boathouse on the northern shore of Loch Muick

We finally got back to the car park, and with great relief got our boots off. A very enjoyable day, even though the weather wasn't the best for taking photos...

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There are 8 comments , add yours!
Timothy Bullock 2 years, 3 months ago

Love the mood in the pictures! Great job!

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
David Drage Replied to Timothy Bullock 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank You!

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker 2 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for taking us along with you to see this glorious landscape!

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
David Drage Replied to Helen Hooker 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank you!

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Michael Veith 2 years, 3 months ago

#2 I love this panorama! All of the other photos are great. #4 One bit of positive criticism. The tones of magenta and blue seem to be cranked a bit too high. Maybe you can bring those down a bit perhaps?

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
David Drage Replied to Michael Veith 2 years, 3 months ago

Thanks
You are correct, that one is a bit blue...

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
Stephanie Hyde 2 years, 3 months ago

Stunning set...thanks for sharing!  It's hard to pick a favorite...

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
David Drage Replied to Stephanie Hyde 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank You

2 years, 3 months ago Edited
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