The Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve is one of my favourite places to spend some time with my camera. It offers opportunities for both landscape and wildlife photography. In this first post I am going to look at the landscape.
The two main geographical features are Loch Kinord, a smallish loch that takes around 2 to 3 hours to walk around at a reasonably leisurely pace, and the Burn-O-Vat, a good example of a geological feature known as a pothole, which was formed at the end of the last ice age.
Entering the Burn-O-Vat you have to scramble over a few rocks and then walk through the entrance way, which is quite a narrow tunnel which has the burn running through it. You will need waterproof boots, or be prepared to get your feet wet.
Once you are inside the vat you can look up to see the sky. To either side the rock has been cut into by the flow of water. The floor of the vat is a red coloured gravel bed, mostly covered with water. At the far end of the vat is a small waterfall (probably not much more that 2 metres), and rocks that can be scrambled up to reach a path that runs on for quite a way.
It can be a challenge to get a good photograph of the Vat as it is quite a tight location in a tree covered gorge and, with Scottish weather being what it is, you don't often get much light in there. On top of that, with it being a popular place to visit, there are often crowds of people in there.
I must admit, I have not done the Vat justice in these photos. I really need to spend sometime out there on my own, when there are no other visitors there, to see if I can get something better.
Moving on from the Burn-O-Vat, I find a walk around Loch Kinord is a great way to spend a few hours. The path is mostly on the level, only rising a few metres above the loch, which is in clear view for most of the circuit. There is plenty of tree cover, even on the hottest of days, and there is plenty to see.
The loch itself is not particularly large but it is very attractive, with trees coming down to the water's edge all the way around and large areas covered with water lilies.
The loch sits in a valley with low hills all around, and is within, but close to the eastern edge, of the Cairngorms National Park.
The Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve is around an hours drive from Aberdeen, and well worth a visit if you are in the North East of Scotland.
In my next post I will look at the wildlife that I have seen in the reserve.