Morven, a Corbett between the Dee and Don, provided an easy day's walk after big Ben Macdui. An Aberdonian in the Fife Arms in Braemar on Saturday night recommended the southern approach: and so after meeting Miles in Ballater, we drove a couple of miles east to a ruined chapel and walked up through woods on a good path in late morning sunshine.
Morven is a far lusher hill than Macdui, covered in juniper, bilberry, cloudberry, with heather higher up. We saw grouse, mountain hare, buzzards and raven - more wildlife also than on Macdui.
As we arrived at the top a group left, and we could see another arriving. This hill was busier than Macdui too! It sits on the edge of the Highlands with the Cairngorms west and the arable, archaeologically rich lands of Cromar east: a fairly good viewpoint as it is the first significant height reached when travelling up Deeside from Aberdeen.
Cromar from Morven:
In Climbing the Corbetts, Hamish Brown describes an unusual gorge-like feature on the lower eastern slopes of Morven called The Vat. I visited years ago, but confess to being underwhelmed - perhaps it paled in comparison to areas I was more used to like the Whangie.
At the top, the sun burst out from behind a cloud, forming dramatic light.
Proof, if proof were needed, that the big hills don't always provide the best views.
I drove home, the rain on shortly after dark, thick fog at the Cairnwell pass, well pleased with my autumn weekend north of the Mounth - as it turned out the last autumn weekend this year, as winter, with snow and hurricane force winds, has now arrived on the Cairngorms.
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