Capel Mounth Track

  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • The high moorland - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Afternoon sun at Loch Muick - © William Mackesy
  • Returning to Glen Muick - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Glen Muick - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Ascending above Loch Muick - © William Mackesy

Key information: Capel Mounth Track

  • An ancient drovers' road crossing the high hills between Loch Muick and Glen Clova, linking Deeside to the rich lowlands of Angus.
  • The scenery is grand and beautiful (on a good day - it can be a tad dour on a poor one): high moorland, peaks, beetling crags and purple hillsides above glens and lakes in a protected area teeming with precious wildlife and rare and delicate plants.
  • This is a remoteish walk in mountains, with always unpredictable weather. Come prepared.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating84.5
  • Beauty31.5
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating84.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 10km
  • 3.5 hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 690m
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
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Returning to Glen Muick - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

The Capel Mounth track from Ballater to Glen Clova via Loch Muick (15miles/7hrs) is an ancient drovers' road linking Deeside to Angus. along which cattle would be driven from their highland homes to the markets of the lowlands. It still has a certain atmosphere, and you can think on the lives (and, up here, hardships) of those who followed the track.

The track is best walked from Loch Muick, by the high Lochnagar massif, to Glen Clova (or vice versa): the long approach from Ballater is hard to identify and in any event would be pleasant but less thrilling walking.

It is some 10 km (3 1/2 hrs), or 8hrs there and back. The climb back out of Glen Clova is a steep slog, so you might prefer to linger on the brink and enjoy the view rather than drop down and clamber back again.

The Loch Muick Reserve is a protected area on the Balmoral Estate teeming with precious wildlife and rare and delicate plants. The hillsides are (of course) clothed in trademark heather, the high ground is boggy and peat haggy. Wildlife includes eagles, ptarmigan, deer and mountain hares.

The scenery is grand and beautiful (on a good day - it can be a tad dour on a poor one): high moorland, peaks, beetling crags and purple hillsides above glens and lakes.

The track starts from the roadhead at Loch Muick, and is immediately blessed with grand views over the wide bottom of Glen Muick, with its burn winding amid bog and heather on the floor. It gains views over the loch, dark pewter or a refulgent silver sheen depending on the light (although more often the former!) after a km or so, then turns left up the hillside, away from the valley bottom, for a long, steady climb up to the high plateau.

Lochnagar appears above the crags across the lake as the views open up. This is marvellous walking on a good day (it can be worth going elsewhere on a really poor one), with huge views once on the high ground to the north and west, of the high boggy moorland, with the great glacial Loch Muick cleft more suggested than clearly explained, and the grand Lochnager massif behind. To the north, blue ridges recede behind the Dee valley.

A very satisfying walk indeed. It is possible you will meet no-one once you have left the main Loch Muick track.

SEE OUR CAIRNGORMS PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING PRACTICALITIES) ON AND OTHER GREAT WALKS IN THE AREA.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Glen Muick - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Afternoon sun at Loch Muick - © William Mackesy...
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