Dinnet to Ballater 2022hike

With autumn in full swing I thought I’d spend a day low down, deep in woodlands, poking about for mushrooms and maybe some off-path exploration. I mentioned it to some others, and before long a group of 6 were on-board. I’d have to temper my “rough terrain” impulsive off-shoots and limit distance and ascent to suit the overall group capability, but the weather was great for a sociable ramble.

Muir of Dinnet

Starting at Dinnet, with some of the group unaware of the wetland boardwalk we headed around the south side of Loch Davan rather than the “celtic cross” north side.

Loch Davan swans
Island. Don’t think this one is a crannog

I’d hoped for some more porcini (a recent local trip having provided a glut) but it looked like most specimens were well past their best; but a clump of chanterelles were found.

At the boardwalk some bushes of bog myrtle were within handy reach to get some leaves to crush and savour the fine aroma.

Parkin’s moss board walk
Fine smelling bog myrtle
An oddly placed “Cairngorms Scenic Photo Post #6”. Sure enough it’s an interesting scene but whether it qualifies within CNP as a highlight is debateable..
The angle you get if you use the post would be panned to the left with a fragment of board visible. Rotating further right gets a snaking walk, a more visually pleasing composition
Birch and bracken glowing autumnally
Funghi sprouting all around

Brunch was taken at the very busy visitor centre, the orange peel fungus patch near the toilets revisited, then into the vat: one of the group had never seen it: always a pleasure to introduce somebody to it’s unexpected wonder. The rest had never been up beyond the waterfall to the gorge where we headed next into the lushly ferned and rock-edged spaces.

Orange peel fungus near the visitor centre
Cooler in the shade approaching the vat
Into the vat
Looking back before climbing up and beyond
The fall is passed on the left, then the path crosses to the right side for most of the time
Pink amongst the greens and oranges. Herb Robert I think
Rocky outcrops above

Passing some climbers on the crags above, we’d fortunately not been too troubled by obstacles ourselves, the glen mostly escaping major damage and blockage from the storms.

There are a number of trees clinging to the rocks
This oak is my fav, old sentinel of the glen
It guards the climby bit best stepped up on the right side

Back onto good tracks we headed west: most of the group had evening events they need back to prepare for, so their furthest point was at the quarries near Braehead of Tullich, and after they returned east, myself and one other continued on. I’d noticed some other paths around the area of the end of “final destination” that will require some future exploration.

Cambus O’May
Hedgehog mushrooms found
Easily identified by spiky underside
Taking a different path to the quarry.. it was actually short of the main quarry and where it heads unsure.. had to cut back down to the main track
Mossy tree
Ah there’s the main quarry

At the Culsten burn I headed north: I’d seen a cluster of entries on canmore regarding old ruins and settlements, and today with no higher peaks to hurry on to, it was the day to thrash through the undergrowth looking to see what was there.

Culsten burn
Possible old still location. The obvious wall ahead is too clean for something that would have been here for over 100 years. There was a visit in the 90s perhaps slightly dismantled and reassembled then. Nearer the camera is an overgrown remnant. The location is very hidden from the main path behind a drumlin mound
I could imagine ye olde bootleggers hidden away here, perhaps a wtachman higher up on the drumlin or hillside, looking out for the law
View further north along the burn
Back through a dense chunk of planted conifers that have been ring-barked

Other sites checked: “remains of longhouse underneath bothy”, “Rectangular footings on a small shelf (immediately S of experimental plot 3) represent the remains of a medieval or later longhouse measuring about 7m by 2.5m internally.” , “a large turf-covered enclosure (possibly of two periods), stone clearance-heaps and rig “

Maybe rectangular footings on a small shelf.. ?

Heading back to the track, the trees were alive with twittering. Bird.net app identified both goldcrest and long-tailed tits: cuteness overload, but too tiny and fidgetty to get on camera, other than a coal tit above.

Down to Culsten burn loch.
It looks quite overgrown, it’s been a hot summer I wonder how it fared. I wonder if it’ll last another couple decades before reverting to dry land
Autumn reflections
Wasp’s nest
nest’s papery innards
There are small quarry working near the loch. The horizontal tree is still living, roots still attached and leaves off to the right
An old shelter and rusted through tub
Bracken fields of orange keeping me from spying chanterelles

With one success out of 4 spots explored, a meagre crop. With either trees or deep bracken at the other sites, I didn’t expect to see much: probably better to come back in winter or spring. We headed west again, a section of path I’d not been on before to link up to the Sgor Buidhe track (better known as the “mastermind” mountain bike ascent. Another canmore explore revealed nothing, and with daylight running short I left a final spot (quarry shelter) unexplored, we headed to Ballater for a pub stop before heading homewards.

Tullich burn
Plenty rocks but no sign of any building ruin

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