After the success of the last two weeks we finally took up the challenge and decided, rightly or wrongly, to try our hand at a "proper" hill. In this case we chose Morven because for the last month or so I've photographed it from various other parts of Deeside, (Pressendye, Morven Lodge) and with an abortive attempt earlier in the year, we felt the time was right to give it go. The weather was good although with a haze that wasn't going to help with the photographs, but on the up side there was no chance of rain. We started from the end of a small public road just outside the village of Logie Coldstone at around 10 o'clock.
The route starts immediately uphill, (whether that's a good thing or not is open to debate), passing close to the ruined farmhouse at Balhennie. Passing through a couple of fields we picked up a path that skirts around and up the side of the lower slopes of Morven. From here there is a choice of routes. There is the option to go straight up the steep slope by a faint zig zag path or take the longer but less steep path around and up the lower slope. We decided that, under the circumstances, maybe we were pushing our luck to tackle the steep climb and, added to the fact that we had plenty of time, we decided on the longer, less steep ascent.
The path was pretty marshy in places early on but soon became a good, obvious route that opened up views over Deeside with Lochs Davan and Kinord easily picked out as well as Pressendye to the north east. The path makes its way up the Cainlach Burn with Morven on our right and Roar Hill on our left until eventually the true summit of Morven comes into view and it was time to leave, or at least, change paths. It was also time for a cup of coffee!
The new bulldozed path, (not shown on my Landranger map), carried on up and around the lower slopes but steeper now, heading parallel with the slopes of the main hill. This track finished at what looked like a turning area and an older, fainter path carried on, apparently heading away from Morven. I decided that since none of these paths were marked on the map, and since we appeared to be walking away from our destination, it was time to take a more direct route towards the summit. In one corner of the turning area there appeared to be a faint path heading across the heather and uphill towards the summit ridge, so it was this that we took. We were now getting good, if very hazy, views of Lochnagar and Mount Keen as well as the great mountainous barrier of the Cairngorms.
The plod up through the heather was hard work and, as we got higher, it became obvious that the path we had been following did eventually swing round to climb up onto the ridge we were aiming for. What we didn't know at the time was whether or not this would have been an easier, if longer climb. Once we got above the deep heather the going got easier and we crested the ridge at about 700 metres between Little Cairn and the false summit of Mid Cairn.
We took a short break and more photos at Little Cairn before the quite long ridge walk towards the bottom of a steep section up onto the false summit of Mid Cairn. Although the climb is pretty steep it is over a fairly short distance and after our battle up through the heather it was no great hardship.
From Mid Cairn it's a steady, relatively easy, uphill pull to the huge summit cairn. The only down side was that, being a holiday weekend, the summit was busy. Obviously not everybody wanted to watch the Royal Wedding!!
Although the weather was still very pleasant the wind had really picked up, so we hunkered down behind the wall that enclosed the trig point and had a very nice lunch looking down into Glenfenzie and Morven Lodge where we'd had our lunch last week. A little bit surreal but we were feeling quite pleased with ourselves!
Our walk down was fairly uneventful. We retraced our steps except that we followed the path beyond Little Cairn and found that although it was a clear path, it was no less steep than the way we had taken earlier. That said if I was asked to recommend the best way I would suggest that you stick to the path! We arrived safely back at the car just before three, very tired but really chuffed!!