GLEN Tanar is a great example of how a Highland estate can be many things to many people. Hunting, shooting and fishing types love it as much as wildlife enthusiasts who prefer to shoot with a camera.
It makes for great walking through regenerated pinewoods which, if you are early, quiet and have a bit of luck, echo to the sound of the capercaillie. Crossbills also call this place home, so birdspotters should remember their binoculars.
The estate has a number of way-marked routes. This is the longest and takes you to viewpoints far up the glen, making it one of the best low-level walks in the whole of Scotland.
DISTANCE 5 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 310ft.
TIME 2 to 2∫ hours.
MAP OS Landranger 44.
Follow signs for the River Dee from Aboyne. Cross the river and turn right on to the B976. After just over a mile cross a bridge and go left to follow a sign for the Glen Tanar Estate. About a mile-and-a-half down the single track road there is a car park on the right, on the other side of the road from a visitor centre.
Return to the road, go back along it for about 20 yards then go right to cross a stone bridge, following a sign for the visitor centre. Once on the other side of the bridge go left for the visitor centre and toilets or right to begin the walk by the Water of Tanar. The track you follow veers left to reach St Lesmo’s Chapel (ignore a turning on the right before it). The chapel was once the heart of a community which declined at the start of the 19th century when passing trade from drovers began to dwindle.
Once past the chapel the track crosses a cattle grid and forks; go right to leave farmland behind and enter pinewoods. The track crosses another as it climbs into the trees. About half a mile further on go right at a marker post. Before the track starts to drop there is a sort of pen with benches inside - this is the Knockie Viewpoint with a superb view over the pinewoods, up Glen Tanar and on to the high hills beyond.
At the bottom of the track go left to follow another, with the Water of Tanar to your right. (You can go right here to shorten the walk.)
About a mile and a half up the glen go right to cross a stone bridge (the river here is actually the Water of Allachy which runs into the Water of Tanar). Half a mile further on cross the Water of Tanar via another stone bridge. Go right on the other side to begin the walk back. Follow the track down to a fork, where you go right. The track then passes a small loch and reaches a junction, where you go right to re-cross the Water of Tanar by a stone bridge.
Go left on the other side of the bridge to follow the track into more open countryside. When the track veers right, go left on a grass path. This follows the river, going through one small wooden gate, all the way to the stone bridge near the visitor centre. Cross this to return to the car park.
Aboyne is the place to head. Once back across the bridge over the River Dee, go right to find The Boat Inn, which is to be recommended.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA
The Glen Tanar estate offers activities including fishing and estate safaris in 4x4s (www.glentanar.co.uk). Also on the estate is an equestrian centre providing treks and tuition (www.glentanarriding.co.uk). n